Never Wonder About “Buy Local” Again

Thank you so much to Drs. George Selgin and Tm Harford. They have put the nonsense of the “buy local” mantra into terms almost anyone can understand.

Here it is in a nutshell.

When country A enacts a blockade or economic sanctions against country B, does country B become more prosperous or less? Does country B thank country A for the good fortune of being forced to “buy local,” or does it claim that country A has committed an act of war?

Free Banking – The Folly that is “Local” Currency: “More importantly, the object that the local currency movement would achieve if it could—that of of “keeping trade within the community”–is, like all forms of protectionism, a highly dubious one: As Tim Harford succinctly puts it, “the gains from more trade with locals are more than offset by the losses from less trade with strangers. Otherwise economic sanctions would be a blessing.” (Try telling a Palestinian or Cuban about the virtues of “buying local”!)”


  • Iamreddave

    As Russ Roberts said “we tried the local food movement, it was called the middle ages”

  • Johann Quassowski

    True, true. The benefits of buying local are definitly NOT of a straight-forward economic nature. However, there might be other “secondary benefits” that make in worthwhile: local pride (makes you feel good), a story for tourism (good marketing), increasing local collaboration and synergies (good, if there was previously a lack of that)…

  • Anonymous

    There are reasonable arguments against “buying local.”  The current environmental conditions in Texas could be cited as one of them. Without healthy trade channels the people of Texas, a state as large as many nations, would be staring starvation in the face right now. 

    The cited Palestinian and Cuban examples are facetious. The West Bank and Gaza are effectively concentration camps where a surrounding military destroys the means of production inside the walls. Cuba, while faced with a strong economic embargo, still has verifiably better living conditions for it’s average citizens than Haiti, Jamaica, Guatemala, Honduras or El Salvador. 

    Pretty much lame argumentation all around. What I expect from economists.