Updated date:

What Can We Do as Individuals to Help the Economy?

Author:
This one again!

This one again!

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.

Comments

kai on March 25, 2012:

the owners of USA knows the truth, it is called the american dream because you have to be sleep to believe in it.

Munish on February 29, 2012:

I like this article and to solve this very problem I have taken an initiative to build an online business called SWOOPRZ.com where people will be able to Buy Sell and Rent almost everything locally! Our effort will be to connect struglling local businesses and people with people around them and help each other. Our company is in the final stages of implementing web based solution. Hopefully there are enough people like you out there who really care about local economy. If you would like to get more information about it check out http://www.swooprz.com

vintageglamour from Toronto on December 17, 2011:

i agree-- i'm absolutely sick of people blaming corporations and the top 1%. The change always has and always will comes from the working class.

People have to make a concious decision to support local businesses and keep the money circluating. It's weird but Louis Ck's youtube video on consumerism and capitalism is an eyeopener

Eric on October 05, 2011:

Is Doable. I slightly support trade tariffs as the "change in approach to ensure that the locals are employed" .. "still afford to buy anything no matter where it is made." That is the part I believe is hard. Labor in other countries is unbelievably cheaper. If we keep buying from other countries it will eventually(long run) drain our national economy until the other countries economy meets or exceeds our economy and the labor rate in a factory or production is globally relatively equal. (ie if a worker in a production line in America makes $10.65/hr and a worker in China makes $10.65/day its clear to place jobs in China, and then ship the product to America.) If two identical products are made in two countries, one cost $12 and other $3, us the American consumer will pick the cheaper (logically).

Back to, "still afford to buy anything no matter where it is made." we can afford it but choose not to. I'd rather people buy from America labor, that is why I think its hard, buy very very doable. "If we have no earnings, how do we support any retailer?" - That is the vicious cycle. Maybe Bail Out the American Worker, haha but we know where that money is going to go.

(Hate to beat a dead horse, but most of that worker bail out would go to spending, which would temp stimulate the economy, but it will be in the same large organizations. Some portion to investing, that those companies are looking to satisfy shareholders via the means we discussed earlier. Some would save, but pre-recession American % of income savings was 0%, while the Chinese was at 50%.

"American Worker Bail-Out" would just delay the inevitable.)

Overall I'd say the change we need is a "thought change" and how we, Americans, view our (Global) economy as a whole, and at slightly over 300+ million people collectively we can greatly harm or build our local economy.

Good article Bozoplay.

V/R

Eric

Stuffy (author) from London on October 05, 2011:

I never intended to suggest it was easy, it is a difficult situation that requires a change in approach to ensure that the locals are employed and can still afford to buy anything no matter where it is made. If we have no earnings, how do we support any retailer?

Eric on October 05, 2011:

This is a good article and while I agree I do not think it is as easily as it sounds. Yes buying locally at small owned business is better than buy locally from Big Wal-Price Marts. Unfortunately we have been trained to save a few pennies/dollars here and there, which is good. The problem is it is nearly impossible for the small business to compete with the National and International Business. We are living and seeing Capitalism at its best. Under the theory of capitalism this is exactly what should happen. Everyone buys from the best, most fit, despite them cutting deals overseas for cheaper labor, material, resources, etc. The idea of "Free Market" is slowly and quickly ending. Think about it, you see commercials for Coke, Wal-Mart, Geico, etc all the time. Its almost unnecessary for them. I went to a football game to see every advertisement by major Top 500 companies, as a small business owner in the sports industry, advertisement at the game would have been great, but the price is way to high. My point is that the large companies are so big they can afford to buy up all the advertisement space, thus driving up the cost, to keep small business from gaining any market share. Ideally under Capitalism this is great and in the event a small company does start gaining ground, you buy them out. I agree with your article and believe we should limit out imports (tax them). Make large corps (like Wal-Mart) pay more to import their products from China into America so they are forced to be competitive with local/America based business. While prices may increase slightly, more jobs will be created as now if Mega-Marts want to sell their products cheaply in America, they have to be MADE IN AMERICA, by Americans.

Person [However Republicans do not seem to like the idea of laissez faire (the government being able to have a hand in the economy)....Just a thought]

God Bless America.

lucas on September 03, 2011:

Like someone said, a good percentage of residents of the US are low income and are financially unable to support local business. we keep signing deals with foreign countries to export goods to us which is a win win fail practically. it helps our foreign neighbors , it provides a bit of market for us, but does not stimulate our economy very much at all. you cant count on low income residents to afford local market all because we get a good percentage of our crap from china, but the thing is, if we call of these deals, our econamy goes bankrupt and fails. believe it or not raising taxes is a gamble, it keeps america on ok standing until we stimulate the econamy, but are we? Keep buying crap from china, see what happens.

poetvix from Gone from Texas but still in the south. Surrounded by God's country. on August 22, 2011:

This is great. It's practical, useful, and totally doable! I really like the idea of our dollars staying at home where they are needed.

Dave on May 23, 2011:

Unfortunately where I live people are lazy and don't want to work, so those without a job can't buy their way out of a wet paper bag.

fbetancourt on December 15, 2010:

Great article. Thanks for the insight.

Rickturban from Kandahar Pass on April 28, 2010:

buying local isn't always financially viable especially for those living on the poverty line, but in principle yes i agree. More money into local businesses and people helps drive production, manufacturing and ultimately employment and tax revenues.

econpost on April 19, 2010:

Best thing to do is shop. US economy is driven by the consumer. But unfortunately consumer feels a bit poor these days. But once the jobs situation improves we should be fine.

The Real Tomato on March 14, 2009:

Bullseye! Excellent info Bozoplay and it came from your gut. I am a fan, officially and unofficially. Thanks for picking up this request.

Related Articles