Global FIRE… Local GEM Globalization versus Economic and Social Localization

Fred Irwin: Globalization is a result of cheap energy and corporate capitalism chasing the lowest cost of labour wherever it is anywhere on the globe ..all with the bulk of the reward (profit) going to the already rich. The already rich are invested in the Global FIRE sector which drives the entire global economy. What we aren’t yet prepared to face is that globalization of our economics has also globalized much of our social capital, social localism and sense of place and identity. That is the struggle we face as a community in the face of the Climate Crisis.

Returning to the economy as the driver of change …there is no such thing as a Free Competitive Market ..there are a bunch of rules and policies made with governments, the FIRE lobby, and Trade deals that have locked in the advantage that globalization has over local economies. The FIRE acronym stands for Finance, including the privatized banking system that creates all our money avowing the monetization of just about everything on earth, and Insurance and Real Estate.

That’s where our money is..including the money of the well off folks who live in Peterborough. Very little of the capital accumulation of Peterborough residents remains here to re-circulate in the local economy creating new wealth and creating new local sustainable jobs. We need to tap into that local wealth to give the needed boost to localize much more of our economy. The trick is to design attractive
investment infrastructure to support economic localization. Putting it rather bluntly there are a fair number of well off people living in the GPA but many of them are not invested here …their capital is invested in the global economy.
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In Peterborough the FIRE economy is very small, certainly compared to Toronto, the so called financial capital of Canada. The Real Estate portion of the FIRE economy is far larger in importance in Toronto as compared to Peterborough. Torontonians are far more interested in the bursting of the Real Estate Bubble than they are the Carbon Bubble.

The largest employment sector and likely the largest economic driver in Peterborough is the GEM Sector which stands for Government Education and Medical. With out this sector Peterborough would be well on its way to becoming a hollowed out bedroom community and a place to retire too, after years of hard work in the big city.

The opportunity for Peterborough comes down to how do we keep more of the money generated here re-circulaing through investment and spending in our community for the security, happiness and well being of local citizens. In financial language how do we build Economic Localization Infrastructure that potentially localizes half our economy leading with life essentials food, water, energy, wellness, and culture… indeed the mission of Transition Town Peterborough.

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