big-box store

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pages: 296 words: 76,284

The End of the Suburbs: Where the American Dream Is Moving by Leigh Gallagher

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Airbnb, big-box store, Burning Man, call centre, car-free, Celebration, Florida, clean water, collaborative consumption, Columbine, crack epidemic, East Village, edge city, Edward Glaeser, extreme commuting, helicopter parent, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, Jane Jacobs, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, McMansion, Menlo Park, mortgage tax deduction, New Urbanism, peak oil, Ponzi scheme, Richard Florida, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Sand Hill Road, Seaside, Florida, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Tony Hsieh, transit-oriented development, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban sprawl, Victor Gruen, walkable city, white flight, young professional, Zipcar

Around this time the suburbs started to evolve into a new urban form entirely, sprawling self-sufficient zones that contained all the services one needed instead of being mere residential extensions of metropolitan areas. Whether called “technoburbs,” “à la carte cities,” or “boomburbs,” these areas were characterized by long corridors of mid-rise office parks, strip malls, chain restaurants, and big-box stores; no center or core; and density and populations approaching those of a small city. These areas emerged along major corridors like Route 128 in Boston, in Silicon Valley outside San Francisco, in developments alongside Aurora outside Denver, and, perhaps most notoriously, in Orange County, California, which grew to two million people in twenty-six low-density mini regions. Sprawl in Orange County is so vast that when discussing the suburbs with me one day, the financial blogger Felix Salmon gleefully proclaimed Orange County “a suburb without an urb!”

Walmart, the retailer known for its enormous footprint above all else, has been fine-tuning new formats designed for more urban areas: Neighborhood Markets, which are less than a quarter the size of its supercenters, and an even smaller Walmart Express format, which measures about the size of a standard-issue CVS. Walmart has said it is planning “hundreds” of these smaller stores across the country in the coming years. By 2016 Best Buy plans to double the number of its smaller-format Best Buy Mobile stores. Even Target, which more than other big-box stores tied its strategy to the growth of the suburbs, is going in the other direction, opening a new urban format store—called, simply, City—that’s two-thirds the size of its typical store. The first opened in downtown Chicago, and stores are planned for Los Angeles, Seattle, and San Francisco. “You have a massive rush throughout retail to get small,” Leon Nicholas of market research firm Kantar Retail told the Wall Street Journal.

For one, cities all but crumbled, seeing a net out-migration of thirteen million: Robert Fishman, Bourgeois Utopias: The Rise and Fall of Suburbia (Basic Books, 1987), p. 182. By 1981, half of office space: Rodney Jennings, “Dynamics of the Suburban Activity Center: Retrofitting for Pedestrian/Transit Use,” Portland State University, June 1989. By the end of the 1990s: Terry Christensen and Tom Hogen-Esch, Local Politics: A Practical Guide to Governing at the Grassroots, 2nd ed. (M. E. Sharpe, 2006), p. 52. dwarfed only by the size: Many big-box store parking lots are so large, they sublease sections of their asphalt to fast-food chains. Whether called “technoburbs”: The term “technoburbs” was coined by Robert Fishman in Bourgeois Utopias. “Boomburbs” was coined by the demographer Robert E. Lang in a 2001 report for the Fannie Mae Foundation that identified fifty-three boomburbs, defined as incorporated places in the top fifty metropolitan areas in the United States with more than one hundred thousand residents that are not the core cities in their metropolitan areas and that maintained double-digit population growth over consecutive censuses between 1970 and 2010.


pages: 221 words: 68,880

Bikenomics: How Bicycling Can Save the Economy (Bicycle) by Elly Blue

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2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, active transport: walking or cycling, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, big-box store, car-free, hydraulic fracturing, if you build it, they will come, Jane Jacobs, job automation, Loma Prieta earthquake, medical residency, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, Ponzi scheme, ride hailing / ride sharing, science of happiness, the built environment, urban renewal, women in the workforce, working poor, young professional

Just as an increase in bicycle traffic compresses distances, creating density and retail clusters that strengthen communities, businesses that rely on sprawl lengthen distance and make communities diffuse and isolated. People often cite the ability to access big box stores and their savings as a primary reason that they must own a car. The math on that can’t work out—can even the largest family truly save over $250 a month on the discount for buying peanut butter and diapers in bulk? And that is just the cost of gas. But there’s more to it. Driving a car to a large department store is a recipe for buying more than we need to. Big box stores are designed to seem cheap, but to entice us into impulse purchases. When you are on a bicycle, you are less likely to go to these stores in the first place, much less decide on the spot that you need to buy new bath towels while they are on sale.

Add-ons like child seats, panniers, and sturdy kickstands also run the gamut of pricing, from stupidly high to nearly free. Cheaper bikes are available at large department stores, but more expensive bikes from local bike shops last longer, so it’s a trade off. Or you could scour the internet, thrift stores and yard sales for a much cheaper vintage bike. A tune up to scrape off the rust might cost $150—about the same as buying that big box store bike new. Helmets, locks, and lights are another expense—you could spend up to $100 for these basics, though it would be easy to spend somewhat less or quite a bit more if you were inclined. On the high end, a fancy European cargo bike might set you back as much as $4,000. If your heart is set on an electric pedal assist, that could add another $2,000. This brings us up to the sticker price of a decent-quality used car, which is in fact the vehicle that many of these bicycles are being bought to supplement or replace.

Any business that can be flexible has better chances to thrive—there is, for instance, a mattress shop in Portland that does booming sales by offering free bicycle delivery. But we have had many decades to grow to rely on our current diffuse, asphalt-covered ecosystem. Not everyone is going to be able to shift gears overnight. One summer, I opened my local newspaper every day to a full-page advertisement for a well-known national big box store featuring a photo of a smiling, middle-aged woman riding a bike. The ad was clearly not intended to promote the sale of bicycles but rather to associate the company with the idea of a healthy, active, green lifestyle. This company’s stores are famously located in the most un-bike friendly areas, surrounded by vast parking lots, reliant on giant fleets of trucks to ship all of its products—including its organic ones—from thousands of miles away.


pages: 538 words: 138,544

The Story of Stuff: The Impact of Overconsumption on the Planet, Our Communities, and Our Health-And How We Can Make It Better by Annie Leonard

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air freight, banking crisis, big-box store, blood diamonds, Bretton Woods, California gold rush, carbon footprint, clean water, Community Supported Agriculture, dematerialisation, employer provided health coverage, energy security, European colonialism, Firefox, Food sovereignty, Ford paid five dollars a day, full employment, global supply chain, income inequality, Indoor air pollution, intermodal, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, McMansion, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, Ralph Nader, renewable energy credits, Silicon Valley, special economic zone, supply-chain management, the built environment, trade liberalization, trickle-down economics, union organizing, Wall-E, Whole Earth Review, Zipcar

Then, in 1954, Congress changed the tax code to make it more profitable for developers to create shopping malls, basically making a tax shelter out of shopping mall construction.89 As Stacy Mitchell writes in Big-Box Swindle, 6 million square feet of shopping centers were constructed in 1953; just three years later that figure had increased by 500 percent; and over the next twenty years, eighteen thousand shopping centers were built across the United States.90 And the owners of these shopping centers often preferred to make chain stores their tenants (considered a better bet for a landlord), some actually going so far as to bar independently owned stores.91 Today, cashing in on local municipalities’ eagerness to have one in their community, big-box stores receive local and state subsidies and tax breaks. Local municipalities hope that having a local big-box store will increase economic growth, provide new jobs, and boost tax revenues, but unfortunately that isn’t always borne out. Instead, big-boxes siphon money out of the local economy so those lucky Walton family members (and other chains’ shareholders) can acquire another private jet for their extensive fleet and build a new wing on their nuclear-disaster-ready underground fortress (it’s true).92 Big-box payroll typically accounts for less than ten cents of every dollar spent at a given store,93 and, in a domino effect, their low wages (16 percent less for Wal-Mart workers than the average retail worker in 2008, for example94) help suppress the wages of retail workers everywhere.

By 1997, CEOs earned 116 times as much as the average worker. And by 2007, CEOs were earning nearly 300 times as much as the average worker.100 And in a cruel turn of a self-perpetuating cycle, as ordinary people have less income, the bargains promised by big-box stores are even more inviting, and so consumers support the very entity that is sucking the life out of their local economy and communities. There’s some hope, though. Local communities have gotten hip to the deception and destruction of big-box development and have been organizing to fight new big-box stores in favor of local businesses, which provide more secure jobs and keep more of the money circulating in the local economy. The highly publicized case of Inglewood, California, going up against Wal-Mart itself was one such victory. In 2003, Wal-Mart planned to build a superstore covering an area the size of seventeen football fields in the town of Inglewood in Los Angeles County.

(North versus South are not strict geographical references; for example, the wealthy nations of Australia and New Zealand occupy the Southern Hemisphere. Likewise, in many countries in the Global South, some communities enjoy “Northern” levels of resource consumption.) All the terms are imperfect. For simplicity’s sake, I chose to use the “developing/developed” designation. Externalized Costs (and Price versus Cost): Bargains abound: rock-bottom prices at big-box stores, discount outlets, online auction sites, even 99-cent stores. Yet there’s an unhealthy illusion at work there, a serious gap between the price you pay and the costs involved. The number on the price tag has very little to do with the costs involved in making Stuff. Sure, some of the direct costs like labor and material are included in the price, but those are dwarfed by externalized, hidden costs like the pollution of drinking water, health impacts on workers and host communities, even changes in the global climate.


pages: 159 words: 45,073

GDP: A Brief but Affectionate History by Diane Coyle

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Asian financial crisis, Berlin Wall, big-box store, Bretton Woods, BRICs, clean water, computer age, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, Diane Coyle, double entry bookkeeping, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, financial intermediation, global supply chain, happiness index / gross national happiness, income inequality, income per capita, informal economy, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Long Term Capital Management, mutually assured destruction, Nathan Meyer Rothschild: antibiotics, new economy, Occupy movement, purchasing power parity, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, University of East Anglia, working-age population

One is the constant difficulty of collecting data measuring the services sector of the economy, now the major part of GDP. The standard surveys used to collect information from businesses do not cover much of the service sector. Another example is the difficulty of keeping track of changing purchasing habits. Consumers have moved progressively from purchasing in local stores to shopping in large stores, including discount “big-box” stores—where businesses may also buy some of their supplies. Now spending is shifting online. A third example is estimating the value of income received in the form of deferred stock options, once a small part of total remuneration but now quite significant. The actual number for GDP is therefore the product of a vast patchwork of statistics and a complicated set of processes carried out on the raw data to fit them to the conceptual framework.

