Localization

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Localization is a set of policies that actively discriminate in favour of the more local whenever it is, in the words of John Maynard Keynes, "reasonable and conveniently possible". It is a process of gradually bringing aspects of economic activity and global commerce closer to home, thereby reducing our dependence on fossil fuels for transport, supporting local economies, and minimizing the risk of instability which can arise from conflict, natural disasters or increasing scarcity of resources.

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Localization - a response to globalization

Localization is a practical response to the widely held concern that economic globalization, which prioritizes international competitiveness and maximum economic growth – often at the expense of social and cultural justice – has taken power away from national governments and put it in the hands of huge corporations and financiers.

Advantages of localization

A major advantage of localization is that it brings power back, shifting the balance of economic control towards a level where democratic institutions enjoy greater prospects of imposing socially and environmentally sensitive regulations on the market, and it offers the potential, at least, for the benefits of the economy to be shared more equally.

Localization can therefore play a crucial role in the promotion of greater social justice, more equitable distribution of resources and greater environmental sustainability. It is about supporting local producers and businesses, developing a better sense of shared communities, enabling these communities to retain their own capital, encouraging ethical investment in community bonds and mutual banks, and encouraging democratic participation to give people a real stake in their future.

Citizen initiatives

A number of citizens' initiatives which have grown up in response to the threats of climate change and peak oil, like the Transition Town Movement, or Carbon Reduction Action Groups, actively promote localization as a key tool in reducing carbon emissions. Local food groups are particularly popular, and offer a way of promoting the local economy, boosting local farmers' incomes, reducing the environmental impacts associated with industrialized agriculture, and maximizing the availability of affordable and healthy local food.

What localization is not

It is also important to state what localization is not. It is not parochial and inward-looking. Far from leading to a "fortress Europe" approach, as some have claimed, it is about "protecting the local, globally". While localization has developed as part of a critique of economic globalization, it is entirely compatible with, and supportive of, internationalism - the positive flow of technology, ideas, and information, together with growing international understanding and co-operation.

See also

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Author: Caroline Lucas