We are facing an Economic crisis and may lead to a crisis of human spirit very soon. During this period of COVID -19 we can see how dependent a nation is on International trade and how we are affected for not being self sustainable. Do we really feel that the debt economy is alarming for all of us and forced to raise a question WHY NOT LOCALIZATION?
We need to implement policies which measure the economy in Gross National Happiness where it measures prosperity and well being of the citizens and one such measure is GPI, Genuine progress Index.
It takes into account human, social, community, natural wealth in addition to material wealth. I believe local economies and communities are key to restoring happiness, democracy, and ecological health around the Globe.
Transnational corporations are increasingly able to bargain with national governments for lower tax rates and higher subsidies by threatening to ‘offshore’ their operations. An important point to note is that localization does not mean total isolation. It isn’t about eliminating all trade; communities can still export surpluses once local needs are met, and they can still import goods that can’t be produced locally. But localization allows local, regional, and even national self-reliance to replace dependence on distant, unaccountable corporations.
Another key point is that any systemic shift towards localization will need to be driven by a combination of bottom-up grassroots initiatives and top-down policy changes.
But as those initiatives build a new economy from the ground up, we also need to pressure our governments to make policy changes, such as:
- Shifting taxes and subsidies to support local, sustainable businesses instead of global corporations.
- Renegotiating trade treaties so that they protect the rights of countries to support their local business sectors and conserve natural resources.
- Changing regulations in the finance sector so that our financial security, as individuals and nations, isn’t dependent on the risky gambles of financial institutions that are falsely considered “too big to fail”.
- Modifying food, health, and land-use policies so that they support local projects rather than multinational corporations.
At this point, you may be wondering how it’s possible to turn this vision of a localized future into reality. Of course, it won’t always be an easy process, but by applying the principles of ‘bottom-up’ and ‘top-down’ organizing, we can sow the seeds of the new economy even as we deconstruct the old.
-Payal Garg, Gurgaon based Chartered Accountant