If every family in the South Bend-Mishawaka metro area shifted just $10 of its monthly spending to locally-owned, independent businesses, over $9,958,301 would be directly returned to the community. That’s the calculation from Independent We Stand, an organization of independent business owners who are trying to inform their communities of the benefits and importance of local commerce [ht:cr]. Enter your location on the website to see the calculation for your area.
It’s a very intuitive and straightforward idea, that local purchases keep resources in the community, bolstering the local economy and promoting local economic development. It seems to be something very desirable for community members. Which I why I find it so intriguing that I have never heard any mainstream economist advocate for “buying local” or talk about aspects of local economics (such as farmers’ markets, community development, local currencies). It simply does not seem to fit in to their framework for thinking about “the economy.” All activity is considered either market activity, or government intervention. Economists have managed to vastly underestimate the power of small groups of determined people by leaving the “community” out of the economic analysis.