– Southgate Star –
About eight months ago, I asked for thoughts on the imagining of two extremes to effectively illustrate the point I was making (that I make all the time).
Considering the way our regional economy works (region meaning our Downriver area) on a daily and ongoing basis, what would things look like and feel like with two opposing hypotheticals being compared.
These concepts are the very core of my visions. It would be fun to do a study of money trails as you point in that trail and try to follow it. It’s too hard, of course, because it’s not like a dollar bill getting marked. Charge and debit cards, checks, and lapsing time all factor in, but theoretically, I think the idea is fun to consider. Money bounces around, in a crazy-quilt way that can stun.
It’s not just the “Where’s George” game; it’s behind the scenes with a purchase made that pays the wages of the people serving the needs of local shoppers.
A suit purchased at my store generates revenue that pays wages for several employees – local residents. They, then, spend some of those wages on spending money for a new snow blower, or a bite to eat, on paying their utility bills – all of which employ other local people, who are paid and then spend. The astounding complexity of this web is astounding if you let it all in. The magnificent beauty of capitalism is almost like magic.
Indeed, it all just seems to happen, automatically, and without any conscious thought, right?
You flick the switch up, the lights go on. Who thinks about that, really? Likewise, who really thinks about how the economy works? As long as things are good, humming along and happy, there is little reason to think about things that feel “above our pay grade.”
I’m sure you know that this is exactly why I write.
We can sense relative prosperity in pockets of our region. Some areas seem hopping; some areas are hurting. We tend to see these things as something beyond our control, or as evidence of good or bad city planning. As a rule, we don’t look at hurting areas and think to ourselves that we can help, and that we will help.
You don’t disagree, do you?
So my comparisons go to the issue of what seems more likely to make for a more bouncy economy around here if given two polar opposite scenarios that you help create:
One features all of the money you spend on an ongoing basis being spend elsewhere. Gassing up happens outside of Downriver. Same for the hiring of a contractor to fix that hole in your wall – he’s from Novi, now. And so on – everything. All food, all clothing, all services including attorneys, money managers, everything.
Think about how rapidly our region would collapse. Stores closed, blight everywhere.In this absurd extreme, the calamity would be instant. Please take a moment and let this roll around in your head, imagining how those bouncing dollars you spend would stop cold.
In this scenario, consider what would happen to the value of your home within minutes. You divert your spending along with everyone else, and your own home value plummets. Is it hard to connect these actions and results?
The other scenario is one in which the exact opposite thing happens. In this case, you (and every single resident in the Downriver area) decides to do a little experiment, wherein every dollar you spend on everything gets spent within our borders. 100 percent. Do you, in this latter scenario, disconnect the impact to your own well-being? Does this region become more desirable to home purchasers that are thinking about where to buy?
Both pictures are too extreme, but they illustrate quite well. Which do you prefer, and then, which do you do? If you say some of both, as most of us do, then you personally could do a lot more for your own sake.
Not for me or any single business. This is a far bigger picture than specific operations within our borders. It is the entire economy.That’s a big idea, bigger that I can get my arms around.
But still, I can “see” these scenarios. Can you?
When you really KNOW that 3½ times more of your spent money remains in your local economy if you buy from locally owned businesses compared to national chains, you then know that your spending choices matter a great deal to your own well-being as well.
Having connected these dots, when you think about the complete elimination (100%) of your dollars from your local economy when you buy on-line, have you done yourself any favors?
I know you get it. So what will you do?