ChangeThis Manifesto: Declaration of Independents

Get it here: Declaration of Independents: Fighting Against the Colonization of Our Local Communities by Big-Box Retailers,
by Stacy Mitchell

I love manifestos - the passion they represent, even if you don't agree with the point being made, is fabulous!!. But this one is something that I believe in (along with the author). It's the fact that Locally Owned Business is important to the health and vitality of any country (especially the US).

Here are a couple facts included....
  • Wal-Mart captures $1 in every $10 dollars spent
  • For every dollar spent at a local store/business between $0.54 to $0.68 stays within the community, vs $0.14 for every dollar spent at a "corporate/big box" retail outlet
  • Based upon pressure from Home Depot & Lowe's, Black & Decker was forced to "reallocate" resources - resulting in more the 4,000 people being laid off
  • Since 1990, the amount of retail space per person in the US has doubled (from 19 sq ft to 38 sq ft) - compared to Great Britain, that has just 7 sq ft per person
  • Wal-Mart has about 300 empty store, many within miles of a new super center
  • In the US, shopping related mileage (those miles we all drive to get to a store and buy stuff) increase by almost 95 billion (that's 9 zeros) miles between 1990 to 2001. (note: a little math reveals that equates to approximately $5.7 billion spent on gasoline alone, not including wear and tear on your car, or the environmental impact)
I know this is a dicey subject for many people. There are augments on both sides - one saying that the big retailers help save consumers billions of dollars each year (maybe, there's evidence against that argument); that there is a much wider variety of selection (once again, not necessarily true); that these companies provide much needed jobs (but to whom, for how much and at what cost?); these companies are great corporate citizens - giving back to the community and giving generously to schools, charities, etc.

But the question is "at what cost?" are we really better off. Is big really better? Who is benefiting from these companies?

I guess my question is - what's the balanced required? I believe balance is required to maintain any system, be it your own life, your community, the retail world, whatever. Get this manifesto and read it - either agree or disagree, but be educated about the issue.


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