The Era of Giant Chain Stores Is Over -- And They've Ruined America, by James Howard Kunstler (Business Insider via Huff Post Small Business)
... The chain stores won not only because they flung money around -- sometimes directly into the wallets of public officials -- but because a sizeable chunk of every local population longed for the dazzling new mode of commerce. "We Want Bargain Shopping" was their rallying cry.
The unintended consequence of their victories through the 1970s and beyond was the total destruction of local economic networks, that is, Main Streets and downtowns, in effect destroying many of their own livelihoods. Wasn't that a bargain, though?
Despite the obvious damage now visible in the entropic desolation of every American home town, WalMart managed to install itself in the pantheon of American Dream icons, along with apple pie, motherhood, and Coca Cola. In most of the country there is no other place to buy goods (and no other place to get a paycheck, scant and demeaning as it may be). America made itself hostage to bargain shopping and then committed suicide. Here we find another axiom of human affairs at work: People get what they deserve, not what they expect. Life is tragic.
The older generations responsible for all that may be done for, but the momentum has now turned in the opposite direction. Though the public hasn't groked it yet, Wal-Mart and its kindred malignant organisms have entered their own yeast-overgrowth death spiral. In a now permanently contracting economy the big box model fails spectacularly. Every element of economic reality is now poised to squash them.
Sunday, February 24, 2013
Kunstler: "There will be no new chain store brands to replace the dying ones. That phase of our history is over."
Here's another commentary you'll not be reading at the "local" chain newspaper.