Work Local to Rebuild the Economy

Posted on August 14, 2010


Work Local to Rebuild the Economy

In my last post “Creating Work I Love,” I mentioned that one of my reasons  for wanting to branch out on my own is the desire to participate in the rebuilding of San Francisco’s local economy.  I’ve been looking around my community and feeling despair over the loss of jobs, the closure of businesses, and the struggles of local cities to find the funding to provide basic services to our citizens.  Hard-working people are spinning their wheels, applying for jobs where the competition can number over 500 qualified applicants for one job.  While many companies had major profits in 2009 and in the first quarter of 2010, they’re still not hiring.  When we look almost exclusively to big business to provide jobs, the outlook can be quite bleak.  So, let’s consider an alternative:  working local.

Here in San Francisco, I’ve  discovered  dynamic, ballsy communities of small businesses and artisans that are devoted to the preservation of their businesses and cities.  I suppose this is the difference between local and big business.  A local business is part of a microcosm that thrives when the city thrives.  Big business can be a  fair-weather friend, closing shop, and get the hell out of Dodge when the going gets tough.  They have less concern for the health and well-being of our cities, unless they can make a profit.  I truly feel that lending your skills to rebuilding your community and small businesses is a win-win situation, and will help revitalize struggling local communities. Consider how supporting local small businesses and shopping local creates an interdependence on people who live and work in your community.  The 3/50 project has estimated that for every $100 spent per month, per individual in a house hold, $25 more stays in your community than if you spend it at a national chain store or restaurant.  $25 per $100, per person, per month.  Imagine what your community could do with that amount of money!  Many of us already balance our consuming needs between local and chain stores, so why not consider creating your work in your community?  Especially if you know your labor will contribute to more money flowing directly into your community, and strengthening a communal interdependence that grows from success!

Consider how your community could benefit from highly skilled professionals starting or consulting for local businesses.  So much of our creativity and talent is in the service of corporations.   I realize that big business will always be a part of our economy, and some people will find work there.  For those of us who don’t, or don’t want to, I see a viable alternative that helps balance our communities budgets with more money staying in the community, instead of flowing out and into the pockets of big business in another state or country.

On a final note, I frequently see scary stories about the drastic decline of the American Middle Class and our slide into horrible poverty and suffering  in the shifting global economy.  I have one thing to say about that: NEVER  underestimate the American worker!!   We are  hard-working and  innovative,  we possess amazing confidence, leadership abilities, and an undying entrepreneurial spirit.  Many of us have invested years in education and work experience to be competent and competitive in a fierce job market.  I’m not saying we’re innately better than any other foreign work force, I’m just saying, well, when it comes to competition, I’m confident that we’ll find a way to continue to grow and flourish.