Think smart - act local | rethink.economy
Blog series wirtschaft.neu.denken by Richard König
Think global - act local. This slogan was on everyone's lips at the beginning of globalisation before the turn of the millennium. It reduced the globalisation strategy of international players to a short self-explanatory sentence. However, after the turn of the millennium, driven among other things by the internet and increasing globalisation, the parameters have changed somewhat. Whereas in the past one tried to build up a global strategy in order to implement it adapted to local conditions, today we encounter more and more global products and concepts that suggest to us that the world is a village. Marketing and addressing customers is done with regional reference as far as possible, but the products come from internationally optimised mass production, with all the advantages and disadvantages.
Organic food is expensive and you have to be able to afford it! There is no difference to normal food anyway! It's all just profiteering! Buying locally from farmers and farm-gate shops doesn't work because it takes too much time! The big supermarket chains now also offer everything in organic. A complete conversion to organic quality or local supply is not feasible in reality! Products from local traders come from the same factories as those from global corporations. I don't have time to deal with that.
These or similar beliefs are encountered every day. At the same time, values such as sustainability, environmental protection or ethics are increasingly playing a major role in purchasing and in personal lifestyles for very many people. But of course, price or convenience also play an essential role when shopping. Time is scarce in these times and above all "time is money".
But why should we consciously question our daily purchasing decisions, which are as automated as our morning hygiene, again and again? The answer is quite simple: the world is not black and white and there are numerous opportunities every day to make decisions that are more sustainable for oneself, one's family, nature or the earth. It's not about changing everything and buying everything from the farm or local shops from now on. It's not about quitting your job to become an empowered sustainable consumer. It's simply about saying stop once a day and asking yourself how you, as a consumer, can change the world.
Our purchasing decisions have made the corporations big, not our politicians. They have merely created the framework conditions, mostly driven by lobbying. International corporations are now as big or even bigger than some states and have enormous power. Many already have more power than some countries. And they have to defend this power... with all their might. For the sake of jobs... if it weren't for the shareholders who only accept one course. When they produce consumer goods they need such large quantities of raw materials and efficient production processes that are only feasible with mass production. This Global players are getting bigger and bigger, so they (or their shareholders) are starting to protect their investments with laws or, in the case of food, even with patents. The discussion about the TTIP free trade agreement is a good example. A further shift of power away from political regional legislation towards international capital-oriented arbitration courts. Here, in many cases, disenchantment with politics is spreading and we hope that the politicians we elect will make the right decisions. And, of course, it is convenient to hope for politics or even to berate its representatives. In the process, we forget that our daily purchasing decisions are, in sum, much more powerful than the choices we make in the voting booth. Because only we have made these corporations big - the good ones and also the not so good ones... And in our purchase decision lies also the power to change something.
We can read the country of origin in the supermarket or not. We can decide whether or not to buy seasonal fruit and vegetables. We can stop by the organic shop, the farm-gate sale, the farm on our way home and buy eggs, potatoes or bread from the region. We can also opt for the increasingly popular online shopping for the shops of local businesses that also pay their taxes here, instead of betting on a few seconds more convenience or comfort and buying from global internet players who have not yet paid a cent in taxes in our country and still use our roads. The roads of the global players too often lead to countries like Panama, the Cayman Islands or Luxembourg. We can also choose to walk or use public transport instead of driving. Or we can plant our own vegetables or herbs, whether in our own raised bed, on the terrace or just on the windowsill.
What the Japanese understand by KAIZEN, we can apply a little bit every day. The striving for constant improvement. Not giving up the existing lifestyle, but small and effective improvements. If each of us bought just 10 per cent more regionally, sustainably and environmentally conscious every year, that would bring about a radical change over the next few years. Companies, small and large, would have to adapt more intensively to new consumer behaviour and adapt their strategy. For example, if people would only buy products from companies that also pay their taxes in our country, companies would change quickly. After all, corporate profits can only be hidden by high revenues in tax havens. They would have to adapt to us - once again - but this time in favour of a moral and sustainable economy. The choice is ours, to adapt our habits and make the world a better place, day by day.
Think smart & local should be our new battle cry.