Inferior Good: Diminishing Marginal Stupidity in Action

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Buy Local?

Check out Joe Dresser’s rant against the buy local movement, which he sees as “nonsensical and… jingoistic”. Though his post may be a bit uncharitable, I tend to agree.

I recognize that there may be a certain romance associated with goods produced close to home (as with anywhere else), but otherwise simply being local isn’t enough to make something worthy of my purchase.

I get that the term “local” is about more than geography for some people, but I humbly submit that the terms “environmentally sustainable” and “artisan” describe this ethic much more clearly and accurately while avoiding the natavist, anti-cosmopolitan nature of the word “local”. It may be possible to optimize quality and environmental impact by purchasing local goods, but this is not necessarily so in many cases. Further, the term “local” is easily adopted as a simple marketing tool by producers with values quite divergent from those of the core buy local community.

[Ed: Why am I not surprised that a wine importer doesn’t view the buy local movement positively?] Fair enough, but consider also that Mr. Dresser’s vocation is probably consistent with his quite heartfelt appreciation for the world’s many wonderful wine traditions. I imagine that buy local might appear like a narrow minded assault on the diversity he thrives upon.

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