This methodological change was a bit controversial. Software tends to have a much shorter life than a machine to be installed on a production line, perhaps two years rather than ten, so it is not obviously the same kind of durable purchase. There is no sharp line between purchases of different types of software by businesses and by consumers for personal use. For example, many small and medium businesses might go to Staples or another big-box store to buy accounting software packages, whereas a big corporation would go direct to the vendor. So collecting the correct kind of raw data is a challenge. Finally, there is an overlap between the software sitting on a computer and the performance characteristics of the computer, so there is a risk that adopting both hedonic pricing and software as an investment double-counts the quality improvements.

National accounts and other official economic data are collected from a range of sources, as discussed in chapter 1, but surveys of individuals and businesses form their backbone. It is almost impossible for the conventional survey methods, involving sending forms to certain businesses or setting researchers to collect information on prices from different outlets, to keep up to date when the structure of the economy changes. To give one obvious example, the spread of shopping either in “big-box” stores or online changes the way price data need to be gathered, as prices are likely to be lower than elsewhere in both cases. The emergence of new sectors of the economy, like digital start-ups or mobile telephony, mean the collection of statistics will lag on their levels of employment and investment. And so on. It is time to use the new technologies to start collecting data. This could be particularly important in developing countries, where the prevalence of mobile phones now offers an unprecedented opportunity to measure the economy.


pages: 387 words: 110,820

Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture by Ellen Ruppel Shell

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barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, cognitive dissonance, computer age, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, deskilling, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, fear of failure, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frederick Winslow Taylor, George Akerlof, global supply chain, global village, greed is good, Howard Zinn, income inequality, interchangeable parts, inventory management, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Joseph Schumpeter, Just-in-time delivery, knowledge economy, loss aversion, market design, means of production, mental accounting, Ponzi scheme, price anchoring, price discrimination, race to the bottom, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, side project, Steve Jobs, The Market for Lemons, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, trade liberalization, traveling salesman, ultimatum game, Victor Gruen, washing machines reduced drudgery, working poor, yield management

The underpants shred in the dryer. The hammer is too small to bang in a nail. The watch stops. Still, these “deals” are irresistible. Knowing that bargains are ephemeral doesn’t diminish our desire for them. It doesn’t keep us from leaving a warm bed on Black Friday morning to elbow through the post-Thanksgiving mob. It doesn’t stop us from draining gas and time to save two bucks on a case of diapers or Coke at the Big Box store. And it doesn’t prevent us from cluttering our homes, garages, and rented storage units with cheap stuff we may have forgotten we own. As a nation, we’ve come to assume that low price powers both productivity and the gross national product. Under this logic, the ebb and flow of cheap goods underlies progress and rewards us with good jobs and bright futures. Historically, key economists have endorsed this view, as have legislators.

“And when consumers have no idea as to the quality of a product, or feel neutral or negative about it, deep discounts can actually discourage them from making a buy.” It is not very surprising that preconceived ideas skew our response to price. A Rodeo Drive or Madison Avenue address predisposes us to anticipate that a shop will be expensive and to be grateful for any price break it offers. Deep discounts at Big Box stores may prompt the opposite reaction: When something is cheap, making it cheaper still might push us to question its value. But behavioral scientists are learning that consumer reactions go beyond this predictable pattern; they are rooted in something deeper than simple preconceptions. It is hard to know what customers are willing to pay for any given item at any given time, and even harder to balance that knowledge with considerations of cost and profit margins.

Plausible estimates of the magnitude of the benefit are enormous—a total of $263 billion in 2004, or $2,329 per household.” That is quite a bonus. Among the experts Furman cites as having done the basic work leading to this assessment is Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist Jerry Hausman, coauthor of a highly regarded study of the impact of Wal-Mart on food prices. Hausman concluded that Big Box stores made consumers “better off by the equivalent of 25 percent of food spending.” For the poorest 20 percent of the population, this was estimated to be equivalent to an increase in income of 6.5 percent, a significant sum. I called Hausman to discuss this figure with him. He told me that Furman actually underestimated the Wal-Mart premium: The discounter not only offers low food prices to its own customers but forces other local supermarkets to drop their prices as well.


pages: 103 words: 32,131

Program Or Be Programmed: Ten Commands for a Digital Age by Douglas Rushkoff

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banking crisis, big-box store, citizen journalism, cloud computing, East Village, financial innovation, Firefox, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, invention of the printing press, Kevin Kelly, Marshall McLuhan, Silicon Valley, statistical model, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, WikiLeaks

Local businesses competed against both national brands and retail chains for local dollars—and mass media favored mass production and mass marketing over local production and community relationships. The value of transactions became limited to what could be measured in dollars, and ended at the moment of sale. All of the social value of the exchange was lost—and the money itself left the community. This trend reinforced itself as people—embarrassed to have abandoned a local business for the big box store—began to spend less time on Main Street or at local functions where they might run into local merchants. Local bonds deteriorated, and formerly productive towns turned into bedroom communities of commuters. While cable television and, now, Internet marketing give smaller businesses a way to peddle their wares in the same media as their corporate counterparts, it may actually work against their real strength as real world, local companies.

The music retailers that could scale effectively survived the net; the companies that went up a level and aggregated those music retailers triumphed. The net has turned scalability from a business option to a business requirement. Real world companies have always generally had the choice of whether they want to remain at the “mom and pop” level, or to become a chain or franchise—essentially going into the business of business. Beginning in the 1970s, shopping malls and big box stores changed the retail landscape, putting the pressure of internationally scaled competition onto local businesses. By the 1990s, migrating to the net seemed to many like a way to fight back: No website seemed to be intrinsically advantaged over another. Now the smallest players could have the same reach as the big boys. But as Tom learned, going online also denied him his remaining competitive advantage, the human relationships and local connections he enjoyed in the real world.


pages: 256 words: 76,433

Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth L. Cline

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big-box store, clean water, East Village, feminist movement, income inequality, informal economy, Maui Hawaii, McMansion, megacity, race to the bottom, Skype, special economic zone, trade liberalization, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, upwardly mobile

Joyce Perhac, president of the Sewing & Craft Alliance, says, “You can go to a big-box store today and get a T-shirt for $2 or $3 if you want. You could buy a dress today for $10 or $15. In the past you couldn’t do that. When we started importing lesser goods from overseas, then it just changed the balance.” My mother learned how to sew from her mother and made an outfit from scratch in home economics class in high school. My grandmother on my father’s side didn’t make entire garments, but she was very skilled at taking her family’s clothes in and letting them out. I never learned how to sew. In a single generation the skill was lost. I asked Perhac if it really mattered that we don’t know how to sew anymore. After all, we can just go to a big-box store and buy that $2 shirt today. “Sewing is vitally important,” Perhac countered.

Another client asked if the factory could make fifty pairs of leg warmers that would sell in stores for $7.99 per pair. Ng says, “[The retail price] is not even enough for me to start talking to them and analyze all the details of the project, not to mention to pay the workers to sew it.” He was also approached by Babies “R” Us about producing a line of T-shirts. Ng offered the company a price of $2 or $3 per shirt, but it turned out the big-box store wanted to sell a half-dozen shirts for that price. The expectation of cheap also hurts clothing designers. A drama unfolded in the spring of 2011 on the Web site well-spent.com, a site devoted to handcrafted and locally made products that “don’t cost an arm and a leg.” Independent men’s wear company UNIS, owned by New York–based designer Eunice Lee, was criticized on the Web site’s message boards for the price of her men’s khakis, which retail for $228.


pages: 380 words: 118,675

The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon by Brad Stone

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3D printing, airport security, AltaVista, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, bank run, Bernie Madoff, big-box store, Black Swan, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, call centre, centre right, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collapse of Lehman Brothers, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Danny Hillis, Douglas Hofstadter, Elon Musk, facts on the ground, game design, housing crisis, invention of movable type, inventory management, James Dyson, Jeff Bezos, Kevin Kelly, Kodak vs Instagram, late fees, loose coupling, low skilled workers, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, Network effects, new economy, optical character recognition, pets.com, Ponzi scheme, quantitative hedge fund, recommendation engine, Renaissance Technologies, RFID, Rodney Brooks, search inside the book, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, skunkworks, Skype, statistical arbitrage, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Thomas L Friedman, Tony Hsieh, Whole Earth Catalog, why are manhole covers round?

He wanted to value the fledgling firm at $6 million—an aggressive valuation that he had seemingly picked out of thin air. And he told investors the same thing he told his parents: the company had a 70 percent chance of failing. Though they could not have known it, investors were looking at the opportunity of a lifetime. This highly driven, articulate young man talked with conviction about the Internet’s potential to deliver a more convenient shopping experience than crowded big-box stores where the staff routinely ignored customers. He predicted the company’s eventual ability to personalize a version of the website for each shopper based on his or her previous purchases. And he prophesied what must have seemed like a radical future: that everyone would one day use the Internet at high speeds, not over screeching dial-up modems, and that the infinite shelf space of the Web would enable the fulfillment of the merchandiser’s dream of the everything store—a store with infinite selection.

The electronics effort faced even greater challenges. To launch that category, David Risher tapped a Dartmouth alum named Chris Payne who had previously worked on Amazon’s DVD store. Like Miller, Payne had to plead with suppliers—in this case, Asian consumer-electronics companies like Sony, Toshiba, and Samsung. He quickly hit a wall. The Japanese electronics giants viewed Internet sellers like Amazon as sketchy discounters. They also had big-box stores like Best Buy and Circuit City whispering in their ears and asking them to take a pass on Amazon. There were middlemen distributors, like Ingram Electronics, but they offered a limited selection. Bezos deployed Doerr to talk to Howard Stringer at Sony America, but he got nowhere. So Payne had to turn to the secondary distributors—jobbers that exist in an unsanctioned, though not illegal, gray market.

