free range egg standA trend now underway designed to increase community resilience and sovereignty while reducing the dependency and carbon footprint attributed to the practice of importing resources from afar is called relocalization. Relocalization is a contradiction to the conventional free market ideology beloved by international capitalists.

Not intended as an absolute strategy (the old 60's quest for self-sufficiency demonstrated the futility of this approach), relocalization proposes a level of self-reliance that allows a community to choose what resources to exchange through trading and what resources to produce/develop itself. Trading genuine surpluses rather than depleting resources essential for local development thus becomes possible.

The balance is very skewed at present as poor rural areas and poor countries are obliged to export basic commodities with relatively low value in relation to their bulk (e.g. grain, firewood, cattle) in order to earn the currency to buy from wealthier urban areas dense, high-value goods, such as machinery to reduce the hard labor required to grow and harvest the basics. Meanwhile young people from these same rural/poor areas migrate to the urban areas in search of work, causing community disintegration and a brain-drain dynamic that depletes the pool of talent at home.

field of greensGaia University seeks to provide a localized higher education strategy that enables small towns and cities in less economically favored areas to reverse the brain-drain and stem the loss of future, local intra/entrepreneurs through whose efforts a rural/poor area revival can emerge. Smart young people can now be fully educated in community, through both the internet and physical community worknets while action learning community solutions by using Gaia University protocols.

This strategy also has substantial economic/opportunity cost implications. In a recent research project using USDA figures, Gaia University estimated that a small (pop: 14.000) poor, rural town in the southern part of the USA spends approximately 8 million dollars a year raising and educating the 60% of its high school graduates who leave the town to go to college and never return. 

For less wealthy countries, the issue is more extreme still. For example over 60% of young people (under the age of 35) in Nepal are seeking to emigrate to the USA and UK through higher education routes. Both the USA and the UK encourage this traffic in order to garner low cost, willing talent for their own economic recoveries. Foreign students frequently pay premium fees to attend out of country universities. The extensive loss of local talent coupled with the high costs borne by the supplying countries and families is keenly felt and is a hidden scandal of the global 'free market' system.