Long before Covid -19 struck I had my “buy local” badge up on my Facebook page.
Why? Because it’s a subversive approach to curbing the increasing power of global companies like Amazon who plunder our economy but don’t pay taxes here and therefore don’t contribute the costs of infrastructure in our country and our well-being as a people.
Nor do they contribute significantly to local job creation in our country other than through courier and parcel handling work.
The mean trick globalized neoliberalism has managed to pull off over the last 30 odd years has been to lower wages ( to maximize profits for shareholders) but keep our consumer expectations high by engaging people in poorer economies to produce goods at far lower prices on incredibly low wages.(Thereby again maximizing profits for the shareholders).
As I said in my post yesterday ( and thank you to the many readers who responded to it) Covid- 19 has given us a moment to catch our consumer breath.
Yes, as some readers pointed out, NZ made goods may very well cost more in the short term but I think wages would also go up.
Why? Because it is a basic tenet of economics that one person’s spending is another person’s income.
To break the cycle we would need revisit our Wants versus our Needs and be prepared to accept a reduction in the choice of goods available to us. But then how many different brands of T shirt do we actually need in our country and maybe a locally made quality T shirt is a better long term buying than 4 cheaper imported ones.
Globalised neoliberalism is the enemy invading our shores.
What can we do?
Answer – meet it head on by refusing to enter trade agreements that permit global financial elites to plunder our economy as part of the deal.
But also fight it by maximizing our individual consumer power because wars are often won by small acts of subversion behind enemy lines.
Bryan Bruce is one of NZs most respected documentary makers and public intellectuals who has tirelessly exposed NZs neoliberal economic settings as the main cause for social issues.