Bezos took some time off after the birth of his first child, Preston, and then returned to find the company in an uproar over Galli’s abrasive style. Amazon and its board of directors now had a leadership crisis. But Galli was also making some important contributions. He turned category leaders like Harrison Miller and Chris Payne into general managers who had control over their own profit-and-loss statements and their costs and profit margins. He had experienced the push-and-pull of Black and Decker’s relationship with big-box stores like Home Depot, so he introduced traditional retailing concepts, like the idea of earning cooperative marketing dollars, or co-op, from suppliers in exchange for highlighting their products to customers. Covey was burning out after three years of nonstop work, and Galli helped Amazon hire a new chief financial officer, Warren Jenson from Delta. Galli finally had enough of the often absent Jimmy Wright, who was commuting from Bentonville, and Wright abruptly resigned, under pressure, right before the 1999 holiday season.


pages: 323 words: 95,939

Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now by Douglas Rushkoff

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algorithmic trading, Andrew Keen, bank run, Benoit Mandelbrot, big-box store, Black Swan, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, cashless society, citizen journalism, clockwork universe, cognitive dissonance, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, disintermediation, Donald Trump, double helix, East Village, Elliott wave, European colonialism, Extropian, facts on the ground, Flash crash, game design, global supply chain, global village, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, Inbox Zero, invention of agriculture, invention of hypertext, invisible hand, iterative process, John Nash: game theory, Kevin Kelly, laissez-faire capitalism, Law of Accelerating Returns, loss aversion, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, Merlin Mann, Milgram experiment, mutually assured destruction, Network effects, New Urbanism, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, passive investing, pattern recognition, peak oil, price mechanism, prisoner's dilemma, Ralph Nelson Elliott, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Silicon Valley, Skype, social graph, South Sea Bubble, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, the medium is the message, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Turing test, upwardly mobile, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, Y2K

Fully aware that the Black Friday sales figures will lead the headlines and have a significant impact on the following Monday’s stock indexes, investors look to what’s happening the day before Black Friday for a hint of how to be positioned for the actual Black Friday, which is really just a way to be positioned for whatever happens on Christmas. Knowing they are being judged in advance and eager to get a jump on their competitors, retailers edge toward increasingly earlier opening times. While the earliest Black Friday sales used to begin Friday morning at 9 a.m., by the early 2000s they had moved up to 6 a.m. or even 5 a.m. Customers lined up in the cold outside their favorite big-box stores on Thursday night, and local news shows showed up to cover the spectacle. By 2011 some of the most aggressive stores, such as Target, Best Buy, and Macy’s, decided that they would push the envelope even further and start Black Friday at midnight. Walmart rolled Black Friday all the way back to Thursday evening at 10 p.m. Shoppers showed up, but now they were complaining. Some were upset that they were being required to leave their families during Thanksgiving dinner in order to get a good place on line.

Some were upset that they were being required to leave their families during Thanksgiving dinner in order to get a good place on line. Others felt the expanded hours just lengthened the shopping day beyond their endurance levels. Some even seemed aware of their complicity in overworking store clerks, and of how the fun of Black Friday had turned into more work for everyone. Employees complained, too, and those at some of the big-box stores were fired for refusing to come in for the overnight Thanksgiving shift. Memories of late-nineteenth-century union fights over workers’ hours were retrieved by the press: “Even though it’s a desperate time doesn’t mean that we should trade all that ground that our fathers and our grandfathers, everyone that came before us, fought really hard for,” a Target worker told the New York Times.18 JCPenney, in a nod to these sentiments, kept their opening time at a respectable 4 a.m., because “we wanted to give our associates Thanksgiving Day to spend with their families.”19 The extreme overwind has pushed many shoppers and workers over the edge, and even threatened the Christmas shopping season as a whole.

Starting the Christmas season the day after Thanksgiving was already at the very boundary of spring-loading; pushing into Thanksgiving itself was an overwind. It broke through the patina of holiday spirit, masking this otherwise crude effort to get people to go further into credit card debt by encouraging them to purchase more electronics and other goods manufactured in Chinese plants and sold in big-box stores that kill local business. All this, we must remember, on borrowed money and borrowed time. No wonder our consumer economy went into present shock. In the process, many consumers and workers alike came to realize the artificiality of the whole affair and simply turned away. Anticonsumerist Adbusters magazine’s “Buy Nothing Day” had already morphed into the lifelong commitment to Occupy Wall Street.


pages: 383 words: 81,118

Matchmakers: The New Economics of Multisided Platforms by David S. Evans, Richard Schmalensee

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Airbnb, big-box store, business process, cashless society, Deng Xiaoping, if you build it, they will come, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of the telegraph, invention of the telephone, Jean Tirole, Lyft, M-Pesa, market friction, market microstructure, mobile money, multi-sided market, Network effects, Productivity paradox, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, ride hailing / ride sharing, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs, two-sided market, Uber for X, Victor Gruen, winner-take-all economy

Melanie Hicken, “This Is Why Big Box Retailers Are Making Smaller Stores,” Business Insider, January 26, 2012, http://www.businessinsider.com/this-is-why-big-box-retailers-are-making-smaller-stores-2012-1. 10. Shelley E. Kohan, “Top Retail Trends of 2014-15,” August 26, 2014, http://retailnext.net/blog/top-retail-trends-2014/. Kohan goes on to say that stores are also considering “pop-up shops, vending machines and brand boutiques within their larger stores.” 11. Shan Li, “Best Buy Will Shrink Its Big-Box Stores by Sharing Space,” Seattle Times, July 9, 2011, http://www.seattletimes.com/business/best-buy-will-shrink-its-big-box-stores-by-sharing-space/. 12. From U.S. Bureau of the Census, Latest Quarterly E-commerce Report, http://www.census.gov/retail/mrts/www/data/excel/tsnotadjustedsales.xls. In using the Census e-commerce data, it is important to note that according to Census procedures, sales of all firms with distinct online operations, regardless of the firm’s main line of business, are to be reported under NAICS industry 454, Non-Store Retailers.

That has dictated the size of their stores, how they are laid out, their marketing, their prices, and much more. Those business practices don’t make as much sense when all a consumer wants to do at a brick-and-mortar facility is pay and pick up his merchandise as efficiently as possible. Innovation has given consumers better ways to shop since they don’t need the services that traditional retailers provide, and they can shop at big-box stores and pay lower prices. Not coincidentally, there has been a steady and substantial increase in the relative importance of warehouse clubs and other supercenters since around 2000.16 Innovation has also given retailers better ways to sell. But that doesn’t make it easy for many of them to figure out what to do. The Three Waves of Retail Disruption Turbocharged multisided platforms are behind three waves of disruptive innovation that have changed how people shop and buy.


pages: 225 words: 64,008

The Secret Lives of Hoarders: True Stories of Tackling Extreme Clutter by Matt Paxton, Phaedra Hise

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big-box store, dumpster diving

But for many hoarders, “online” can seem nebulous. If it’s not in the house, hoarders worry that they can’t locate what they need instantly. Surprisingly, information hoarders can usually find what they’re looking for—or at least know where it is in the piles, though it may be buried three feet deep. ▶ The Shopaholic Marcie’s house was packed floor to ceiling with unopened plastic bags of items from discount and big-box stores. This stout, gray-haired grandmother who dressed in flowery polyester pantsuits loved to shop. Her hoarding had progressed to the point where she’d go shopping to replace things she couldn’t find in her mess, but then she would also buy extra stuff while she was at it. For years, Marcie would come home from her latest spree, put her shopping bags down on the nearest pile, and then never look at them again.

Kurt liked nothing better than to deck himself out in a suit, gold chains, and watch; spritz on a little cologne; style his toupee—and go shopping. He felt important and totally in control. Kurt admitted that he knew he was getting himself into debt and worsening his hoarding, but the act of shopping made him feel so good that he justified it to himself. On any given day he’d head off to his favorite big-box store, and he might tell himself that he’d just see what the sales were but wouldn’t actually buy anything. But then he would come home with hundreds of dollars’ worth of items. One could imagine his rationalization: “I know I shouldn’t do this; my credit card is maxed out. But this jacket fits me perfectly and it’s such a bargain. And my sister would love this silk flower arrangement. If I buy it for her, then she will come over and we can sit and have coffee like we used to.


pages: 222 words: 50,318

The Option of Urbanism: Investing in a New American Dream by Christopher B. Leinberger

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American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, asset allocation, big-box store, centre right, credit crunch, David Brooks, desegregation, Donald Trump, drive until you qualify, edge city, full employment, Jane Jacobs, knowledge economy, McMansion, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, New Urbanism, peak oil, Ponzi scheme, postindustrial economy, RAND corporation, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, reserve currency, Richard Florida, Seaside, Florida, the built environment, transit-oriented development, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, walkable city, white flight

For most neighborhoodserving follower land uses, the drawing radius is two to three miles in a drivable sub-urban environment (under one mile in a walkable urban environment). Somewhere in between driver and follower products are those that must have some demand in place before they open, and the developers and tenants are confident the market will fill in quickly. Those in-between products include regional-serving office and industrial development, bigbox power centers (clusters of big-box stores), regional malls, and hotels. I have found that the drawing radius of these products in a drivable suburban environment tends to be three to seven miles (one to three miles in a walkable urban environment). As the initial limited-access highways were being built, it was housing that led the way to the suburbs. Housing (for-sale and rental) represents fifty-six percent of the built environment (nonresidential income real estate is twenty-eight percent and infrastructure is sixteen percent), which makes it the largest category of the built environment.4 In the five years between 1946 and 1950 more than three times as many houses were built per year than during the fifteen years of the Depression and the war (1930 to 1945).5 The 1950s saw a four-fold increase over the Depression and the war years in annual housing production.

In essence the number of standard product types will have to change and possibly expand significantly. The high-density mixed-use office and housing over retail, such as West Village, will emerge as a conforming, standard product type. There is the “bury-the-box” mixed-use product type, which puts a big-box retailer in the center of a block surrounded with “liner” buildings. These liner buildings have retail on the ground floor and office or housing on the upper floors. The big-box store, movie 110 | THE OPTION OF URBANISM FIGURE 5.5. West Village was one of the pioneering mixed-use lifestyle retail centers with housing on the upper three floors when it opened in 2003. The structured parking is buried behind the buildings with only a small amount of teaser parking on the streets. (Source: Courtesy of Urban Partners) theater, or urban entertainment arena is inward facing, opening to the sidewalk only at its front door.


pages: 89 words: 24,277

Designing for Emotion by Aarron Walter

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big-box store, en.wikipedia.org, game design, John Gruber, Kickstarter, Skype, software as a service, Steve Jobs, Superbowl ad, Wall-E, web application

They recognized that a craftsman leaves a bit of themselves in their work, a true gift that can be enjoyed for many years. In the present day, we can see a few parallels. In a quest for higher crop yields and lower production costs, farms have become headless corporations pitting profits against human welfare. But local farmers are finding new markets as consumers search for food produced by people for people. While big-box stores proliferate disposable mass-market goods, websites like Etsy and Kickstarter are empowering artists, craftspeople, and DIY inventors who sell goods they’ve designed and created. And their customers love the experience. When you buy from an independent craftsman, you support creative thinking and families (not corporations), and you gain the opportunity to live with an object that has a story.


pages: 399 words: 155,913

The Right to Earn a Living: Economic Freedom and the Law by Timothy Sandefur

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barriers to entry, big-box store, Cass Sunstein, clean water, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, Edward Glaeser, housing crisis, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, labour mobility, minimum wage unemployment, positional goods, price stability, profit motive, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, rent control, Silicon Valley, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transaction costs, Upton Sinclair, urban renewal

For example, an ordinance designed to prevent a Wal-Mart Supercenter from opening in Los Angeles was recently estimated to cost neighborhood families an average of $482 per year because the cheaper groceries that the store would have provided were kept out of the market.85 Unfortunately, two recent cases from California illustrate the way courts turn a blind eye on laws that injure consumers for the benefit of private industries. In 2004, the city of Turlock adopted an ordinance relegating “big-box” stores like Wal-Mart to a specified area of the city and prohibiting them anywhere else. City officials were quite explicit in their protectionist motive: the ordinance declared that a Wal-Mart would “negatively impact the vitality and economic viability of the city’s neighborhood commercial centers by drawing sales away from traditional supermarkets located in these centers”86—in other words, it would be cheaper than “traditional” supermarkets, and customers would want to shop there.

