This chapter considers new localism from a specifically economic perspective. It begins by considering the major economic and political trends of recent decades: so-called neoliberal corporate economics, Marxism and nationalism of various stripes. The recent trend within some totalitarian states towards harnessing capitalism for ultimately state-controlled ends is also discussed. The tendency within economics generally has been to see individuals as rational utility maximisers. However, this assumes a degree of homogeneity and consistency that is at odds with the principle of new localism. The remainder of the chapter therefore develops suggestions based on the idea of people as arational utility maximisers, taking ‘utility’ in a very broad sense, and stressing that ‘arational’ implies ‘more than merely rational’ rather than ‘irrational’. The argument is explored further through some concrete suggestions relating to the delivery of public services, specifically in the areas of health, policing and transport. In all of these, there could be moves towards greater local control and responsibility.
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