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Helena Norberg Speaks about Local Economies at Lulu's Cafe Mullumbimby

Helena Norberg Speaks about Local Economies  at Lulu's Cafe Mullumbimby

On Friday 28th March, Helena Norberg Hodge addressed a gathering at Lulu's Cafe' in Mullumbimby, on the subject of monopolies and small communities. She said, that large corporate monopolies are destroying local economies worldwide. Here are some of the main points from from her speech.

'Very often we are led to believe that if we buy bananas from the Philippines, or our oranges from African countries that we are helping the oor farmers there.'     'In reality, poor farmers around the world are being destroyed. Just in the last year about one hundred thousand Indian farmers have committed suicide. This concentration in the hands of  a few large corporations is a disaster for small producers as well as small retailers. We are seeing a very rapid  movement towards global monopolies. The end result is also a huge increase in CO2 emissions. Right now in the face of global warming, we need to strengthen our local economies. We need to shorten the distance that food travels.

Here in Mullumbimby, we are working to establish farmers markets, and have shops that stock produce from this region. In this way we can dramatically reduce our co2 emissions and global warming. By doing this we also increase the prosperity in the local community. When we spend our money in local shops, especially for food that is grown in the local region, we circulate the wealth in the local economy, and at the same time dramatically reduce pollution and transport, as well as increasing the prosperity of the local community. This is a win-win situation. This is also a strategy for other countries as well. Especially third world countries.

At present in Australia, to have 80 percent of food retailing controlled by Woolworths and Coles, means we are effectively controlled by monopolies. As these monopolies get even bigger, we are talking about moving in the direction of Walmart in the USA.

helena norberg hodge speaks at lulus cafe  mullumbimby about global monopolies At present in the USA, Walmart is faced with huge opposition from communities all across the country, because they have seen that it kills off the spirit and the life of small towns. They have seen their small towns die, and they have seen their small producers going under in larger and larger numbers. There is a real wakeup going on, fuelled by the levels of pollution, and the realisation that their towns are being impoverished. This is why, world-wide, there is a growing movement towards strengthening  local economies, and to resist this type of development by large monopolies.

This is not meant to be an attack on anyone who works in these businesses or those who shop there, it is simply a recognition that this type of development is not in the spirit of either free enterprise or a real free market or sustainability.

Finally I would like to say that in the light of global warming and dwindling oil supplies, we need to think urgently to reduce our ecological  footprint and strengthening  the local economy.

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