Saturday, April 7, 2012

No Local: Why Small-Scale Alternatives Won't Change The World

Local food, local business and buying local won't change the world. Challenging market priorities will. Here's why.

By Greg Sharzer
Book information HERE.

'No Local: Why Small-Scale Alternatives Won’t Change The World’ challenges the received wisdom that farmer’s markets, community gardening and cooperatives can provide a human-scale alternative to the global market. But can growing your own vegetables really do an end-run around corporate agribusiness? Can a local currency provide a fairer way to shop than regular money?

‘No Local’ takes a penetrating look at these reforms and calls them ‘localism’, an ideology that small is always beautiful.

Most critics of local economic alternatives come from the Right, but ‘No Local’ takes the opposite approach. Rooted in Marxism, the book shows market reformers have advocated small reforms since the beginning of capitalism. It draws on political economy, history and ideology studies to show that, far from challenging market rule, small-scale alternatives are often ways to reconcile with the system. Localist politics comes from a desire to escape, rather than confront, capitalist inequality.

But that doesn’t mean things are hopeless. Although direct and questioning, ‘No Local’ takes a positive view about the possibilities for social change. If we confront the market and its political rulers, we can build social movements that begin to create an egalitarian society – a legacy the Arab Spring and Occupy movements of 2011 have begun to reclaim. Pointed and polemical, ‘No Local’ poses key questions for the Left as it emerges from its decades-long torpor.

Greg Sharzer has a Ph.D. in Political Science from York University, Toronto, Canada, where he studied political economy and social movements. His activism includes participating in anti-poverty, trade union and migrant rights campaigns. When not thinking about politics he enjoys cycling, films with subtitles, gourmet coffee and all the other trappings of a petty bourgeois lifestyle.

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