Merrifield v. Lockyer, 388 F. Supp. 2d 1051 (N.D. Cal. 2005). 76. Ibid. at 1058. 77. Ibid. 78. Merrifield v. Lockyer, 547 F.3d 978, 991 (9th Cir. 2008). 79. Ibid. 80. Ibid. at 991, n. 15. 81. “Wal-Mart 2007 Annual Report,” Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Bentonville, AR, http:// walmartstores.com/Media/Investors/2007_annual_report.pdf. 82. Richard Vedder and Wendell Cox, The Wal-Mart Revolution: How Big-Box Stores Benefit Consumers, Workers, and the Economy (Washington: AEI Press, 2006). 83. Eric R. Claeys, “Euclid Lives? The Uneasy Legacy of Progressivism in Zoning,” Fordham Law Review 73 (2004): 731–70. 84. Anthony B. Sanders, “The ‘New Judicial Federalism’ before Its Time: A Comprehensive Review of Economic Substantive Due Process under State Constitutional Law since 1940 and the Reasons for Its Recent Decline,” American University Law Review 55 (2005): 457–540. 85.

City of Azusa, 39 Cal. 3d 501, 511 (1985). But that decision was overruled in Kasky, 539 U.S. at 654. 48. Timothy Sandefur, “Plunder Gets a Boost,” The Freeman 50, no. 2 (February 2000): 25–26. 336 Notes for Pages 200–204 49. Robert Scally, “Calif. Retailers Defeat Big Box Legislation,” Discount Store News, October 4, 1999, p. 1, http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3092/is_19_38/ai_ 56229578; and James Burger, “Big-Box Stores Urge Veto of California Legislation,” Bakersfield Californian, September 16, 1999. 50. Redish and Wasserman, “What’s Good for General Motors,” 296. See also Martin Redish, “First Amendment Theory and the Demise of the Commercial Speech Distinction: The Case of the Smoking Controversy,” Northern Kentucky Law Review 24 (1997): 583. (“[N]o free speech scholar (at least those lacking an overriding ideologically based result orientation) would suggest that either the personal interest of the speaker or the biased and incomplete nature of expression somehow reduces the level of First Amendment protection given to traditional contributions to public debate.


pages: 406 words: 113,841

The American Way of Poverty: How the Other Half Still Lives by Sasha Abramsky

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2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, bank run, big-box store, collective bargaining, deindustrialization, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, ghettoisation, Gini coefficient, housing crisis, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, indoor plumbing, job automation, Mark Zuckerberg, Maui Hawaii, microcredit, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, payday loans, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, Potemkin village, profit motive, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, upwardly mobile, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus, women in the workforce, working poor, working-age population, Works Progress Administration

The lucky ones might snag a job at Parchman Prison, a huge penal complex in the nearby countryside that housed 3,000 inmates; or they might drive further afield, to the casinos one and a half hours north of town—where locals worked nonunionized jobs, with few benefits, at near-minimum wage. Most, however, stayed closer to home. And, said Blockett, they either remained jobless, or they ended up with dead-end work at fast food chains and big box stores. “[They work at] McDonald’s and Wendy’s and Walmart and Kroger. Some Dollar Generals. Different things like that.” HURRICANES, TORNADOES, AND SOME AWFULLY BIG BILLS Were he to return to life, Michael Harrington wouldn’t be pleased that modern-day poverty in a place like Mississippi, or in the Appalachian towns studied by Jim Ziliak, or in the urban community of North Philadelphia, still survived; but, nevertheless, as a student of the history of poverty he would understand it.

In other words, according to the Walmart spin-meisters, the living wage campaign hadn’t forced the mega-chain into any financial concessions it wouldn’t have agreed to anyway out of the goodness of its corporate heart. Believe that, dear readers, and you can find me after you’ve finished this book for a discussion about a bridge that I want to sell you in Brooklyn. The lesson from Chicago: Large corporations do respond to public protests about working conditions. But for such an intervention in the labor market as a living wage law aimed at big box stores to really work, it would have to be done at least at the state level, and ideally at the federal one. In this context, bigger is indisputably better: The larger the area covered by the law, the harder it is for companies simply to up the stakes and move their business elsewhere in response. How would consumers be impacted by these laws? In December 2007, researchers at the University of California at Berkeley’s Center for Labor Research and Education calculated that Walmart would need to increase prices by less than 1 percent in order to fully cover the cost of the higher wages.

Voters recognized that reality on November 6, 2012, reelecting a president who campaigned on a pledge to increase taxes on the wealthy; voting in a slew of senators, such as Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who openly talked about the positive role that government should play; and passing state initiatives, such as Proposition 30 in California, that raised sales taxes and income taxes on top earners so as to better fund schools, universities, and departments responsible for overseeing public safety. Partly, we fund such programs through paring other areas of the budget—for example, limiting defense spending increases and restricting the percentage of healthcare dollars that can be used to feather the nests of insurance company executives. And by asking consumers to pay marginally more—for goods bought at big box stores and fast food restaurants, for example—so as to provide mechanisms to boost the wages of the working poor. And partly, through designing them well, we make sure that these programs help fund themselves: Increasing the EITC, for example, by providing low-income families more money to spend on nutritional food and on preventive healthcare, reduces the medical costs associated with large numbers of low-weight and premature babies.


pages: 422 words: 131,666

Life Inc.: How the World Became a Corporation and How to Take It Back by Douglas Rushkoff

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affirmative action, Amazon Mechanical Turk, banks create money, big-box store, Bretton Woods, car-free, colonial exploitation, Community Supported Agriculture, complexity theory, computer age, corporate governance, credit crunch, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, death of newspapers, don't be evil, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, easy for humans, difficult for computers, financial innovation, Firefox, full employment, global village, Google Earth, greed is good, Howard Rheingold, income per capita, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, John Nash: game theory, joint-stock company, Kevin Kelly, laissez-faire capitalism, loss aversion, market bubble, market design, Marshall McLuhan, Milgram experiment, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, new economy, New Urbanism, Norbert Wiener, peak oil, place-making, placebo effect, Ponzi scheme, price mechanism, price stability, principal–agent problem, private military company, profit maximization, profit motive, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, RFID, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, short selling, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, social software, Steve Jobs, Telecommunications Act of 1996, telemarketer, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, trade route, trickle-down economics, union organizing, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush, Victor Gruen, white flight, working poor, Works Progress Administration, Y2K, young professional

He just took out a loan against the business to make expenses and his increased rent. The downtown area he’s located in has been slated for redevelopment, and only corporate chain stores appear to have deep enough pockets to pay for storefront leases. It sounded like a good idea when Marcus supported it at the public hearing—but the description in the pamphlet prepared by the real-estate developer (complete with a section on how to compete more effectively with “big box” stores like Wal-Mart) hasn’t conformed to reality. Marcus’s landlord doesn’t really have any choice in the matter. He underwent costly renovations to conform to the new downtown building code, and needs to pass those on to the businesses renting from him. He took out a mortgage, too, which is slated to reset in just a couple of months. If he doesn’t collect higher rents, he won’t make payments. Jennifer stopped going to PTA meetings because she’s embarrassed to look Marcus in the face.

While Dunning first conceived Birkdale as a real residential community with a few small shops, its financiers required a level of funding that only big anchor stores could provide. The ratio was gradually tilted in favor of commercial space, making the remaining residences less a functional town than an ornamental addition. (“Look, honey,” a shopper says to her husband as she notices the apartments over Victoria’s Secret, “people live here!”) The big box stores demanded the big parking lots, visibility from the “major arteries,” and the humongous signage already familiar to the automotive American consumer. Where Jacobs had always advocated building towns around the needs of people instead of the needs of cars, Birkdale was being constructed at the intersection of NC-73 and I-77, a ribbon of highway that is Birkdale’s natural environment, forcing many concessions by this walking town to the primacy of the automobile.

While Parker made some great TV commercials, they weren’t enough to put better clothes on the racks, and under pressure, Pressler resigned in 2007. The company is now struggling to stay alive. Other companies seek to remain competitive by dismantling the private sector’s social safety net—pensions, benefits, and the steady salary increases won by long-time employees. In 2007, Circuit City came under pressure from big box stores such as Wal-Mart and Best Buy, whose young employees earned less than its own. The company decided to dismiss 3,400 people, about 8 percent of its workforce. They weren’t doing a bad job, nor were the positions being eliminated entirely. It’s just that the workers had been employed for too long and as a result were being paid too much—between ten and twenty dollars per hour, or just around the median of American workers.


pages: 549 words: 147,112

The Lost Bank: The Story of Washington Mutual-The Biggest Bank Failure in American History by Kirsten Grind

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asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, big-box store, call centre, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, housing crisis, Maui Hawaii, mortgage debt, naked short selling, NetJets, shareholder value, short selling, Skype, too big to fail, Y2K

WaMu’s board was a mix of longtime Seattle business leaders (“local yokels,” noted one critic) and executives from across the country with little hands-on banking experience. This scenario was not unusual. Corporate boards are frequently made up of well-known executives who don’t have extensive knowledge of the industry they oversee. In theory, this setup provides a company with access to expertise that transcends all industries. A board member of a growing big-box store, for example, might have no experience ordering crates of diapers and cranberry juice, but he might be skilled at acquisitions. Only one of WaMu’s board members had true banking experience: Mary Pugh, the chair of the finance committee. Pugh was one of Pepper’s hires in the 1980s, a young Yale graduate who had been tasked with figuring out the new, complicated developments in the banking industry.

She would later, in an acceptance speech for a prestigious Profile in Courage award, borrow another of his famous observations: “A bank is a place where they lend you an umbrella in fair weather, and ask for it back when it begins to rain.”2 Bair was trying to explain the recent actions of her agency. The FDIC was spending time and money preparing for the failure of a giant U.S. bank, even though it had been a record two and a half years since any bank in the country had failed. “But who’s counting?” Bair joked at the time. She had spent much of her first year at the helm of an agency that oversaw some 8,500 banks dealing not with banks at all but with a big-box store that wanted to become a bank. Wal-Mart had filed what’s known as an “industrial loan company” application, which would allow it to offer limited bank services. The application was controversial.3 Wal-Mart claimed it was just trying to cut the costs of processing customers’ checks, but banks and credit unions were sure the company was trying to find a way to run its own commercial bank.4 Bair solved this problem in an unusual fashion—by doing nothing at all.

