All Local is Politics

If the expression, “all politics is local,” demonstrates that we care about certain policies because they affect us directly, then what could be more political than our local Main Street? It is the center of our local economy. It’s more than likely the largest employer in the neighborhood. And if it is succeeding, it bolsters both safety and community.

So yesterday I got political. In other words, I voted with my wallet. I stopped in at a local office supply store to pick up seven 9 x 12 envelopes. Just a quick in and out, and a few dollars spent. Sure I could have ordered online and saved time. Though I probably would have ended up with a box of 100. And maybe the price per envelope would have been less. But like I said, I only needed seven.

A small purchase, to be sure. But a vote for my neighborhood nonetheless. A vote that says I want the money I spend to benefit my neighborhood. And when I spend locally, it does. To the tune of 25% more of every dollar. Think about that, for every $100 you spend online, at a chain or a big box, you’re sending $25 dollars out of your community.

Imagine the impact if 25% more of our collective shopping dollars stayed where we live?

Neighborhoods with thriving small business sectors encourage nearby residents to walk or bike more and drive less. In fact, when comparing communities where all else is similar, neighborhoods with a higher concentration of small businesses routinely boast better public health outcomes.

Not only that, local ownership of small business actually increases a community’s ability to solve problems, say researchers. [1]

Even levels of inequality in your community are affected by the success or failure of local small businesses. A study using two decades of data from a number of countries found that areas with more small and mid-size businesses suffered far lower levels of income inequality.[2] Yet so many of us continue to ignore our local shops, restaurants and service providers to our peril. It’s a “vote against our self interest” when we spend most of our money further enriching the corporate giants.

In such politically charged times, and with big money controlling politics in Washington — but benefiting only corporate America — isn’t it time to get political with our money and vote local with our wallets?