Mainly Local

One of the more unusual aspects of our world is the way that there is such a great focus on that which is local. Once upon a time, a great deal of gardening and growing crops was local because the choices were less than pleasant about long-term trade of most products. Aside from prestige products that were worth a lot of money, most products were too expensive to ship very far and so local food supplies had to suffice for everything aside from either emergency staples or spices and luxury goods. Of course, at the present time the cheap cost of transportation and the ease of preservation makes it easy and cost-effective to ship all kinds of goods all over the world. This is, indeed, one of the hallmarks of our civilization, the intensification of global trade even beyond the levels that had been managed in free-trade-friendly regimes of historical past (be they 19th century British Empires, 13th century Mongol empires, and the like).

One of the more notable aspects of human civilization is the tendency for people to want to do things differently than the way they are usually done. Where people get tanned in the sun as a result of peasant labor in the fields, it is especially prized for people to have light skin that shows a life of ease. Where people are skinny as a result of grinding labor, those who have bulk are prized as having the obvious signs of affluence. Where food supplies are plentiful and the ordinary size increases, it becomes treasured to be slender, and thus different than the norm, as is the case with the value of tans when most people work inside under the florescent lights of office work. It is not the intrinsic value of a quality that matters so much, but rather the fact that it is different and that it distinguishes a smaller elite class from the common herd that matters, and so it is in an age of global trade that some people appreciate local and homegrown food and gardening that would not have been paid attention to in previous ages where that was the normal practice to appreciate.

We can thus see that the current love of local and native things by hipsters is based on their being unusual and that the various justifications for it otherwise are simply self-serving justifications to deny the focus on being different. Thus if local plants and locovore dining practices became more commonly appreciated by the general public they would be less appreciated by hipsters, who would move on to appreciate something else, perhaps food that had been grown in space or moons or other planets. At least something like that would be the case until that became too common of an interest to be elite any longer. Since it is worthless to try to chase hipster trends which are only valued because of exclusivity and viewed as too common once they become more common, any genuine and long-lasting appreciation of native plants and local habits must rest on a more secure basis than their current favor among cultural elites. Those who wish to endure in such habits must appreciate the intrinsic value of local habits and an intimate knowledge and appreciation of the diversity of different regions.

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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2 Responses to Mainly Local

  1. Catharine Martin says:

    This is an interesting blog. It made me think of God’s valuation of things on an absolute, rather than a relative, scale. His truth, like the pearl of great price, is always a rare commodity.

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