About 500 years ago when the European colonizers set out for finding more natural resources and new markets, the process of what we now know as globalization started. Ultimately a chain of events resulted in the current state of the world, where more and more economic capital got concentrated with an ever-shrinking group of people having control over more and more.
If you think about it, globalization breeds basically all problems of today’s world. Cultural self-rejection, competition and divisiveness of the people are induced by it. Globalization structurally promotes the growth of slums and urban sprawl and it is decimating democracy. The system has an obscenity of waste that results from trade for the sake of trade: apples sent from the UK to South Africa to be washed and waxed, then shipped back to British supermarkets; tuna caught off the coast of America, flown to Japan to be processed, then flown back to the US. The suicides of Indian farmers and the demise of land-based cultures in every corner of the world are other examples. And an epidemic of depressions and eating disorders are just some other symptoms of a sick world.
Globalization is built on economic growth, GDP, top-down approaches of economy. This brings about this very morbid aspect of it: when someone gets sick, it is good for the economy. When somebody crashes his or her car, it is good for the economy, when there is an oil spill it is good for the economy, burning more fossil fuels is good for the economy, eradicating biodiversity and species is good for the economy. People feeling poor or feeling that they need more and more, is good for the economy. We need to change the way we look at economy.
Globalization simply is an economic system of unhappiness.
The globalized world, where money and economic growth are the main goals and profits are absolute good has not worked and will never work for the people, for the 99%. Globalization ultimately only works for the 1% or maybe even only a small portion of this 1%.
Many of the people around the world have understood and are understanding this and practical solutions are sprouting all around us. Groups of people are coming together. Not for protest, but for bringing about practical solution thinking and implementing. Just think about the local food movement that is growing tremendously, the permaculture movement, In Transition Towns, urban farming and community gardens, etc. Everywhere around us a quest for sustainability is getting started in small groups and sustainable communities.
There is one common in all these movement, there is one determinant and that is Localization!! Let’s rethink the world, let’s step away from economic globalization, and move towards economic localization.
Localization brings back the community spirit to the people. We go back to knowing who produced our food, knowing who has made our products. We go back to knowing for whom we spend our money.
Farming multiple crops for a local market is not only restoring biodiversity, but also brings healthy food to the people. Rural livelihoods can be enjoyable and highly respected once again.
This fact—that there are two very different possible forms of food production—urgently needs to be communicated, especially in the less industrialized nations.
Localization is the economics of happiness—because it’s about restoring that human connection and care.
The “global to local” way of thinking about economics brings together the profoundly practical, in terms of our livelihoods and ecosystems, with our spiritual and psychological needs. All of these dimensions are pointing in the same direction, towards localizing as the economics of happiness.
It can’t happen if we continue to maintain a scale of economic activity where neither the producer nor the consumer nor the CEO nor the investor can actually see what’s going on—in other words, if we continue to operate in such a vast global arena, it’s virtually impossible to see the consequences of our actions and impossible to measure them in any sort of meaningful way.
We need to be shortening distances and creating more accountable and visible arenas, basically decentralizing and localizing our economies. But because of deregulation of both trade and finance at the global level, businesses are being pressured to grow faster and faster, to become more global, to increase in scale at any cost. The idea is either you go big and global or you die. But for our real needs, relatively small businesses closer to home can actually provide for our needs more efficiently and sustainably.
When people reach out to each other to start rebuilding the local economy we will see a reduction in polarization, across political divides as well as across ethnic ones. At the same time, localization helps people reconnect to the natural world around them, something which fulfills another deep human need.
Let’s forget globalization.
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