Roslyn Argall – Is Local Really Lekker?
The phrase – “Local is Lekker” has been coined by those encouraging local purchases. But is it really the best option for us? Let’s find out. While international products are sometimes necessary, maybe even advantageous, there are distinct advantages for a consumer choosing to spend their hard-earned cash locally.
International products are, on the whole, homogenous ‘umbrella solutions’, produced to suit a larger spectrum of situations and customers in order to keep costs down and profits meaningful. South African products tend to be tailored to meet the unique challenges that are faced in the local economic sectors in a way that international products simply cannot compete with.
When an economy imports more goods and services than it exports it means more money is leaving the country than entering it- a trade deficit. Not only is this bad news for the country’s finances as a whole, but it makes the economy far more vulnerable to external and global economic shocks and changes, such as exchange rates and the price of oil. An economy that fosters a culture of buying and supporting local suppliers and products is much more resilient against international events and pressures.
In addition to the obvious perk of local support with an understanding of the South African context, consumer laws, etc., local products demand accountability from manufacturers and vendors. Far from being a faceless cyber-enterprise, they provide the opportunity for a face-to-face encounter.
As Michael H. Shuman puts it, “Going local does not mean walling off the outside world. It means nurturing locally owned businesses, employing local workers at decent wages and serving primarily local consumers… becoming more self-sufficient and less dependent on imports. Control moves back into the community where it belongs.”
When consumers spend their money on local products, money and wealth stay in the community. Wages and suppliers are paid with that money and the profits are put to use locally, contributing to an economy that will come full circle, resulting in more cash to spend on the products. Ultimately, the economy is enriched.
A local economy that is full of small businesses is wonderful for the South African consumer. It ensures that the marketplace is robust, that innovation is constantly occurring and that South Africans are provided with choice when it comes to their purchase decisions. In the long term, this healthy competition leads to lower prices and breeds a culture of entrepreneurship that boosts the economy overall. This vibrant marketplace will be achieved when South African consumers and businesses choose to support local firms and products.
There is no denying it. Buying local goods and services is an integral part of developing a strong and stable local economy. Let’s support local enterprise and make South Africa great, together!
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