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= producing closer to the home of individuals and communities

Concept should be understood in the context as a reaction to Globalization which distances production and consumption.


"Localization may describe production of goods nearer to end users to reduce environmental and other external costs of globalization.

Relocalization” is “…a strategy to build societies based on the local production of food, energy and goods, and the local development of currency, governance and culture. The main goals of Relocalization are to increase community energy security, to strengthen local economies, and to dramatically improve environmental conditions and social equity.” (http://www.relocalize.net/)

Another way to consider localization is to see it as the shrinkage of distance between the point of production and the point of utilization or consumption. It is the conversion of bits and bytes into material form as close as possible to where that form will be used. In contrast, globalization is the virtualization of experience, knowledge, and innovation so that intellectual property created can travel from anywhere to anywhere quickly, easily, at minimal cost." (http://www.newmediaexplorer.org/steve_bosserman/2007/07/06/the_case_for_localization.htm)

Steve Bosserman sees Localization occuring in four key domains:

1) affordable / green construction, 2) 100-mile agricultural production, 3) renewable / distributed energy generation 4) community governance / capacity building.


Steve Bosserman on how to we get there

Steve Bosserman [1]:

"Of course, one can look at the world today and effortlessly conclude that neither of these is current reality. We take advantage of low-cost skilled labor to manufacture in different countries only to move parts, components, modules, and whole goods vast distances to reach the place of final assembly or sale. Quite obviously, we produce far from the point of use in many instances.

So what will change this? It is a matter of impetus. Concern about continuation of the fossil fuel economy is one such prompt. There are those who support the contention that the fossil fuel economy is unsustainable due to depletion of reserves, especially oil. Still others claim that regardless of how much fossil fuel there is our consumption of it adversely impacts the environment resulting in severe consequences over time. And there are those who maintain that the political ramifications of buying fossil fuel from countries whose governments adhere to a different moral framework are not advantageous. These are certainly powerful factors directed toward changing current business models and social dynamics.

However, another deciding factor is technology and how people appropriate it. As technology continues to get smaller, faster, stronger, more embedded, and more intelligent it facilitates localization. At one time high capital investment costs and the resultant economies of scale prompted centralization and regionalization to amortize these investments. Now, rapid technological advances are placing increased integration, capability, and capacity in more compact and powerful packages. This scales the costs and complexities downward at a propitious rate. And it leads to very innovative applications that change how we live, what we do, and how we do it.

Societies also change when their members are introduced to these technologies and latitude is given for people to experiment with them in their local context. Working with various technologies and their local applications increases the number of people who are “domain experts” in the solutions that arise. Such domain expertise accelerates the rate of application successes with local markets." (http://www.newmediaexplorer.org/steve_bosserman/2007/07/06/the_case_for_localization.htm)


Neil Gershenfeld:

"...if globalization gets replaced by localization. The result would be revolution that contains, rather than replaces, all of the prior revolutions. Industrial production would merge with personal expression, which would merge with digital design, to bring common sense and sensibility to creation and application of advanced technologies. Just as accumulated experience has found democracy to work better than monarchy, this would be a future based on widespread access to the means for invention rather than one based on technocracy." (http://www.agroblogger.com/tag/appropriate-technology)

More Information

See our entry on the Law of Locality

Key Book to Read

Localization: A Global Manifesto. Colin Hines. Earthscan, 2000

Going Local. Michael Shuman.