In Rock, Brock and the Savings Shock, Bair tells the story of two brothers, Rock and Brock, who choose to invest money from their grandfather in different ways.10 Brock saves his money, each week doubling his investment, while Rock goes crazy, buying every toy he’s ever wanted. Bair describes the bounty: a polka-dot snail, a fruit hat, and a big mustache! (The last purchase nicely rhymes with “cash.”) Brock, as you might guess, saves hundreds of dollars, while Rock ends up with no money at all. Other regulators, bankers, and industry watchers, however, viewed Bair as out of her league. Some saw the whole big-box-store-trying-to-become-a-bank episode as her first major “gaffe.” “I thought the job of banking regulators was to regulate,” quipped Tom Brown, the Bankstocks.com hedge fund manager. Said one of her harshest critics, bank consultant Burt Ely, “Quite frankly, I wish she would spend more time doing her job of running the FDIC. That’s an agency that needs some adult supervision, which unfortunately she is not providing.”11 Bair could be antagonistic and stubborn if someone didn’t agree with her policy.


pages: 559 words: 169,094

The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America by George Packer

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, bank run, big-box store, citizen journalism, cleantech, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, deindustrialization, diversified portfolio, East Village, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, family office, financial independence, financial innovation, Flash crash, Henry Ford's grandson gave labor union leader Walter Reuther a tour of the company’s new, automated factory…, housing crisis, income inequality, informal economy, Jane Jacobs, life extension, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, margin call, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, new economy, New Journalism, obamacare, Occupy movement, oil shock, peak oil, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, single-payer health, smart grid, Steve Jobs, strikebreaker, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the scientific method, too big to fail, union organizing, urban planning, We are the 99%, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, white flight

Miles of acreage didn’t yet lie fallow, though some tobacco farmers were already getting out. Most people still worked—it was rare to find employable locals on disability—and the crack and meth scourge hadn’t yet made it to Rockingham County. In the center of Madison, McFall Drug was still open with its lunch counter, alongside a men’s clothing store, two furniture shops, a shoe store, and a couple of banks. Kmart had brought the first big-box store to the area back in the 1980s, but there was not yet a single Wal-Mart in Rockingham County. Still, most people knew that large forces were bearing down and the area might be left behind. Dean always said that ambition wasn’t in the DNA down here, but those who had a little and were still young didn’t stay around. The return of a native with a college degree who had started a family and career up north was rare enough to be noted.

Brandon’s main street was West Brandon Boulevard, or U.S. 60, and in the half mile between stoplights, the shops passed by in an uninterrupted blur: Einstein Bros Bagels Florida Car Wash State Farm Dairy Queen Express Lube Jesse’s Steaks McDonald’s Five Star Paint Ball Aquarium Center Sunshine State Federal Credit Union Mister Car Wash Weavers Tire + Automotive Wendy’s. The growth machine became the employment agency. Other than minimum wage jobs at restaurants and big-box stores, it was hard to find work outside the real estate industry. In the hierarchy of the boom years, the poor were Mexican day laborers on construction sites; the working class had jobs in the building trades; the lower middle class were bank tellers; the middle class were real estate agents, title insurance agents, and civil engineers; the upper middle class were land use attorneys and architects; and the rich were developers.

Around the farms and small towns of Southside, the aide found signs of life in renewable energy: a dairy farm outside Danville that was making electricity out of manure; a nursery just across the road where a former Goodyear engineer was testing crops for energy yield; a landfill in Martinsville where officials wanted to turn methane gas into electrical power. No one had told these people to do any of it, and they were just the kinds of businesses that Perriello wanted to highlight, tangible examples of a new economy in the Piedmont that didn’t look like the past. Instead of enormous factories and big-box stores that sucked the wealth out of a community before abandoning it, these were small-scale projects that created five or ten jobs at a time and kept the money local. Eventually, Perriello found out about Red Birch Energy. * * * Dean had worked up a pitch, a PowerPoint slide presentation, and he was taking it to any audience that would listen. He always brought along three jars, one containing canola seed, the second canola oil, and the third biodiesel fuel, with a golden liquid in the upper half and a sediment of dark-brown glycerin waste below.


pages: 1,104 words: 302,176

The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The U.S. Standard of Living Since the Civil War (The Princeton Economic History of the Western World) by Robert J. Gordon

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3D printing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, airline deregulation, airport security, Apple II, barriers to entry, big-box store, blue-collar work, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, clean water, collective bargaining, computer age, deindustrialization, Detroit bankruptcy, discovery of penicillin, Donner party, Downton Abbey, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, feminist movement, financial innovation, full employment, George Akerlof, germ theory of disease, glass ceiling, high net worth, housing crisis, immigration reform, impulse control, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, inflight wifi, interchangeable parts, invention of agriculture, invention of air conditioning, invention of the telegraph, invention of the telephone, inventory management, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, jitney, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, labor-force participation, Loma Prieta earthquake, Louis Daguerre, Louis Pasteur, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market fragmentation, Mason jar, McMansion, Menlo Park, minimum wage unemployment, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, Norbert Wiener, obamacare, occupational segregation, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, payday loans, Peter Thiel, pink-collar, Productivity paradox, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, refrigerator car, rent control, Robert X Cringely, Ronald Coase, school choice, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, Skype, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, The Market for Lemons, Thomas Malthus, total factor productivity, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, upwardly mobile, urban decay, urban planning, urban sprawl, washing machines reduced drudgery, Washington Consensus, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, working poor, working-age population, Works Progress Administration, yield management

The final evolution of postwar retailing of food involved a bifurcation between small convenience stores that challenged the supermarkets for size, quick check-out, and convenience, and the evolution of the Target, Costco, and Walmart supercenters, which combine under one roof shopping not just for food, but also for clothing, appliances, drugs, and almost everything else. Now shoppers could avoid the supermarkets altogether, using nearby convenience stores and large chain drugstores for small purchases of staples, together with the big-box stores for major shopping trips. Among the early victims of the large variety of items available at the big-box stores were the lower-priced department stores and the chains of small variety stores such as Woolworth’s and Ben Franklin. The controversy about the growth of Walmart is similar to the traditional economic classroom analysis of free trade. Imports benefit consumers with lower prices, and free trade benefits owners and workers of firms selling exports.

This tax deduction, which grows with the size and expense of a home, has been called “the mansion subsidy” and is widely interpreted as a major cause, together with zoning laws, of the much larger house sizes in the United States than in Japan or Europe.64 The suburban sprawl in the United States compared to that in Europe has advantages in productivity that help to explain why the core western European countries never caught up to the U.S. productivity level and have been falling behind since 1995. Careful research studies of the sources of the European productivity advantage focus on the retail and wholesale trade sectors.65 The ease in the United States of building highly efficient “big-box” stores near suburban interstate highway junctions raises productivity through economies of scale and the ease of segregating truck traffic from customer entrances. One only need drive through central Milan or Rome to be impressed with the small sizes of the shops and to gaze in amazement as several men carry a single mattress out of a tiny shop for delivery in a small truck to a customer who may live in a walk-up fourth-story apartment.

The most important shift in this area, freeing of women and girls from the obligation to sew their own clothing, had been accomplished by 1940. The postwar era involved mainly a transition in styles, both at home and at work, toward a more casual and less expensive wardrobe. Retail options blossomed as Walmart and Target allowed customers to browse through large selections of clothing at rock-bottom prices, and the arrival of inexpensive imported clothing at these and other big-box stores contributed to a sharp decline in the relative price of clothing. The rise of the big-box chains had negative consequences, including the decimation of central-city department stores and the flood of imports that virtually eliminated textile and clothing manufacture as a part of the American economy. Beyond food and clothing, this chapter has provided a multidimensional overview of changes in housing.


pages: 364 words: 102,528

An Economist Gets Lunch: New Rules for Everyday Foodies by Tyler Cowen

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agricultural Revolution, big-box store, business climate, carbon footprint, cognitive bias, cross-subsidies, East Village, en.wikipedia.org, food miles, guest worker program, haute cuisine, illegal immigration, informal economy, iterative process, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, pattern recognition, Peter Singer: altruism, price discrimination, refrigerator car, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Upton Sinclair, winner-take-all economy, women in the workforce

They’re marketing to people who care about the quality and kind of food, most of all; and many of those people come to this country with relatively low incomes. They’re not mostly looking to date or pay for fancy, frilly, or “cool” locations. If I am in a hitherto unknown part of the United States, the region has immigrants, and I am looking to eat, I head away from the center of town. I look for the strip malls. The best strip malls, for food, are usually those without Wal-Mart, Best Buy, or other big-box stores. Large anchor stores bring high rents and large crowds, which are typically not the right combination for interesting ethnic food. The ultimate low-rent venue is the food truck. New York City, Portland, Oregon, and Austin, Texas, have started allowing food trucks to sell their wares, and it has greatly improved food in those cities. No longer is street food a bad pretzel or fatty hot dog; food trucks bring diners authentic Mexican tacos, homemade sausages, dim sum, Vietnamese bánh mi sandwiches, and hundreds of other delicacies.

While the San Diego restaurant may be good, it will lack the immediacy and sheer deliciousness of the fish taco in Tijuana. That being said, longer supply chains will give San Diego a much more varied supply of seafood. San Diego can sell seafood from around the world, whereas Tijuana, and Mexico more generally, is better at handling the purely local product. Both the United States and Mexico also offer frozen fish products through supermarkets and big box stores like Wal-Mart. In this category the United States is usually superior, again because of American specialization at handling long supply chains. Our average fish will be better in America than in Mexico, even though fresh fish of a particular kind will be much better and much cheaper in any part of Mexico that has access to that fish in a fresh form. Fatty Cheeses and Mennonites Just as the meats may make Mexican food richer and tastier than American-Mexican food, the cheeses cement this basic difference.


pages: 281 words: 86,657

The Great Inversion and the Future of the American City by Alan Ehrenhalt

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anti-communist, big-box store, British Empire, crack epidemic, David Brooks, deindustrialization, Edward Glaeser, Frank Gehry, haute cuisine, Honoré de Balzac, housing crisis, illegal immigration, Jane Jacobs, manufacturing employment, McMansion, New Urbanism, postindustrial economy, Richard Florida, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, too big to fail, transit-oriented development, upwardly mobile, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, walkable city, white flight, working poor, young professional

In between are Cape Cod bungalows built in the 1950s for blue-collar workers whose jobs were in Cleveland or in the neighboring industrial suburb of Euclid. The commercial middle of Cleveland Heights can be a bit of a shock to those who haven’t seen it before. Where one might be expecting a 1920s main thoroughfare of heavy car and foot traffic, shops, and restaurants, there is an immense sea of asphalt parking lot and a sprawling mall filled with big-box stores: Walmart, Home Depot, Best Buy. It is called Severance Town Center, and it includes the Cleveland Heights City Hall on its outside edge, but it is not a community center in any meaningful suburban sense. It is difficult even to get from one end of the project to the other without driving. To anyone who believes in the virtues of human-scale commercial life, Severance Town Center is a hideous eyesore.

