I had a chance this weekend to read a couple of wonderful articles in Yes! Magazine. Essentially the jist of these articles was that, yes, times are tough and the economic crisis has affected everyone one of us, but we can choose to see this crisis as a gift; a chance to start now to restructure our economy instead of waiting until oil runs out and the Earth is in shambles to begin this inevitable restructuring.
I really would encourage all of you to peruse their website and read the articles for yourself. Contrary to what one might think, they were actually inspiring. That we can, with a little creativity and alot of effort, create intentional, supportive and sustainable local economies that will help insulate us from the ups and downs of far-flung markets, is an idea who’s time has definitely come. As I read through several of these articles, I began thinking about myself and my little slice of this economic pie and how I might begin to create a stronger local economy.
For those people who know me and know my family, we do feel that the most important vote we make is not the one that happens every four years, but the one that we make every day, with every dollar we spend. We do our best to support local farmers, artisans and merchants, knowing that when we spend our money with them, opposed to a large-chain store, our money stays in our local community alot longer. And to a certain extent, we have a better idea where that money goes & what it supports. If I shop with Big Box store, their profits might get invested in companies that willfully poison our environment or support weapson manufacture, etc. I certainly wouldn’t give my money knowingly to such companies, so why would I give it to someone else to give to them?
As I thought about this a little further, I thought more about my chiropractic practice and the choices I have made regarding how I accept payment for services. Currently, my patients pay cash at the time services are rendered. Mnay people don’t understand why I am not in network with the local insurance providers. First and foremost, I firmly believe that I can give my patients better care this way. But another advantage of working this way is that it keeps more money in our community. You support a local business, I support a local business. And by extension more of your money stays here in our community instead in the portfolio of some mega-insurance company based out of who-knows where.
Now, I am not suggesting that everyone should get rid of their health insurance altogether because it might support pollution or violence. Health insurance, like any insurance, can be a life-saver (pardon the pun) should you be in an accident or develop a serious life-threatening disease like cancer. But when is comes down to the care we use to support the everyday maintainence and function of our bodies, I am suggesting that to the extent that we can, we should make other decisions about who or whom is supported by our money.
So the next time you see a sign that says “shop local,” I hope you not only think of buying good & services locally, but also of paying for them locally too.
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