This zine is an exploration into the ways in which “localism” is used to gloss over the negative aspects of contemporary capitalism. Most often, this is seen in the gentrification that is taking place in many mid to large-sized cities in the United States where boutique shops, breweries, and bistros are proliferating as part of a new “local” economy.
Capitalism and the Mystique of the Local
The ambiguous feel-good concept of localism is used to cover up not just real economic disparities, but to deflect against any criticism. A new development cannot be criticized because it’s a locally-operated green building run by a non-profit, a restaurant serving locally-grown food isn’t perpetuating gentrification because it’s not a corporate chain, and a handmade-goods boutique store isn’t gentrifying a neighborhood because its owners see it as somehow “making a difference”. Localism is about putting a friendly face on capitalism and hiding the inequalities within it.
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