The Value of Community Trade and Exchanges

In the United States there are increasing struggles with human connection, we can see it in our problems and our inability to solve them as well as in the data. Social media, cellphones, and the divisiveness we see across media all help keep us divided, meanwhile our economy is seeing rapid inflation. One way to fight both of these without much necessary intervention is invigorating our local economies.

It’s a simple and partial approach, but working with, buying, selling, and trading with your neighbors is a way to increase interaction, save and make money, and provide alternatives to major retailers who may not benefit the area or country as much. Everything from yard sales and farmers markets to contractual agreements and handshake deals amongst neighbors could bring back some of the human connection we’re lacking and fatten our wallets as well.

Locals Helping Locals

A little human will power and ingenuity goes a long way. Having each other is valuable beyond an intrinsic level. When connected, maybe even organized, neighbors can help each other raise their social and financial standing.

Less Reliance on Global Economy

Keeping ourselves connected in the global sense is important as well. The benefits of learning from and being connected to other cultures is real. However, we’ve come far enough that we don’t need to think of that as primarily through physical trade. 

Reducing the reliance on global trade, simply by buying a higher portion of things second-hand or from a local source or producer will help eliminate pollution, keep money in the community rather than with companies and outsourced manufacturing, and in some cases return higher quality and long term value.

Benefiting the Environment

When it comes to greenhouse gas emissions, shipping accounts for about 3% of the world’s output every year, or about 6th in the world if it were a country. That of course doesn’t even start to account for the impact on the water. Growing more food, manufacturing more, and thus buying more food and products, locally, could help reduce the supposed need for much of that.

Networking with Neighbors

The world as it stands today, especially in business, is very focused on networking. Unfortunately, most of those networks aren’t very tight knit. Facebook and Instagram friends can’t be depended on to be there for you and there’s an understood exchange to LinkedIn. Even if they could be depended on, they couldn’t replace a warm smile, the gift of food, or someone that’s actually present to lean on. 

Working with your neighbors, officially, as a helping hand, or just in the day-to-day, can give you those bonds and increase the strength of your network overall when added to the greater, less tight network of long distance and strictly professional connections.

Volunteer, Organize, and Be Open

Taking these concepts from wishful thinking, to concrete ways to build on your life and those around you are big steps, but not complicated ones. By working together, we can help take time and cost out of our goals and ambitions. Offering our own time and resources to those in need or those trying to fulfill their needs in our own community, will make us more efficient as a whole and can help build up our homes and businesses faster. As we’ve seen in our past, those interactions will bring back some of the connection we’ve lost as well.

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