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Big-Box Swindle: The True Cost of Mega-Retailers and the Fight for America’s Independent Businesses

| Written by Stacy Mitchell | No Comments | Updated on Dec 1, 2009 The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/bigbox-swindle-true-cost-megaretailers-and-fight-americas-independent-businesses/
Big Box Swindle cover - mid size

Where to Buy Big-Box Swindle:

  • Institute for Local Self-Reliance — Contact ILSR for discounts on orders of 10 or more

Reviews

One of the top ten business books of the year.
— Booklist

“. . . a galvanizing eye-opener that deserves the widest possible audience. This is one of those urgent, revelatory volumes that could change how many readers conduct their daily lives, since it illuminates a stunning collection of business outrages, government favoritism, environmental damages, hidden economic and societal costs, debunked myths and a rising swell of consumer activism against big-box blight. . . Big-Box Swindle could have been a downer to read, but Mitchell devotes the final quarter of her powerful book to. . . inspiring lessons from places that are turning the tide.”
—John Marshall, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

“This is the ultimate account of the single most important economic trend in our country—the replacement of local businesses, and all they represent, with the big boxes. What Nickel and Dimed did for the Wal-Mart worker, Stacy Mitchell does for the community threatened by mega-retailers.”
— Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature

Continue reading reviews…

 

From the book jacket:

In less than two decades, large retail chains have become the most powerful corporations in America. In this deft and revealing book, Stacy Mitchell illustrates how mega-retailers are fueling many of our most pressing problems, from the shrinking middle class to rising pollution and diminished civic engagement—and she shows how a growing number of communities and independent businesses are effectively fighting back.

Mitchell traces the dramatic growth of mega-retailers —from big boxes like Wal-Mart and Home Depot to chains like Starbucks and Old Navy—and the precipitous decline of independent businesses. Drawing on examples from virtually every state in the country, she unearths the extraordinary impact of these stores and the big-box mentality on everything from soaring gasoline consumption to rising poverty rates, failing family farms, and declining voting levels. Along the way, Mitchell exposes the shocking role government policy has played in the expansion of mega-retailers and builds a compelling case that communities composed of many small, locally owned businesses are healthier and more prosperous than those dominated by a few large chains.

More than a critique, Big-Box Swindle provides an invigorating account of how some communities have successfully countered the spread of big boxes and rebuilt their local economies. Since 2000, over 200 big-box development projects have been halted by groups of ordinary citizens, and scores of towns and cities have adopted laws that favor small-scale, local business development which limit the proliferation of chains. From cutting-edge land-use policies to innovative cooperative small-business initiatives, Mitchell offers communities concrete strategies that can stave off mega-retailers and create a more prosperous and sustainable future.

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About Stacy Mitchell

Stacy Mitchell is a senior researcher with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, where she directs initiatives on independent business and community banking. She is the author of Big-Box Swindle and also produces a popular monthly newsletter, the Hometown Advantage Bulletin.  Connect with her on twitter and catch her recent TEDx Talk: Why We Can’t Shop Our Way to a Better Economy. More

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