Localist Movements in a Global Economy: Sustainability, Justice, and Urban Development in the United States

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MIT Press, 2009 - Business & Economics - 323 pages
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The internationalization of economies and other changes that accompany globalizationhave brought about a paradoxical reemergence of the local. A significant but largely unstudiedaspect of new local-global relationships is the growth of "localist movements," efforts toreclaim economic and political sovereignty for metropolitan and other subnational regions. InLocalist Movements in a Global Economy, David Hess offers an overview of localism in the UnitedStates and assesses its potential to address pressing global problems of social justice andenvironmental sustainability. Since the 1990s, more than 100 local business organizations haveformed in the United States, and there are growing efforts to build local ownership in the retail,food, energy, transportation, and media industries. In this first social science study of localism,Hess adopts an interdisciplinary approach that combines theoretical reflection, empirical research,and policy analysis. His perspective is not that of the uncritical localist advocate; he draws onhis new empirical research to assess the extent to which localist policies can addresssustainability and justice issues. After a theoretical discussion of sustainability, the globalcorporate economy, and economic development, Hess looks at four specific forms of localism:"buy local" campaigns; urban agriculture; local ownership of electricity andtransportation; and alternative and community media. Hess examines "globallocalism"--transnational local-to-local supply chains--and other economic policies andfinancial instruments that would create an alternative economic structure. Localism is not a panaceafor globalization, he concludes, but a crucial ingredient in projects to build more democratic,just, and sustainable politics.

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1 Global Problems and Localist Solutions
2 Economic Development and Localist Knowledge
3 Can Localism Be Just and Sustainable?
4 The Politics of Local Retailing
5 The Challenges of Urban Agriculture
6 Local Energy and the Public Sector
7 Localism and the Media
8 Policies for an Alternative Economy
Urban and Industrial Environments

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About the author (2009)

David J. Hess is Professor of Science and Technology Studies and Director of the Program in Ecological Economics, Values, and Policy at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He is the author of Alternative Pathways in Science and Industry (MIT Press, 2007) and many other books.

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