Localization

A Global Manifesto

Posted: 8 May 2002

Author: Colin Hines

Author Info: Earthscan, London, June 2000, £10.99

Globalization is not inevitable. Localization is a better alternative. This is the book's message. "Politicians and business leaders tell us that globalization is inevitable", says Colin Hines, "but the consequences of globalization undermine local livelihoods, social fabric and spoil the environment".

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In a passionate polemic, Hines, a fellow of the International Forum on Globalization, shows how strong the case is against globalization, which he describes as "economic, social and environmental nonsense. It is a beggar-you-neighbour act of economic warfare".

He puts forward the alternative of localization - "that everything that could be produced within a nation or a region should be". Hines wants policies that discriminate in favour of local people and provide a framework that allows people, community groups and businesses to have a real say in how their local economies develop. Localization, he says, is something that is done by people, "not something done to them".

A weakness of the book is that few links are made to poverty - the subject is only mentioned twice. It would have been useful to have seen some discussion of localization and poverty reduction.

The arguments in Localization: A Global Manifesto will provide ammunition for those who want to maintain the integrity of local cultures in face of the juggernaut of a global economy dominated by the interests of transnational business. Vandana Shiva says in a commendation, that the book's "localization" programme "provides a vital starting point for an alternative to globalization that's the world's poor and the global environment so desperately need".

Reviewer: John Madeley

Reviewer Info: John Madeley is a writer and broadcaster specialising in trade and sustainable agriculture.