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: First, a company needs to understand that they are making profit by providing a service or good to a customer base. Instead of just assuming that a certain community needs, wants or will use whatever good or service they already have in production, they must research a prospective community to find out the needs. If the company wants to be part of the local experience, they may need to adjust their good or service to meet these needs. In addition, for this relationship to be a long-lasting one, the company must take into consideration the social, economic, political and environmental capacity to produce, sell, consume and dispose of the product. In addition, the company must become an active contributor, beyond a market, in the community. When we all work for the greater good of each other, we are more successful and profitable.
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      May 20 2013: Thanks for your comment Trista. If I understand you correctly, are you saying that businesses should not only supply what is demanded, but also work to create demand for what a community may want to supply?
      • May 20 2013: Yes, that is exactly what I´m saying! For example, if a community can sustainably supply certain input materials over others, companies wishing to setup factories in this community should take advantage of those particular materials in accordance with public participation instead of simply taking what they want from that community without regard for the communities desire to provide them.

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