The occupy Wall Street movement, mainly consisting of protestors in New York City’s financial district, has been active for about a month now. In the last two weeks the movement has spread to other cities across the nation as people take to streets protesting corporate greed, bank bailouts, high executive compensation, poor job outlook, and a slew of other causes that they feel are the reason for the economic malaise we are suffering.
I think the Occupy movement is a great idea and it’s focusing attention on some very endemic problems in our country and economy. But as with all other protest movements, what can we do at a grass roots level to build and grow out of this slump that has put the nation into a funk going on three years now? Instead of occupying Wall Street, we need to focus our attention at occupying Main Street.
When I say Occupy Main Street, I don’t mean taking to the streets and camping out in the city square until the tide turns. But instead focusing our money and attention locally. As the Civic Economics study found in 2008, for every dollar that is spent locally, 68 cents stays and circulates in the local economy. Instead of sending our money upstream to the 1%, we need to build and grow by investing with the 99%. That means picking locally owned businesses over the chain stores, buying our food from local producers, and banking at community banks or credit unions. In fact, if every American just diverted $10 a month towards locally produced and American Made products, we can create up to 100,000 new jobs nationwide.
Make a conscious decision to support our local economy and shopping local by supporting our locally owned and independent businesses. If we band together, the Wall Street crowd will get the message.