In the spirit of the great Bastiat:
(p. 1117) Buy local (BL) campaigns are gaining ground in many towns, cities, counties, and states throughout the United States. These commendable efforts are based on intuitive principles that: local production reduces energy usage and therefore mitigates against climate change; the rapid approach of peak oil will lead to potentially disastrous dislocations that will erode society’s ability to provide adequate food supplies and medical care; and face-to-face economic relationships between producer and consumer, such as in a farmers’ market setting, provide a superior form of economic organization relative to the impersonal nature of our current industrial modes of production.
It is in this spirit that we, the members of Sustainability in Transportation, Utilities, Production, the Environment, and Development (STUPED), urge our local governments to take the next logical step: requirements for selling local.
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This is also clearly a fairer way to approach the problem of non-local production. There exists the temptation for a given locality to urge its community members to BL, but to also simultaneously promote selling to other localities in the name of “increased local employment.” Of course, this kind of thinking totally ignores the fact that by selling goods to another region, those of us in a local production area cause harm to workers in that distant region who, as a result of our incursion into their local economies, reduce that distant region’s abilities to provide for itself.
Given the foregoing, it is evident that selllocal requirements are virtually required for the sustainability of our local economies. Buy Local publicity campaigns may make us feel better, but a well-enforced set of sell-local regulations eliminates the thorniest problem of a free-market approach–the tendency of consumers to buy whatever they darn well please. STUPED urges our local governments to adopt such a set of regulations.
Thompson, Philip, and Hart Hodges. “Sell Local! The Next Logical Step.” Economic Inquiry 49, no. 4 (October 2011): 1117-17.
(Note: italics in original; ellipsis added.)