What Can We Do as Individuals to Help the Economy?
Are You Incredibly Rich?
Undoubtedly one individual could have an impact on the world economy but that individual would have to be at least the richest person in the world and then spend large quantities of money freely. The rich individuals and businesses are just sitting on their money because they can't seem to find ways to make it grow. So sitting on the money means it shrinks less.
But that doesn't mean we as individuals are totally at a loss in doing something about the economy. As a group we drive something called consumer spending and we aren't doing too much of that because we don't have a whole lot of extra money to go around after paying for essentials.
One of the keys is how you spend your money to help local economies get healthier and stay in business. Consumer spending leads to more demand, which means more production, which means more jobs and investment, which means the government gets more tax revenue that can be turned back into the economy.
Although it is difficult avoid spending it on something that boosts a foreign economy. Buying clothes that are made in China, computers that are made there as well and foodstuffs that come from countries other than our own do not help the job picture locally other than for a few distributors and big retailers. Start shopping at your local mid-size owner operated retailer. But we won't and they go out of business on a regular basis.
We keep going to big box outlets who buy their stuff offshore an awful lot. So at least buy products that are made in your country. Read the labels. If you don't live in China, put the product that is made in China back on the shelf if you have an alternate product selection made domestically. So you need to buy cars that are built in your country by manufacturers that employ people locally. Those people will buy from local businesses and they will survive. Until everybody stops chasing the "bargain" and recognizes that most bargains end up destroying local economies nothing will change.
Buying on credit is not the answer either. We all need to reduce our individual debt before we can't even afford the interest payments. So NOT living within your means is already happening everywhere because few have growing incomes and secure jobs.
The answer to our economy is in the hands of big business and government which are the other two components of the economic formula C + I + G = GNP. They have to give us a reason to spend our money and they have to get more money in our hands some how. That means business needs to hire people and government needs to spend money on local things and not somewhere in the middle of a foreign jungle. It's not a simple task but you can start by reading the label and refusing to buy anything that doesn't help your local economy grow.
Buy honey from the local beekeeper, vegetables from your local farms, meat from locally supplied farms, electronic things that are made in your country (not offshore), beer, wine and liquor that are bottled locally. They are small steps but they are the right steps. If we continue to buy the cheapest product from somewhere else, we will not be able to afford the increasing freight costs to bring them here to put in stores that will close due to lack of demand.
Vacations and holidays should be local. Support your own state or province first. Spend your hard earned money on something that will result in the person taking that money and spending it right in your own neighborhood. If you have a local manufacturer of anything in your town or city, buy their product first because they employ your neighbors.
Does it remind you of anything at all? It's how any country gets started when new people arrive to start a new economy. Ours is in desperate need of a kick-start and shopping and sourcing locally can only help.
Originally written in 2009 and still stands up today in 2018
Well that is my opinion anyway and I did some of the things I suggested. I couldn't find much that wasn't made in China but some is and unfortunately some of the goods coming from China are very good quality but I still don't see how in the long run they can stay cheaper with the cost of transportation growing all the time.
I am going to be starting my own local promotional program called "Stuffy Recommends" and it will be based on personal experiences of dealings with local businesses that also excel in customer service so it is a two pronged approach to helping the economy. One is a local pub that serves great food and the folks are all great there, even most of the customers. Another is a local fishing tackle shop that was recommended by a total stranger in another shop that I use for my cellphone service provider and it is more about the staff member there than the company she represents. Another is a music equipment supply store that is 2 hours away and all of my recent dealings have been via telephone or mostly emails but the track record of doing business 35 years ago is still there and the website is like visiting the store even though they moved to a larger location.
My local neighbourhood is starting to feel like a small town to me now and it only took 7 years for me to figure out how to use it. I am pretty slow sometimes but I'm on the right track now.