Does buying local really help the community?
December 4, 2008 9:38 AM Subscribe
Buying local: Facts and fictions. Help me sort through the arguments about buying local as I get inundated with requests to do so this holiday season.
posted by proj to Work & Money (25 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
Local businesses have launched an initiative to "buy local" and have started making claims such as "for every $100 spent at a locally-owned business, $45 goes back into the community and local tax base. For every $100 spent at a chain store, only $13 comes back." This seems a) outlandish and b) impossible to actually know.
It's my understanding that money can't "stay" in a community any more than air can "stay" in a community. The products that many of these people are selling are made in other cities, states, and countries. Merchants may or may not live in the community that houses their business and they themselves may not exclusively "buy local" hence the money that you are trying to keep in the community has effectively left the community.
I also know arguments about increasing the size of the "pie", i.e., commerce helps provide jobs in other countries and helps the situation of people outside the community as well.
Is this misguided? Something about the "buy local!" campaign raises my hackles as being insular and based on false assumptions. Am I wrong? Is this doomed to be an ideological question? Please provide arguments one way or the other (citations would be great as well!)