This center is an enormous help in paying the taxes of a community of about thirty-two thousand people, but it turns its back on the light-rail station and on transit-oriented development in general. Walking from the station to the Walmart is not only a difficult experience, it is barely a feasible one. CityCenter Englewood is essentially a small, pleasant enclave masking oceans of asphalt. Perhaps the most remarkable thing about the project is that a few blocks beyond all of it, beyond the town green and the town hall, the power center with the big-box stores, there is an old, slightly seedy, but interesting prewar downtown, with locally owned businesses still open. Unless you are driving, you have to take a shuttle bus from the front entrance of the town hall even to discover that it is there. Instead of sprucing up the historic center that already existed, the town planners and developers razed the development of the 1960s and built on top of that.


pages: 295 words: 89,430

Small Data: The Tiny Clues That Uncover Huge Trends by Martin Lindstrom

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autonomous vehicles, Berlin Wall, big-box store, correlation does not imply causation, Edward Snowden, Fall of the Berlin Wall, land reform, Mikhail Gorbachev, Murano, Venice glass, Richard Florida, rolodex, self-driving car, Skype, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, too big to fail, urban sprawl

In a country with the world’s highest incarceration rate, that spends around $640 billion a year on its military,3 which is more than the next seven countries combined, and where 37 percent of all Americans say that they, or someone in their household, owns a gun,4 I couldn’t help but find this paradoxical. America is a military superpower whose prevailing design aesthetic does everything it can to muffle, discourage and eradicate any trace of conflict. Most American malls, motels, hotels, big-box stores and fast-food chains are climate-controlled, mood-controlled, secure, antiseptic and completely the same. Sharpness and angularity have been smoothed out. Whether you’re entering the lobby of a Holiday Inn or sitting down at a table at Chili’s, guests can be assured they are in for no surprises at all. If the architectural mandate against conflict gave me another clue about what drove American culture, another observation confirmed it: political correctness.

Russia can use the excuse of cold weather, but in the United States, the daily torrent of bad news from televisions and smartphones leads most parents to believe that murder or abduction lies at the end of their driveways. In both countries, men escape. In Russia, men disappear on fishing boats weighed down with cases of vodka. In American, men go golfing. In an era of pervasive solipsism, where we hear the continuous refrain that technology has unified the world as never before, community in America was vanishing, eroded by big-box stores, a homogenous landscape and the Internet. The American women I met were kind, generous people, but they seemed as isolated as the women I’d met in Russia. They spent most of their time inside their cars. They traveled in lockstep to malls and shopping centers whose density falsely replicated that of cities. Outside their marital and family lives, they never made physical contact with one another.


pages: 378 words: 102,966

Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic by John de Graaf, David Wann, Thomas H Naylor, David Horsey

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big-box store, Community Supported Agriculture, Donald Trump, Exxon Valdez, financial independence, Ford paid five dollars a day, full employment, greed is good, income inequality, informal economy, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, McMansion, medical malpractice, new economy, Ralph Nader, Ray Oldenburg, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, single-payer health, The Great Good Place, trade route, upwardly mobile, Yogi Berra, young professional

“I didn’t need anything. I just went to shop,” said a man with a cart full of merchandise. “Whatever I like I buy.” “I bought a lot more than I planned to,” another woman admitted. “You just see so much.” Yes, you do, and that’s the idea. It’s why big malls sell much more per square foot than do their smaller counterparts. Seeing so much leads to impulse buying, the key to mall profitability and to the success of big-box stores like Wal-Mart. Impulse: a devilish little snake that cajoles first, then bites later when the credit card bill comes due. Only a quarter of mall shoppers come with a specific product in mind. The rest come just to shop. “What else matters?” asked one of the ladies from Dallas, only half in jest. “I came here with one overriding interest, to spend money,” said a proud teenage girl, who was getting rid of the hundred dollars her mother had given her for this particular spree.

We believe that point has been reached in the case of affluenza. Thomas even wants the quarantine to begin around his state, Vermont. He’s been leading a campaign called the Second Vermont Republic, which actually calls for that state to secede from the United States, to protect its unique quality of life. Vermont may be less infected by affluenza than any other state. It’s almost Wal-Mart-free, and few other big-box stores or tacky mini-malls mar its quiet beauty. Vermont towns still have the feel of permanence and livability; citizens still participate regularly in public forums; everybody in the state has a guaranteed right to health insurance. Shopping locally and buying wholesome food is encouraged. Many Vermonters, like Thomas, who moved there because of Vermont’s quality of life, want to prevent their good life from being overtaken by affluenza.


pages: 327 words: 88,121

The Vanishing Neighbor: The Transformation of American Community by Marc J. Dunkelman

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, big-box store, blue-collar work, Bretton Woods, Broken windows theory, call centre, clean water, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, David Brooks, delayed gratification, double helix, Downton Abbey, Edward Glaeser, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Gini coefficient, glass ceiling, global supply chain, global village, helicopter parent, if you build it, they will come, impulse control, income inequality, invention of movable type, Jane Jacobs, Khyber Pass, Louis Pasteur, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, McMansion, Nate Silver, Nicholas Carr, obamacare, Occupy movement, Peter Thiel, post-industrial society, Richard Florida, rolodex, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, telemarketer, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the medium is the message, Thomas L Friedman, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, urban decay, urban planning, Walter Mischel, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, World Values Survey

As cars allowed Americans to migrate out into the “crabgrass frontier,” a term Columbia historian Kenneth Jackson once used to describe the new bedroom communities popping up outside city centers, the shopping patterns that had defined my mother’s childhood disappeared.8 New neighborhoods began to boast Main Streets of their own, obviating the need for residents to go downtown. In the decades that followed, outdoor shopping strips, enclosed malls, and big-box stores emerged as the nation’s primary retail outlets.9 The newer venues offered consumers the opportunity to shop without having to sort through racks geared for other demographics—it cut down the hassle of searching for a new outfit. Years later Chris Rock would joke that in every town in America there are two malls: “they’ve got the white mall, and the mall where the white people used to go.”10 To an uncomfortable degree, Rock got it right.

And that makes their circumstances an ideal jumping-off point for imagining whether the same four characters would have found each other in the circumstances of contemporary American community. Amid all the changes wrought by the last several decades, have the sorts of gangs that Gordie, Chris, Teddy, and Vern joined become relics of the past? Admittedly, friendships are still forged among adolescent boys. But the landscape has inarguably changed. Today, just as we’re less likely to shop along the local strip because we can order what we want online or travel to the mall or a big-box store that caters specifically to our demographic, we’re less likely to befriend the kid sitting in the seat next to us because we can text our closest pals. We’re less likely bump into a neighbor on the street because, in the growing suburbs, we tend to drive everywhere we go. A comic-book aficionado who loves Batman doesn’t need to befriend the Superman fanatic down the street, because there’s a whole world of Batman-lovers is just waiting to kibitz with her at the other end of a broadband connection.


pages: 283 words: 85,824

The People's Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age by Astra Taylor

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A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Andrew Keen, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, Brewster Kahle, citizen journalism, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, Community Supported Agriculture, conceptual framework, corporate social responsibility, cross-subsidies, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, digital Maoism, disintermediation, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, future of journalism, George Gilder, Google Chrome, Google Glasses, hive mind, income inequality, informal economy, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, Naomi Klein, Narrative Science, Network effects, new economy, New Journalism, New Urbanism, Nicholas Carr, oil rush, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, pre–internet, profit motive, recommendation engine, Richard Florida, Richard Stallman, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, slashdot, Slavoj Žižek, Snapchat, social graph, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, trade route, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, Works Progress Administration, young professional

Cosmetology is “more psychologically rewarding, creative work,” he explains.28 It’s tempting to dismiss such a broad definition of creativity as out of touch, but Florida’s declarations illuminate an important trend and one that helped set the terms for the ascension of amateurism. It is not that creative work has suddenly become abundant, as Florida would have us believe; we have not all become Mozarts on the floor of some big-box store, Frida Kahlos at the hair salon. Rather, the point is that the psychology of creativity has become increasingly useful to the economy. The disposition of the artist is ever more in demand. The ethos of the autonomous creator has been repurposed to serve as a seductive facade for a capricious system and adopted as an identity by those who are trying to make their way within it. Thus the ideal worker matches the traditional profile of the enthusiastic virtuoso: an individual who is versatile and rootless, inventive and adaptable; who self-motivates and works long hours, tapping internal and external resources; who is open to reinvention, emphasizing potential and promise opposed to past achievements; one who loves the work so much, he or she would do it no matter what, and so expects little compensation or commitment in return—amateurs and interns, for example.

What is shocking is how profoundly the old wisdom still applies. What do we lose if we let the middle go missing, if the creative sphere splits in two, a few megahits orbited by trillions of megaflops? The topology of our cultural landscape has long been twisted by an ever-shrinking number of corporations. Powerful entertainment companies have bought up their competitors, consolidating into a handful of colossi, much the way big-box stores have decimated mom-and-pop shops, paving America over with brand-name sameness and dictating social and economic terms to our society. For years we have understood that this dynamic is detrimental and citizens have pushed back. What is the effect of the expanding corporate goliaths and super-celebrities online? “We are losing a diversity of institutions in the move to a digital terrain, and it is worth investigating what impact that loss has,” writes Tom Slee, a software engineer and author of a book on Walmart’s effect on communities.


pages: 104 words: 34,784

The Trouble With Brunch: Work, Class and the Pursuit of Leisure by Shawn Micallef

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big-box store, call centre, cognitive dissonance, David Brooks, deindustrialization, ghettoisation, Jane Jacobs, knowledge worker, Mason jar, McMansion, new economy, post scarcity, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, Thorstein Veblen, urban sprawl, World Values Survey

Kensington Market is exactly the kind of place that mounts campaigns against Walmarts in other cities and towns, analogous to neighbourhoods like Greenwich Village, San Francisco’s Mission or Hackney in London: traditionally working-class neighbourhoods that have become playgrounds for the middle class, with just a bare vestige of those working-class roots still visible. Around the same time the Walmart was proposed, an immense and infamous big-box store called Honest Ed’s was quietly put up for sale in a neighbourhood a few blocks north. This retail upheaval inspired a hue and cry from many Torontonians, all of whom lamented its imminent end. To paraphrase another Morrissey song, there was panic on the streets of Kensington. But if someone made a Venn diagram of these two emotional responses, the overlap would have been considerable. The same people who nostalgically mourned Honest Ed’s passing were those opposed to Walmart’s arrival – one change was a loss for Toronto, the other an attack on it.


