Participating in Local Economy
by Mark Votava
I have never thought much about the economy and how it affects our lives as citizens of the United States until recently. I am coming to understand more how the economy is a part of shaping my life. If I value the local economy, I will be more mindful of my neighbors and community in everyday life. If I value the global economy over the local, I will soon become more individualistic and detached from where I live.
- A local economy brings about neighborhood cohesion
We need to become creators and supporters of a local economy among us through the parish imagination as the body of Christ in everyday life. Creating and supporting a local economy brings about neighborhood cohesion. We need this neighborhood cohesion to become a holistic counterculture together. When we build our lives on creating and supporting a local economy, we build relational connection into the place we inhabit.
- Promotes relational care
A local economy is about more than just making money. Our work in the local economy promotes a relational care within the neighborhood. This is just as important, or even more important than making money.
- Creates sustainability to our lives
A local economy creates sustainability to our lives that will not be manipulated by the sometimes unjust practices of the global economy. A local economy is often times more just and caring than the global economy. We are so entrenched in our global economy that is it hard for us to imagine how a local economy is a part of the body of Christ in everyday life. But we need the parish imagination of a local economy if we are to have an integration into the place we inhabit together because economy, whether local or global, is a big part of everyday life.
- Participating to have more voice and agency
All of us participate in the economy in some way or another. We have more voice and agency in a local economy. We have almost no voice and agency in the global economy.
- Becoming supporters of a local economy
Norman Wirzba says, “When we become supporters of a local economy – purchasing food that is locally grown or products made by community members, investing in local financial cooperatives and small scale currencies – what we do is elevate the subsistence needs of those in our community over the financial advantages of the unseen and unknown few… As consumers we have the power to dramatically affect large-scale economic practices simply by choosing to spend our money differently, in ways that reward local initiative and energize neighborhood cohesion… ”
- The investment of citizens in a place
The global economy could be subverted by the practices of the local economy. All it takes is the investment of citizens in a place. The local economy is a powerful force of citizenship today in the parish in everyday life together. We cannot integrate into the parish without embracing the local economy.
Why is it so difficult to support and create a local economy among us?