McLibel, globalisation and independent retailers

Good to see the McLibel film on the SBS network last night.

Good not only because of the story itself – a long running defamation case brought by McDonalds against Helen Steel and Dave Morris about flyers they were handing out – but because of the questions it raises about giant global businesses and their value for communities.

While McDonalds is the key focus of campaigns at places like McSpotlight.org, independent retailers should be leveraging their customer traffic with their own united global message about the importance of independent businesses on social, economic and cultural grounds.

This is like the anti smoking campaigns of the 60s and even the 70s. People don’t understand and we’re not doing a good job in getting our message out there. The world may not realise that it does not want a cloned retail landscape until it is too late.

Independent retailers ought to be spearheading this campaign and doing so aggressively. This is survival we’re talking about. Too many small businesses are closing and with each closing we lose a bit more of our local differences. I want to be able to buy eight different types of potatoes. Companies like McDonalds and their buying power make this less likely.

Global businesses are bad for jobs, bad for culture, bad for prices and bad for small economies.

Local businesses support community and culture. They hire locally. Profits are spent locally.

I care because my software company serves only independent retailers. It’s a choice I made 24 years ago and one I am proud of today.

It begins with us. We need to support local businesses above national and global businesses – with mission like zeal.

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