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The Competitiveness of Local Living Economies

Michael Shuman

November 3, 2010

Economic localization offers the key to solving a growing number of global problems, including peak oil, climate disruption, and financial meltdowns.  Yet the perception remains that this solution is very costly, because local goods and services supposedly are more expensive than their global alternatives.  American consumers are convinced that “big-box” stores and bigger businesses mean lower prices–“always,” in the Wal-Mart vernacular.  And not a few localization activists concur, arguing that consumers should nevertheless be prepared to pay more to responsibly avert the calamities of a carbon-dependent world.

This is a chapter from The Post Carbon Reader: Managing the 21st Century’s Sustainability Crises (2010).