Growing up as a teenager in the 90s, I remember this one particular store in the mall that featured cool things from around the world, all set to the soundtrack of sounds panning the Amazon to India. Global was in. The rainforest needed, the Peace Corps was likely in the future of more than one of my friends. Fast forward to 2015 and we love everything local. Forget about the next town over, if it wasn’t made within a few miles, we don’t want it, and we’re willing to pay a premium for it. We don’t want artisanal crafts from South America anymore – we want handmade soaps from our neighbors.
Globalization isn’t a new topic, nor is the idea that we’re obsessed with local. The world constantly changes, though, and I’ve found myself revisiting this topic recently. Particularly, I’ve found myself wondering it the two could ever live harmoniously, or if they’re somehow opposed. Does loving local mean that we care less about our global neighbors in Africa, or is there enough love to go around? Even more deep, perhaps, is “loving local” just another form of globalization – a realization of the uniqueness of each place, starting with the one in which we live?
The upcoming election cycle, with heightened talks of immigration politics, has brought this into a new light for me. Historically, my views on immigration have been pretty widespread, and I’ve recently realized that where I fall on the topic tends to revolve around my whether I take a local or global view toward society. If we live in a local society, giving preference to where we live, it would make sense that we would want to “take care of our own” before extending opportunity outside our borders. On the other hand, if we’re globally focused, we’d consider everyone on the planet our neighbors, and support those in need of a better life coming into our society to take part.
I’m not sure where I stand, but at least I know some of the questions I’ll be asking myself over the coming months as the presidential race continues.