The most drastic alternative to free trade, popular on the green wing of the global justice movement, is localisation. Localisation means that: “everything that can be produced locally should be produced locally”.
According to Australian green Gary Buckman, the localisation school “generally sees global trade as an inherently destructive economic force and believes that the only way poor nations will get any richer is through less trade, not more”.
Proponents of localisation such as Colin Hines argue that reducing the volume of international trade would give nations both economic and political autonomy and prevent the damage done to the environment.
Localisation policies include:
• Abolish the IMF/World Bank;
• Abolish the WTO and create a World Localisation Organisation;
• Local investment and local business ownership – “site-here-and-sell-here”;
• Capital market regulation;
• Regulation of multinational corporations.
But localisation would lead to a situation where the world consists of lots of highly disconnected economies and also lots of highly disconnected, even despotic governments.
Localisation would mean a freezing of technology transfer, leaving poor countries that have not developed manufacturing industries to wallow in backwardness.
The problem with localisation is that it would trap the poorest economies in their current subordinate relationship to the rest of the world, and would require a whole new coercive apparatus to impose it. It is a backward looking and “reactionary reformism”.