pages: 112 words: 30,160

The Gated City (Kindle Single) by Ryan Avent

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big-box store, carbon footprint, deindustrialization, edge city, Edward Glaeser, income inequality, labor-force participation, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, offshore financial centre, profit maximization, rent-seeking, Silicon Valley, Thorstein Veblen, transit-oriented development, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation

Rising home prices are the means by which supply-limited cities dole out scarce housing. But why doesn’t San Francisco just build more housing? Blame San Franciscans and their Bay-area neighbors. The region around the Bay is home to some of the country’s most aggressive opponents of new development -- NIMBYs (for Not-In-My-Backyard). Residents use government zoning rules, historical designations, and public pressure to block changes of all kinds: from skyscrapers and big box stores to fiber optic cable hubs and trauma helicopters.[1] Their actions aren’t necessarily nefarious. Most just want to protect neighborhoods, views, and buildings they love from changes they fear. But the cumulative effect of this battle against change is dramatic. In 2005, the San Francisco metropolitan area issued permits for just under 15,000 new housing units. The San Jose metro approved permits for about 5,700 new units.


pages: 423 words: 129,831

The Big Roads: The Untold Story of the Engineers, Visionaries, and Trailblazers Who Created the American Superhighways by Earl Swift

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1919 Motor Transport Corps convoy, big-box store, blue-collar work, Donner party, edge city, new economy, New Urbanism, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ralph Nader, side project, smart transportation, traveling salesman, Unsafe at Any Speed, urban planning, urban renewal, Victor Gruen

But the dinner correctly recognized that the interstates had turned out to be more than fancy roads—that, often in ways unanticipated by their creators, they had been agents of far-reaching change and had reordered the American landscape. That we could thank the interstates for shrinking the distances between our cities, and the untidy growth of those cities beyond Lewis Mumford's worst nightmare; for the "Edge City" of shopping and office space springing up on beltways in any number of metropolitan areas, and the "big-box" stores that were fast becoming ubiquitous features of suburban interchanges. They'd tamed rivers and bays, high plains and remote reaches of blackwater swamp where earlier roads dared not venture. You could set your cruise control (an automotive feature that would have been needless had the interstates not come along) and at seventy miles per hour, in climate-controlled comfort, summit the Sierra Nevada pass that claimed the Donner party.

It was an awful place, with stained walls and cheap, mustard-yellow bedspreads and an overpowering bouquet of spray air freshener, and to its disadvantage, it offered a commanding view of the surroundings. My second-floor window looked onto the Shoney's rooftop air conditioners and satellite dishes; farther away, beyond the immediate craze of lights and traffic and the expressway's rumbling blur of red and white, lay the mercantile glut served by Exit 82-B, along northbound Highland—strip malls, chain restaurants, big-box stores. Jackson itself was a mile or two away. South on Highland, past the Old Hickory Mall and a mammoth hospital, a compact, red-brick downtown clustered around a dignified county courthouse. When I visited, a live band's country-rock covers were spilling onto a street busy with pedestrians, a good many of them, no doubt, students from Jackson's Union University. But that Jackson was invisible from I-40, and most of my fellow boarders at the Ramada Limited would miss it.


pages: 391 words: 22,799

To Serve God and Wal-Mart: The Making of Christian Free Enterprise by Bethany Moreton

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affirmative action, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, big-box store, Bretton Woods, Buckminster Fuller, collective bargaining, corporate personhood, deindustrialization, desegregation, Donald Trump, estate planning, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Frederick Winslow Taylor, George Gilder, global village, informal economy, invisible hand, market fundamentalism, Mont Pelerin Society, mortgage tax deduction, Naomi Klein, new economy, New Urbanism, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, prediction markets, price anchoring, Ralph Nader, RFID, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Stewart Brand, strikebreaker, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, union organizing, walkable city, Washington Consensus, white flight, Whole Earth Catalog, Works Progress Administration

The discount store’s future customers would then contribute $20 million in sales taxes to the site’s reconstruction, helping to underwrite the condos as well as the public housing units. Fewer than 10 percent of the 800 families displaced from the St. Thomas projÂ�ect would be allowed into the new development. “In reality,” argued a critic, “it’s a way to get a lot of money for high-income housing.” Renamed “River Garden,” the site would lure desirable residents with the pastel pedestrianism of the New Urbanist design movement. And while the big box store Â�wasn’t quite the period piece the architects had envisioned, Wal-Mart did agree to landscape the parking lot.2 For the Arkansas-based company, its first stake in central New Orleans represented a form of urban homesteading. “The company started in rural areas [because] people in those areas did not have access to goods that other people did,” explained a spokeswoman, and now that rural Americans could buy brand-name goods in their Wal-Marts, the company was extending that serÂ�vice to another population left behind in national consumption.

Besides, argued the River Garden developer, the country had voted for Wal-Mart in the most democratic forum: the marketplace. “Americans have decided they want discount shopping in volume, and that’s the real world,” he explained succinctly.3 In 2001 former residents of St. Thomas and their white neighbors packed a tense five-hour meeting of the New Orleans City Planning Commission, arguing on opposite sides. The mostly white forces against Wal-Mart saw their challenge to a subsidized big-box store as a stand for the common good. The data was in: Wal-Mart Â�didn’t add jobs, it cannibalized existing ones. It drove locally owned businesses under, homogenized communities, and degraded the landscape—and all with help from the public purse. With the government contracting out its public housing to for-Â�profit developers, the tenants became loss leaders in a slick real-estate deal. Did residents of this famously walkable city really want to hike across acres of hot asphalt as Red Lobsters and Home Depots followed in the big blue wake of Wal-Mart?


pages: 497 words: 123,718

A Game as Old as Empire: The Secret World of Economic Hit Men and the Web of Global Corruption by Steven Hiatt; John Perkins

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airline deregulation, Andrei Shleifer, Asian financial crisis, Berlin Wall, big-box store, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital controls, centre right, clean water, colonial rule, corporate governance, corporate personhood, deglobalization, deindustrialization, Doha Development Round, energy security, European colonialism, financial deregulation, financial independence, full employment, global village, high net worth, land reform, large denomination, Long Term Capital Management, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral hazard, Naomi Klein, new economy, North Sea oil, offshore financial centre, oil shock, Ponzi scheme, race to the bottom, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, Scramble for Africa, statistical model, structural adjustment programs, too big to fail, trade liberalization, transatlantic slave trade, transfer pricing, union organizing, Washington Consensus, working-age population, Yom Kippur War

In June 2006, California’s Humboldt County took this legislation one step farther, passing a resolution that not only directly challenged corporate personhood but also banned all out-of-county corporations from making political contributions in local campaigns. In 2005, Charlevoix Township in Michigan was one of dozens of cities to approve ordinances giving local government the authority to limit the size of big-box stores. That same year, Maryland passed legislation requiring organizations with more than 10,000 employees in the state to spend at least 8 percent of their payroll on health benefits. The only enterprise affected by this legislation is Wal-Mart. Similar legislation has been proposed in several other states. There are also strong movements across the U.S. to enforce antitrust legislation on oil and other monopolistic corporations, including Wal-Mart.

