Given below is an extract from the concept note by Helena Norberg-Hodge for the Conference on Economics for Happiness to be held at Bangalore on 15th March 2014
Since globalisation is at the root of so many problems, localisation — a shift away from the global and towards the local — is an obvious part of the solution. The central principles of localisation • Localisation is the diversification and decentralisation of economic activity. • Localisation strengthens human-scale business — especially for basic needs such as food, water, and energy, but also in housing, banking and healthcare. • Localisation relies more on human labour and skill and depends less on energy and technology. • Localisation requires less transportation, less packaging, and less processing, thereby reducing waste, pollution and fossil fuel use. • Localisation adapts economic activity to the diversity of ecosystems, restoring cultural and biological diversity. • Localisation fosters a deeper connection between people and nature. • Localisation rebuilds social interdependence and cohesion, providing a more secure sense of identity and belonging, which in turn is a prerequisite for peaceful coexistence. • Localisation challenges conventional notions of international development, instead reclaiming and regenerating diverse knowledge systems, languages, aesthetics and wisdom traditions. Global to local policy changes: • The renegotiation of international trade treaties, this time putting local needs first. • A shift in taxes and subsidies that currently favor the large and multinational. • A re-direction of public investments in infrastructure focussing on the needs of local economies. • Government control and regulation of the creation of money and debt, which now widens the gap between rich and poor. At the grassroots, a powerful localisation movement is emerging worldwide. India itself has a rich history of innovation and activism. Here and elsewhere, the localisation movement is showing that strengthening community and the local economy can undo many of the problems created by the mad rush towards globalisation. We believe that in particular the local food movement as well as various other initiatives (see page 30) can gain strength by forging alliances under the localisation banner. Together, we can build a movement that will challenge the might of the mega-corporations and bring the economy back home. Some of the initiatives under the Localisation banner that are already underway around the world, include the Transition Towns movement, Local Banking, Eco-villages, Gift Economies, School Gardens and Biodiversity Economics. The Annual Conference on the Economics of Happiness The conference on Economics of Happiness was held in Berkeley, US, in 2012 and in Australia in 2013. The 2014 conference will be held at Bangalore, India and again, will be a space to listen to inspiring speakers and participate in workshops and discussions that explore the impacts of the global economy as well as Localisation - an obvious part of the solution.