Sunday, February 7, 2010

Spend Local, Send $ to Haiti, or Shop Globally

I'm having trouble with making posts these days. These ideas are rattling in my brain... but I'm a little timid about putting them out there. Here's another:

I like the local businesses in Austin. There is a friendly face that you get to know, and there is a heart that cares that you have come to visit. But there is an element of nationalism to "spending local" and "local" is usually thought of as a very small nation.

My neighborhood elist promotes local businesses as a religion. I don't let people know, but I shop at Costco when I can get something at a better price. And when I can't, I enjoy the little co-op grocery.

I was surprised at apparent inconsistency of the recent posts to contribute money to Haiti. Shopping globally is such a great opportunity to help underdeveloped countries. You might be thinking "hell, help?, we are exploiting them." IMHO, we have created much wealth for India and China, and now we are doing so for smaller and poorer countries.

I expected some support on this from my independent thinking walking neighbor, so I asked him "don't you think it is a contradiction to shop local and give money to Haiti." He said no, because he thinks of local as Earth. Couldn't argue with that!

In case you are thinking I'm having trouble with the "give money to Haiti" part, I don't. I just think we could be helping the world 24/365.


Whimzwhirled said...

It seems to me that maintaining a healthy balanced attitude towards all of these things is fine. Shop locally when you can but don't feel like your cheating when you do otherwise. Same with charity. Help where you can and as often as you can but let your heart tell you where it would be best used. There is certainly no shortage of need around the world or in our own back yards so where ever you do good it is helping.

jashbaug said...

If we were all rich we could shop anywhere we wanted and give to every need. But that is one problem I don't have, so I do my best to buy products that are fair trade, I shop locally to help my community, and occassionally I shop the big chains because they have exactly what I want...of course if I didn't go there, I wouldn't know they have it, would I?

As far as giving, there is a time to do so, and I do as much as I can. I also use my art to generate thoughts, each to their own, about issues, needs, and getting involved.

I do hate shopping at walmart... I don't want them pushing the mcdonald generic lifestyle into my daily life. Yet they are the only place I can go after work, so I keep it to a mininum. I would rather buy at a thrift shop and restore/repurpose something...and the surprise of finding the most unusual things is a great plus.

Bottomline, its your money spend it where you will...

Paula Gable said...

I think there's wisdom in buying certain things locally, especially food, since it probably won't travel across country in a truck that was hauling excreting swine just the day before, only to be hosed and and filled with produce, etc. You're right, Kim. Wherever we spend our money we are helping the merchant and those who produced it. If we think of a global community, it's all "local." If we think about transportation costs and energy use in shipping and jobs exported abroad, ... that's a different issue. Hell, I own lots of things from China, Japan, Taiwan, Germany, Mexico, Africa, California, Pennsylvania, etc. Some of the best produce comes from the Southern Hemisphere. In fact, it's often the only fresh fruit available in the US winter. Is it "right" to buy it? Don't know. I only know that the banana growers in Central America depend on folk like me to buy their produce. I do try to draw the line at buying organic produce, since it encourages sustainable agriculture. But, then again, I'm not entirely sure I believe and trust all those labels, anyway. Thrift stores! That's my cup of tea, too. And, it's my $$ - what little I have. So, I'll spend it as I like. You spend yours as you like. Just no kiddie porn or nuclear arms or endangered species. You get the idea.