TED Conversations

Closing Statement from Daniel Raven-Ellison

Thank you everyone who has taken the time to contribute to this important question. Reading all of the comments, it's impossible not to think deeply about how relationships between global businesses and local communities are developed.

It's easy to think of global business and local community as two different things. This question is perhaps guilty of leading the conversation into such an easy binary. Of course, "global businesses" are made by multiple and interconnected local communities and many local communities are created by large businesses. Neither local or global are innately better than each other, they are so inextricably linked through uncountable or quantifiable relationships that one cannot exist without the other.

Aju made this point well by saying "global business creates a community of beneficiaries such as employees, contractors, vendors and even customers in the local geography. Except for a thin “live wire” of control that runs to the global headquarters, global business in each region have a very local existence."

Issues of supply and demand are woven through the whole of this conversation. What do people want, what is available and what is on offer are all vital questions, but interlaced through all the comments are issues of power. Who controls what is available to people and what decisions do those people make when consuming an idea, product or place? Mitchell started to address this by asking us to turn the conversation's question on its head by asking "How does a community create a fulfilling relationship with a global business?"

Candy shared a way forward by suggesting "Every community requires collaborative partnerships among business owners/operators engaged in facilitated discussion for the good of the community. This requires a common goal. Whether it is education, social culture...". A practical note that is all about a relationship of working together.

The conversation continues at www.thefutureoflocal.com. Please join us.

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  • May 18 2013: The world is moving towards an inevitable homogenization sprinkled with pockets of "Disneyfication". The future will happen before we figure out how to manage it.
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      May 20 2013: Surely we can predict possible futures - and try our best to avoid the less favourable ones?
      • May 20 2013: We can attempt to predict but prior attempts to do so have been notably inaccurate. We're also highly unlikely to account for the unintended consequences of our planning. "Try our best" - absolutely, but with a realistic view of where current market pressures are driving us. I suggest acknowledging current realities, identifying likely tipping points, and then maintaining a wide ranging flexibility as conditions dictate. We can use global warming as a point of reference. There is a general agreement that this is a significant life and death issue, however, very little of consequence has been implemented to combat it due to significant countervailing economic forces. I'm not suggesting that we should give up and go home, but rather that we should consider economic realities as well as idealistic goals.
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          May 21 2013: Climate change is an interesting one. We can predict possible consequences and there is some will, but arguably not enough. I think there needs to be more incentives for sensitive practices, may they be environmental or social - not that these are entirely separate.

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