There is nothing completely new in the premise of Scott’s Buying Local Saves? I’m fairly sure that I have heard stories almost exactly like this one:
. . . Kelly Cobb’s effort to make a suit of clothes using only resources available within a 100-mile radius of Philadelphia. ‘The suit took a team of 20 artisans [eighteen] months to produce — 500 man-hours of work in total.’
That should serve as conclusive evidence that you can prove almost anything with the right setup. Scott does a good job of illuminating some of the reasons that cause these kinds of results and calls into question the theory behind local-only shopping. The thing that held my interest is that I have preferences towards that kind of behavior, for some similar reasons to what he discusses.
There is a major difference though – I do not favor local products and services strictly for some moral good, and I don’t favor them in all cases. I think I would call my purchasing habits a pragmatic approach to buying local. I favor getting my hair cut at the local barbershop because I see no reason to pay my money to Great Clips or any other chain. I am especially pleased by the fact that the local barbershop is no more expensive, and I like the haircuts better than the chain stores. I also shop at the local grocery store rather than Walmart. I know some people who think Walmart is evil, but my reasons are much more mundane. I like the fact that the local grocer is not open on Sundays – I like to support businesses that don’t live in the 24/7 world of business. I also like the fact that the local grocery store is only one third the distance from my house as the nearest chain grocery store.
What it really comes down to is the fact that I have tried to divorce myself from the idea that saving a penny is always worth the cost. I save more in time, energy, and fuel by shopping local than I spend extra because their merchandise is 3 cents more expensive per item than Walmart. My favorite result of this new mindset is the freedom to look at things from more than just a checkbook perspective. It’s quite liberating.