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Resilient Local Economy
The economy is changing. Dramatically. Coping with these changes means changing the way we do things. The path of the future involves root level, radical changes. Things we have always considered “normal” won’t work anymore. We must think LOCALLY, and act now to begin growing a resilient local economy.
for building a
Understand the full extent of the problem.
We’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg: Prepare for hard times to get worse. Any plans we make today –from business plans to individual career/college/retirement planning, to government policies – must presume they will unfold in an environment of ongoing, long-term economic downturn. Otherwise, they are not viable plans. We’re facing (simultaneously) the growing costs of climate change, the end of the oil age, plus there are fatal flaws in the original design of our economy. Eternal “growth” is impossible on a finite planet. We are living in a contracting economy and life as we once knew it is changing forever. We can no longer “go it alone.” The crises we face demand that we work together with others in ways we never have done before. As the conventional economy continues to crumble, we the people at the grassroots still need to keep a roof over our head, feed our children, and maintain a relative degree of peace within our local community. In order to keep things going, we are going to have to use different economic tools than we have in the past: tools to facilitate transactions between people. Develop practical life skills which will get you through challenges. Grow food. Now. Everywhere you can. Relocalize: shift to lifestyles which require far less transportation. Powerdown: decrease your energy dependence overall. Develop a supportive community circle around you to fall back on emotionally or more tangibly. Develop Inner Resilience – the character and spiritual base to remain flexible and feel good about it.
2) Expect Contraction
Conserve your cash. Make the most of the U.S. dollars you do have. Use budgets and learn to get by on much less. Decrease your outflow, don’t merely seek to increase your inflow. Debt, leveraging, and interest are great tools in a growing economy, but they doom you to faster decline in a contracting economy. Systematically begin to reduce/renegotiate/eliminate all your debts and don’t take on more. Don’t vote for more government debt (a.k.a. bond measures) either. An economy is like an ecosystem: it has many interrelated parts. We need to build resilient versions of each of the parts – local business, currency, investment, measurement systems – in anticipation of what lies ahead. The role of “employee” of a giant facility controlled by corporate executives is part of the fading past. Even “green jobs” and “stimulus” are tied into the fatally-flawed eternal growth presumption. As the crises unfold further, making a living is much more likely to be as “proprietor,” rather than employee.
3) Rethink the idea of “Jobs.”
S. support the future with your voting dollar. help build these. plan to accept multiple currencies (#5). 8) Redefine “Success. California. 0113 Environmental Change-Makers www.htm to obtain full text. bottom-line. like carpools. investors seed local sustainable businesses. at a local level we need to have a wide variety of alternative ways to conduct economic transactions. dollar cash.” 9) Strive for a Socially-Just Economics 10) Help build the safety net. with hopes to preserve them. and sales volume-. L. dollar alone. we must measure the right stuff. Practice sharing: Set up lots of sharing networks. basic clothing? Particularly as we face limited petroleum and with local supply chains? These are the “business opportunities” of the new future. Rather than seeking “rate of return. any lone one of these Practical Tools may feel flimsy and insufficient. In Marin. profit and growth. As the conventional economy crumbles.A. Put them to work locally on resilience-building projects within your community – projects which will help your local community cope with peak oil and economic downturn. As the current economic structures wobble and crumble. Particularly within our cities.I.” better shop for local investments which might help secure our collective future. Look for signs of a safety net in your neighborhood. What kinds of businesses will your immediate local neighborhood need to survive? Which businesses will provide the basics like locallysourced food and water. In Washington state.N. shift your transactions to support them.measures economic growth and profit. and quality of life. And people’s lives and experiences are about much more than just dollars. tool libraries. the Practical Tools create a resilient safety net. they pooled their funds to buy options on farmland to keep it out of the hands of suburban developers. people pool their investment funds to build community-owned wind farms. security. See www. in keeping with planetary limits (biocapacity). Trade goods and services with local neighbors. so these networks will be in place when we really need them. As you create your resilience-oriented business. Then vote with your buying dollar to support vendors who give you good answers. Our conventional economic system is broken because it defined “success” so narrowly.” by Joanne Poyourow. Ask businesses about their scorecard on the things you care about: how they’re cutting carbon emissions.4) Support Resilience-Building businesses and industries. and safety are so dear that they are worth “investing” in. 6) Community-based Investment 7) Demand new economic indicators. Every dollar you spend at a non-resilient business or industry (chain store) is a vote against local survival.org/EconomicResilience. Try sophisticated barter systems: Set up or join time banks or LETSystems (Local Economic Trading Systems). gift cultures and more. Do it now. UK. without the need for U. Reduce your volume expectations. Please share these ideas with your friends. we are kidding ourselves if we think we can help prepare or “transition” only our own household or neighborhood without regard to helping nearby neighborhoods.O. In the new paradigm. a resilient local safety net is your best hope for maintaining peace. outdated set of economic indicators --which includes things like GDP. As you discover small portions of it. Got investment funds? Retirement funds? Retain them within your local community. We cannot forget that our local communities are not islands. and make these the way you do things within your social circle. the safety net is there to catch us -. garden sharing.EnviroChangeMakers. exclusively in terms of dollars. They’re the way we determine whether (or how far) we’re moving in the right direction. That lone measurement has taken us far off track with respect to environment. BUY LOCAL. Reach out to others and share the message in this document.to keep our local communities functional at a very basic level. Assembled as a unified whole. period. peace.EnviroChangeMakers. Several time banks are active and operating in various parts of L. 5) Develop multiple financial vehicles. For humanity to survive in the new future. “The economy” is the sum total of transactions between people. while times are relatively good. We cannot count on the U. group purchasing. Meanwhile. Work with local and interest-free investment sources (#6). In Totnes. how much of their supplies are locally-sourced. Our old. whether they buy from other local businesses and hire local workers. profit and growth. and take action to make our Safety Net a reality.org . The best “investment for retirement” might actually turn out to be non-cash: investing your volunteer hours now toward building these Practical Tools so that you can spend those golden years in a peaceful community. Help others get prepared! Viewed separately. These are excerpts from “What Everyone Ought to Know about Today’s Economy” and “10 Ways to Beat the Tough Economy.S. social ills. With the looming possibility of severe inflation or deflation. Economic Indicators are our measuring sticks. home repair groups. Evaluate success using alternative metrics (#7).