Localist Economies

Localism is a fundamental element of the future as the global economy grapples with the repercussions of shrinking fossil fuel availability. The reliance on traditional economic models fueled by non-renewable resources is no longer sustainable, necessitating a fundamental shift towards resilient, community-centric economies. In this context, the development of localist economies will emerge as a beacon of hope, offering pathways to navigate the challenges posed by diminishing energy resources while fostering inclusive growth and sustainability.

At the heart of localist economies lies the principle of self-reliance and interconnectedness. Rather than depending on external forces and global markets, communities leverage their inherent strengths and resources to meet their needs. This shift towards localisation encompasses aspects of economic activity, including food production, manufacturing, energy generation, and service provision.

One key pillar of localist economies is the promotion of small-scale agriculture and localised food systems. By prioritising local food production over long-distance transportation, communities reduce their dependence on fossil fuels while enhancing food security and resilience to external shocks. Community-supported agriculture (CSA) schemes, farmers’ markets, and urban farming initiatives empower individuals to actively participate in food production, forging stronger connections between producers and consumers.

Furthermore, fostering a vibrant ecosystem of small businesses and cooperatives amplifies the resilience of local economies. From artisanal crafts to renewable energy startups, these enterprises contribute to job creation, skill development, and the circulation of wealth within the community. By prioritizing ethical and sustainable practices, such as fair trade and resource conservation, these businesses align economic objectives with social and environmental values, laying the groundwork for a more equitable and regenerative economy.

In parallel, the transition to renewable energy sources is pivotal in reshaping localist economies. By harnessing the abundant sun, wind, and water resources, communities reduce their reliance on fossil fuels while mitigating the impacts of climate change. Through rooftop solar panels, small wind turbines, and micro-hydro systems, distributed energy generation empowers communities to take control of their energy future, fostering energy independence and resilience in the face of volatile global energy markets.

Moreover, energy efficiency and conservation investments yield significant dividends for local economies, reducing energy costs, enhancing productivity, and creating employment opportunities in construction, retrofitting, and green technology sectors. Energy-efficient housing and infrastructure lower residents’ utility bills and contribute to communities’ overall sustainability and livability.

However, the transition to local community economies is not without its challenges. Structural barriers, entrenched interests, and institutional inertia often impede progress towards localization, reinforcing the status quo of centralized, extractive economic systems. Overcoming these obstacles requires a concerted effort from policymakers, businesses, civil society, and individuals to create an enabling environment for community-led initiatives and decentralized decision-making.

Policy interventions, such as local procurement preferences, community land trusts, and cooperative ownership models, can provide the necessary support and incentives for local businesses to thrive. Likewise, investment in education and capacity-building initiatives equips community members with the knowledge and skills to participate actively in the transition to local economies, fostering a culture of innovation, resilience, and collaboration.

A fundamental difference between the old and new ways is that the old ways assumed growth assisted by borrowing, whereas economic shrinkage will underlie localism. This implies that incomes and associated wage rates will generally decline. Outstanding loans must not burden individuals and families setting up and running new businesses. Currently, wages in the UK are at least £15 per hour. New businesses should plan for wages to be below £15 per hour. As the economy shrinks, personal incomes will decline.

Moving to cheaper housing and paying outstanding mortgages will be essential for survival. Failure to do so will then involve moving again.

Old-style discretionary spending will no longer be a part of daily life.

Local community economies offer a compelling vision for a more equitable, sustainable, and resilient future in the face of shrinking fossil fuel availability and economic contraction. By harnessing the power of local resources, knowledge, and collective action, communities can chart a path towards prosperity that prioritizes people and the planet over profit. As we confront the interconnected challenges of climate change, economic inequality, and resource depletion, the imperative to embrace localization becomes ever more pressing. In the words of the African proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” It is through collective endeavour and solidarity that we can build thriving, resilient communities that endure the test of time.

See: Intentional Communities

Leave a comment or suggestion

Discover more from ORCOP - PROSPECTA

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading