Do you bank locally? When I give talks, I usually ask the audience this question and most hands instantly pop up. (This would not be true for the U.S. population generally, but those who come to learn about localization are naturally predisposed to putting their money in local financial institutions.) I then ask how many have pension funds. Almost every adult pays something into Social Security, but most think only about private pensions, so about half the hands appear. Then I ask how many of their fund managers are investing in locally owned business. Usually, only one or two hands are left up, and I must explain to these well-intentioned souls that, most likely, they are mistaken.

Although place-based businesses in the United ...

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