Michael Shuman is Director of Research and Public Policy for the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies. (BALLE) has more than 70 member communities in North America. Another 50 or so communities are affiliated with the American Independent Business Alliance. Internationally, more than a thousand communities are beginning to undertake similar work through organizations like Transition Towns and Post-Carbon Futures.

1. To set the groundwork for this segment—-When you talk about what it means to be a “local” business-there’s a 2 part distinction to be made here-correct? (ownership and location)

2. To see what a “culture of sustainability” might really look like let’s travel together and pay a visit to Bellingham, Washington-2 hours north of Seattle. What does Bellingham have RIGHT about how to attract and retain global businesses.

3. Let’s talk about the idea of LOCALIZATION & SUSTAINABILITY. Themes include:

  • Non locally owned companies-more difficult to regulate (environment).
  • Local accountability
  • Lower “cost” due to ease of shipping locally

4. The Idea of Prosperity with Localization

  • First, the immobility of local businesses means that economic development efforts focused on them are more likely to produce enduring results.
  • The $13/$45 idea in terms of dollarization within a community.
  • Creative Economies-diversity, fun, socialiation and innovation

5. I wanted to spend some time with you on the subject of capital inflows into local, micro enterprises. What are some of the challenges here and given the local dollar spent ratios—-is their a vision for how we might infuse say stimulus money or otherwise into these businesses?

6. Let’s talk about efficiencies-perhaps a jump off point would be the subject of foods-logistics. What is some of the thinking around finding economies of scale that say a Sysco Foodservice System has verses the matter of shipping smaller quanities within a local market system? How do we get there?

7. Finally, there is the idea of competition. How can local businesses compete with the non-locally owned big boxes? (banding together?) And…can they find a way to coexist with the big guys?

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