We need to rethink where we shop and where we spend our money. Over the last 20 years, a handful of large companies have taken over a disproportionate share of our economy. Highly concentrated economic power married with political influence is very common in our country today. This significant shift has taken place without a corresponding change in our buying habits. Many times we make purchasing decisions without much thought and choose the most convenient or most popular option which is often not the wisest choice.
At an individual level, we need to take the time to search out and find Catholic or at least local options for as many products and services as possible. Going local does not mean walling off the outside world. It means nurturing locally-owned businesses which use local resources sustainably, employ local workers at decent wages and working conditions, and primarily serve local customers.
At an institutional and societal level, we need to make buying Catholic and buying local easier to do while at the same time helping Catholics change their mindset by teaching them about the benefits of doing so.
When we buy local, our money stays local, circulating in economies where we live, work, and worship. Studies have shown that local businesses recirculate a greater share of every dollar as they create locally-owned supply chains and invest in their employees.
Now let’s take this one step further. When we buy from local Catholics, our money stays with Catholics and strengthens our Catholic community. Here are some reasons to take the time to buy from Catholic businesses or local ones if that is not possible:
- Our Catholic network is strengthened. When you purchase at Catholic-owned businesses—rather than nationally-or secular-owned businesses—more money is kept in the Catholic community. Catholic-owned businesses often purchase from other Catholic-owned businesses and service providers. This helps grow these businesses and strengthens our network, giving Catholic workers more options for better jobs in varying industries.
- Our parishes and schools are strengthened. By patronizing Catholic-owned businesses, the owners have more money to donate to our parishes and schools. As their businesses grow, they have more good jobs for fellow Catholics. With better jobs, Catholic workers can afford to send their kids to Catholic schools—lack of affordability is the #1 reason Catholic parents list for not sending their children to Catholic schools.
- Non profits receive greater support. Catholic business owners donate more to local charities than non-local owners. This allows non profits to serve more people.
- Local business owners invest in community. Local businesses are owned by people who live in this community, are less likely to leave, and are more invested in the community’s welfare and future.
Changing our purchasing habits may take time and in some cases come with additional costs. As we reflect on this, however, we might realize that the pros outweigh the cons by a wide margin.
May God bless your family through your work!