Creating and supporting a local economy here in Ashland will make us a strong, resilient community that can weather national and global recessions and market shocks, natural disasters and other challenges.
What’s wrong with going to Route 9 to do my shopping? It has everything I need.
Imagine gas prices go up to $10 a gallon. Wouldn’t it be great if you could buy everything you need here in Ashland where the drive would be short or you could even walk or bike? But what if, if that time ever comes, the businesses you need are not here in Ashland because we have been supporting other towns’, states’ and even other countries’ economies by buying outside our town? Supporting your local merchants and service providers means you are supporting your neighbors and our way of life. Having a thriving local economy benefits us all.
Are you saying we should only buy local?
Whenever you can, try to. The more you spend at the small businesses here in town, the more benefit the money has for the community. If you see that there is not a type of business you want to see in town, consider starting it yourself.
Wouldn’t a Time Bank detract from area businesses?
That is not likely. Most people who need landscaping done, hire a landscaper. Those who can’t afford to might try something like a Time Bank. The New Economics Institute believes Time Banks are a great way to keep the economy moving in times of stress because work is getting done which allows other paid work to get done as well. If parts of the economy shut down, then the whole thing can come to a grinding halt.
What difference does a local currency make on our town’s economy?
If you have local currency that is only accepted by local stores, you can only shop at those businesses using that currency. If you want to shop on Route 9, you will have to use the regular ol’ dollar. By having two currencies, you become more aware of money leaving the town.
Say you shop at Lowes. Lowes is based in North Carolina so much of the profit is leaving the state. Lowes is not likely to take local currency so you become aware that your money would go further in the Ashland Economy if you shopped at Ashland Lumber or next door in Framingham at Monnick. Local currency works particularly well when you have an area of locally made products for sale. See this article about the BerkShares program http://www.berkshares.org/press/16dec2006.htm
But we don’t have many locally made products so how would a local currency help?
We have over 600 businesses in town that could benefit from a local currency encouraging people to be more thoughtful about how they spend their money. As the local currency grows, more locally made products will result.
We are a Global Society now with a Global Economy so how is this relevant to our times?
A Global Economy has many benefits but it also makes us vulnerable. We can still participate in the Global Economy while supporting the local economy. As the price of fossil fuels goes up and the need to not burn those fuels in order to avoid catastrophic Climate Change, buying products made in China will no longer be affordable and perhaps not even possible. It makes sense to strengthen our local economy now so it will be strong when we need it most. Supporting your local economy has many fringe benefits such as shorter distances saving you time and gas, impromptu social opportunities that strengthen community, knowing where and sometimes how something was grown or made, etc.