First do no harm

Cynics will point out that corporates and shareholders care about profit margins and ROI, not local jobs. Sure, the global economy is here to stay, no matter if you and I buy local. But companies are waking up to the fact that consumers care about local content: I have seen ‘Made in South Africa’ design shops appear in two local shopping malls recently. And further afield the very profit driven Apple Computer announced that it will assemble a new line of desktops in Texas with components made in other US states.

I am also not saying that consuming solves anything. If we want to put the planet on a sustainable footing, we need to consume less, not more. The way we are running our growth-based economies is a humungous pyramid system.

Buying local is not about buying more. It’s about PROsuming rather than CONsuming. About buying things from people, not faceless brands. People who you can engage with in two-way-conversations. Buying local is about considering the people who make things, the raw materials, the animals and plants involved. It’s about knowing how, under what conditions and where things are made. Supporting people who know how to make things and who produce a variety of products can only be a good thing.

Even if you are not convinced that buying local can make a difference – can it do any harm?