Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Local is Beautiful

It just doesn't make sense to produce anything that could be made in the rest of the world, and then transport it around the world. New Zealand may be a great place for lambs but how long does it take to get here and how much does it cost to transport it? I know that I have written about Schumacher's 'Small is Beautiful' before, but I want to go back to one point that he made. 'Modern industry seems to be inefficient to a degree that surpasses one's ordinary powers of imagination. Its inefficiency therefore remains unnoticed'.

Why should we get clothes from India when we can produce them here? The answer is also to be found in his book. 'The modern economy is propelled by a frenzy of greed and indulges in an orgy of envy, and these are not accidental features but the very causes of its expansionist success'. It doesn't matter whether we are talking about lamb or clothes or any other form of trade (and mainly Schumacher writes about energy) the principle is the same. Don't waste the world's resources and if you send things around the world then that's what you are doing.

Lord Lawson wants to leave the EU. "Too much of British business and industry feels... secure in the warm embrace of the European single market and is failing to recognise that today's great export opportunities lie in the developing world, particularly in Asia". So is there some great panacea that allows companies to trade with Asia in a much easier way if they were not members of the EU? In this case all EU countries would be searching for it, but there isn't and they aren't.

Change the world

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