Time for a New Economy?

Communism collapsed in 1988-89 and capitalism collapsed about twenty years later, in 2008.  What both economic systems had in common is that they were big and impersonal.

Meanwhile a quiet alternative has been growing steadily–the local economy.  It means supporting business and buying products from people you actually know.  It means being able to look the farmer who grows your tomatoes in the eye.

A couple years ago I bought a wooden toy made by a local craftsman.  I don’t have to worry about whether it was tainted with led pain–well that was easy, it wasn’t painted.  My grandson received some wooden toys this year made by our nephew; those toys will be in the family a long time.

If I go to the supermarket here in the middle of American, I have no idea where the food came from.  My daughter who lives in New York City belongs to a community farm cooperative.  Once a week she gets to meet the farmers who bring her a basketful of fresh vegetables.

Around the world one of the most effective forms of fighting poverty is through microloans.  It is a way of helping poor women and men start local, sustainable businesses.

We don’t know what will happen to the national economy in the coming months.  We can all pitch in and help our neighbors.  We can support local small businesses.

4 Responses

  1. I agree with what you say, Mark and my husband and I have deliberately chosen to live in an area that has a farmers’ market and where most of what we need for daily life is in within walking distance.

    But, although we do want to support local businesses, many are not what we need.

    Recently, there has been a proliferation of ‘beauty/nail salons,’ stores that sell cheap, imported Chinese knick-knacks that no one needs or wants and so on.

    What I’d like is a good butcher, baker and fish shop.

    I think there might be still something like that in Buckie.

    40 years ago there were many such stores in Buckie and all within walking distance.

    I’m not suggesting that I’m going back to Buckie, but your post made me think of those times long ago.

  2. I enjoyed being able to walk to the local butcher, baker, and fish shops (Eat Mair Fish) in Buckie last spring. I heard some people saying they would go by the wayside, that the big megastore is the new trend–I remember thinking, “Oh, I hope you’re wrong!” What a shame it would be to lose the local flavor.

    I’m not eating so much fish now–I’m eating bison that’s grown right here in my county on the local grass.

    Later last summer I was in Prague and I really wanted to buy one of the hand made wooden marionettes–they can custom make them from a photograph, to look like a friend–my daughter was going to save up to get one for her boyfriend (but I hear they’re not together anymore). The large lifesize ones were terribly expensive. I’ll have to save up another seven years. But it would be something you could hand on to your grandchildren, not some cheap toy that is discarded in a few days. And I don’t mind paying a craftsman (or woman) what their skill and time are worth–if I have the money.

  3. We took shoes to be repaired last week and the cobbler told us he’s going to start making shoes!

    They won’t be high fashion, but if they are made to fit our own feet, our feet will be happy!

  4. Alright! Maybe if I ever come to Berkeley, I will have a pair of shoes custom made.

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