Index Abacha, Sani 44, 125 Abedi, Agha Hasan 69, 70, 75, 77, 86, 87 Abu Dhabi 69, 73, 75, 76 Adham, Kamal 75, 86, 87, 88 Afghanistan 26 drug trade in 70 civil war in 70–71 African Development Bank 251 Africa Oil Policy Initiative Group 119 Akbayan 192–93 Alamieyeseigha, Diepreye 121, 123 Algeria 15, 200, 266 Allende, Salvador 27 al-Qaeda 77, 89 and offshore banks 24 al-Taqwa Bank 71, 89 Altman, Robert A. 78, 79, 86, 88 American Express Co. 268 American Mineral Fields 99 Amin, Idi 27 Annan, Kofi 126 AngloGold 244 Anglo-Iranian Oil Company 14 Angola 27, 95 foreign debt 243, 244 Aquino, Benigno 26 Aquino, Corazon 190 Arbusto Energy, Inc. 76 Argentina 236 defiance of IMF 273 foreign debt 228, 230, 233, 241, 244, 273 popular movements in 276 World Bank lending in 169–73 Asari, Alhaji 121, 123, 128–29 Asian “tiger” economies 21, 229, 257n16, 258n27 Azerbaijan 200 Bahamas, as offshore banking haven 45, 89 Baker, Howard 100 Baker, James 239, 256n12 Baker Plan 228, 239–40 Balfour Beatty 211 Banca del Gottardo 71 Banca Nazionale del Lavoro 72 Banco Ambrosiano 71 Bank of America 69–70, 74, 77 Bank of England 84 Bank of Credit and Commerce International 24 accountants and 83–84, 86 arms trade and 72–73, 90 CIA and 69, 70, 71–72, 73, 76 drug trade and 70, 80, 87, 90 indictments 86–88 Iran-Contra 72 money laundering 69, 79–81, 90 operations 73–75, 86 owners 69–70, 75, 76 as Ponzi scheme 75 terrorism and 70, 72, 73, 88–90 U.S. operations 77–79 Bank of New York-Inter-Maritime Bank 83, 88–89 Barrick Gold Corp. 99, 244 Bath, James R. 76 Bechtel Corp. 3, 99, 138, 278 Belgium 101, 104 Bello, Walden 186–87, 273 Ben Barka, Medhi 26 Benin, foreign debt of 249 Berlusconi, Silvio 54 Bernabe, Riza 191 “big-box” stores, campaigns against 278 bin Faisal al-Saud, Prince Turki 75, 78 bin Laden family enterprises 71–72, 89 bin Laden, Haydar Mohamed 89 bin Laden, Osama 26, 77, 88, 89, 42 and BCCI 71 Binladen, Yeslam 89 bin Mahfouz, Khalid 76, 77, 78, 86, 87, 88, 89 bin Sultan al-Nahyan, Sheikh Zayed 69, 75 Blair, Tony 219, 250 Blandón, José 80 Blum, Jack 79–81, 85–86 Bolivia 236, 273 foreign debt 230, 246, 247, 249 gas industry 154, 208 water privatization in 277 Boro, Isaac 122 Brady, Nicholas 80, 256n12 Brady Plan 221, 227, 228, 240–41, 259n35 Brazil 18, 27, 130, 208, 216, 236 foreign debt 227, 228, 230, 241, 244 Bretton Woods agreements 63 Bretton Woods institutions see World Bank, International Monetary Fund British Gas 139 British Petroleum 139, 144, 153 British Virgin Islands, as offshore banking haven 54 Brown & Root 99 Brown, Gordon 126, 127, 219, 250 Burkina Faso, foreign debt of 246, 249 Burundi 95, 247, 249 Bush, George H.W., and administration 27–28, 69, 72, 77, 80, 87, 88, 91n10, 100, 138, 206, 271, 272 Bush, George W., and administration 66, 271, 278 and Iraq War 13, 28 Bush Agenda, The (Juhasz) 4, 275 Cabot Corporation 104, 112n32 Cameroon, foreign debt of 249 Canada 99, 101, 201, 268, 271 Canadian Export Development Corp. 201, 202, 203, 204, 206 capital flight 24, 43–44, 231–36, 253, 258n27 Carter, Jimmy 76, 140 Casey, William 70, 82, 90 Cavallo, Domingo Felipe 238 Cayman Islands, as offshore banking haven 65, 72, 73, 74, 75, 86 Center for Global Energy Studies 145 Center for Strategic and International Studies 119, 120 Central African Republic 231 Central Intelligence Agency 3, 5, 15 Afghan rebels and 70–71 BCCI and 69, 70, 71–72, 73, 76, 78, 79–82, 85 Saudi intelligence services and 75 Chad, foreign debt of 249 Chavez, Hugo 3, 25, 273 Cheney, Dick 28, 133 Chevron Oil 135, 138, 139, 144, 153 in Nigeria 123–24 Chile 236 1973 coup in 27 China 4, 229, 236 foreign debt 222–23 Third World resources and 5, 117–18, 120–21, 124, 126–27, 130 Chomsky, Noam Hegemony or Survival 4 Christian Peacemaker Team 96, 106–8 Citibank, Citigroup 75, 100, 130, 138, 226, 238, 268 Clifford, Clark 78–79, 85, 86, 88 Clinton, Bill, and administration 119, 120, 126, 212, 271 Coalition of Immokalee Workers 272, 280 COFACE 201, 205, 212 Cogecom 100 cold war 4 and decolonization 16–17 Colombia, human rights in 107 colonialism, decline of formal 13–14 coltan: efforts to control 5, 26, 95 shortages of 95 uses for 94 Commission for Africa 251 Communism: appeal of 14 fall of 4, 13, 27, 137–38, 238 Confessions of an Economic Hit Man (Perkins) 1–4, 6, 17 Congo, Democratic Republic of (Zaire): civil war in 26, 94–96, 108n3 corruption in 24, 254 foreign debt 220, 230, 247, 249 human rights in 107–8 rape as a weapon of war in 93, 96–98 Western role in 98–105, 109n4, 111n29 World Bank and 158 Congo Republic 230, 247, 249 cooperatives 276–77 corporations, as legal persons 277 CorpWatch 278 corruption: culture of 51–54 IMF/World Bank and 24–25, 157–74 offshore banking and 44–45, 52- power and 24 privatization and 24–25, 256n12 COSEC 209–10 Council on Foreign Relations 119–20 dam projects, 209–12 Dar al-Mal al-Islami 89 Daukoru, Edmund 125–27, 128 Davos see World Economic Forum DeBeers Group 101, 103 decolonization 13, 16–17 debt/flight cycle 231–36, 253, 258n27 debt relief, campaigns for 246, 252–55, 268 in U.S. 235 debt, Third World 32, 35 amount of relief 224–29 banks and 226–27, 229, 232–34 business loans 35–37, 227 cold war strategy and 17 corruption and 230, 231, 232, 253, 254, 257n23 1982 crisis 39, 55 disunity among debtor nations 237–39 dubious debts and 230, 235, 247, 253, 257n23, 261n68 growth of 18–19, 181, 229–36 as means of control 17, 23, 183–84 payments on 19, 190–91, 223, 228, 231, 247–48, 275 relief plans 220–22, 225–29, 239–52, 274 size of 221–24, 259n37, 260n46 social/economic impacts of 190–91, 231–36, 247–48 democracy: debt crisis and 236 economic reform and 276–79 global justice and 279–81 in Iraq 151–54 Deutsche Bank 226 drug trade 70, 80, 87 Dubai 73 Dulles, Alan 15 Eagle Wings Resources International 104 East Timor 205 economic development strategies: “big projects” and 16–17 debt-led 18–19 state-led 16–17, 19 economic forecasting 3 economic hit men 5 definition 1, 3, 18 John Perkins and 1–4, 17 types of 5, 18 Ecuador 236, 266 foreign debt 244 Egypt 14 Suez Crisis 15–16 Eisenhower, Dwight, and administration 15 elites, wealthy 4, 18, 57, 176, 183, 228, 232, 253 use of tax havens 43–44, 54–56, 65–66, 226, 232–34 El Salvador 26 empire see imperialism Eni SpA 144, 153 Enron 53, 54, 208–9 Ethiopia 230, 249 European Union 51 agricultural subsidies 22 environment degradation: development projects and 199, 200–211, 257n23 oil production and 115–16 export credit agencies: arms exports and 204–5 campaigns against 209–16 corruption and 200, 202–3, 205, 207–8 debt and 200 environmental effects 199, 200–211 nuclear power and 202, 205–6 operation of 197–201 secrecy of 205, 210–12 size of 201 World Bank and 199, 201, 202, 204 Export Credit Group 210, 215 Export Credits Guarantee Department 201, 205, 211 Export Finance and Investment Corp. 203, 204 export processing zones 178 Export Risk Guarantee 203, 211, 213 ExxonMobil 144 fair trade movement 280 Faisal, Mohammad al-89 Faux, Jeff Global Class War, The 4 Federal Bureau of Investigation 71 Federal Reserve Bank of New York 87 Federal Reserve System 78, 82, 88 Ferguson, Niall 13 First American Bankshares 78, 79, 82, 83, 85, 88 First Quantum Materials 101 First, Ruth 26 Focus on the Global South 187, 273 foreign aid 19 in Congo civil war 99–100 France 236, 244 empire 13 Suez Crisis and 15 free trade 4, 19, 21–23, 268, 271 British development and 21 U.S. development and 21 Free Trade Area of the Americas 271 Friends of the Earth 104, 269 G8 summits 212, 213, 219–20, 221, 246, 250, 271, 275 Gambia 243, 249 García, Alan 74 Gates, Robert 85 Gécamines 100, 104 General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade agricultural trade 186–87 establishment of 267 TRIPS 23 Uruguay Round 23, 267 General Union of Oil Employees 135–36, 141–44 Georgia 207 Germany 212, 213, 216, 236 export credit agency 201, 202, 203, 205, 206, 207, 209–11, 212, 215–16 Green Party 206, 215 Ghana 16 development projects in 16, 207 foreign debt 230, 247, 249 impact of IMF SAP 5, 22 Giuliani, Carlo 271 Global Awareness Collective 278 Global Class War, The (Faux) 4 Global Exchange 278 globalization 3 alternatives to corporate 275–79 economic 176–79, 230, 236 impacts of 185–90, 234, 236, 263–65 of the financial system 55, 63–66 Globalization and Its Discontents (Stiglitz) 3, 4 Global justice movement: achievements of 276–79 campaigns 269–72, 274–75 in Global North 268–69, 271–72, 274 in Global South 271–74 origins of 268–69 proposals of 275–79 protests by 265–66, 270–71 Global South see Third World Gonzalez, Henry 72, 90 Gorbachev, Mikhail 137 Goulart, João 27 Groupement pour le Traitment des Scories du Terril de Lubumbashi 104 Guatemala 14, 236 Arbenz government 26 Guinea, foreign debt of 249 Guinea-Bassau 26, 247, 249 Guyana: export credit agencies and 203 environmental problems 203 foreign debt 241, 243, 244, 246, 247, 249 Haiti 236, 249 World Bank and 158 Halliburton 3, 133, 278 Hankey, Sir Maurice 145 Harken Energy Corp. 77, 78 Heavily Indebted Poor Countries initiative 221, 225, 226, 230, 242–48, 275 conditions of 243–45 results of 248–50 Hegemony or Survival (Chomsky) 4 Hekmatyar, Gulbuddin 70 Helms, Richard 82 Henwood, Doug 23, 177–79 Heritage Foundation 121 Heritage Oil and Gas 100 Hermes Guarantee 201, 202, 203, 205, 206, 207, 209, 211, 212, 215–16 Honduras, foreign debt of 249 Hope in the Dark (Solnit) 281 Hungary, Soviet intervention in 16 Hussein, Saddam 28, 90, 141–42 and BCCI 72 Hutu people 94–96 Hypovereinsbank 209 Ijaw people 116, 121–23, 128 Illaje people 123 immigrant rights movement 281 imperialism 13–14 coups d’état and 27 divide-and-rule tactics 25, 26, 265 post-cold war changes 4–5 pressure on uncooperative countries 25, 142 resistance to 28, 115–17, 121–30, 143–44, 151–54, 176, 191–92, 265–66 resources and 98–106, 118–21, 133–34, 136, 139–40, 145 as system of control 17–28, 176 use of force 5, 25–28, 111n22, 113–14, 115–17, 123, 111n22 India 16, 119, 229, 236, 266 foreign debt 222, 223 export credit agencies and 206, 208 Maheshwar Dam 209–10 Indonesia 236 corruption in 202–3 export credit agencies and 200, 202–3, 205, 207, 216 foreign debt 228, 230, 244 inequality 44 Institute for Policy Studies 278 International Bank for Reconstruction and Development 157 International Development Association 157, 242 International Forum on Globalization 266 International Monetary Fund 3, 4, 19, 135, 275 conflicts of interest 244 debt relief and 221–22, 224, 226, 237, 240, 243–46, 250–51, 252 Iraq and 151–53 Malaysia and 273 neoliberalism and 176–79, 222 offshore banking and 43, 234 protests against 266 structural adjustment programs 22, 23, 245, 265–66 Rwanda and 100 Uganda and 100 International Tax and Investment Center 134–35, 138–39, 144–54 International Trade Organization 267 Iran 14, 90, 145, 200 coup against Mossadegh 14–15 nationalization of oil industry 14 Iran-Contra affair 71–72 Iraq: BCCI and 72 foreign debt 152 Gulf War and 28, 72, 140, 141, 146 human rights in 105–6 oil production and reserves 135–36, 139–54 production sharing agreements in 147–54 sanctions against 72, 142 social conditions in 135, 142, 143 U.S. occupation of 28, 140, 141–42, 146, 250, 275, 278 Israel: and Suez Crisis 15 Yom Kippur War and 17 Ivory Coast 230 foreign debt 244, 249 “jackals” 25–26 James, Deborah 273 Japan 216, 236 Japan Bank for International Cooperation 201, 202, 203, 241 Jersey 88 banking boom in 46–47 impact on island 46, 51–52, 56–62 as offshore banking haven 43, 45, 56–61 Johnson, Chalmers Sorrows of Empire 4 Jordan 241, 266 Jordan, Vernon 100 JPMorganChase 226, 238 Jubilee South 190 Jubilee 2000 268 Juhasz, Antonia Bush Agenda, The 4, 275 Juma’a, Hassan 135–36, 140, 142–44, 154 Kabila, Joseph 96 Kabila, Laurent 94, 96, 99 Kagame, Paul 94, 98–99 ties to U.S. 99 Kazakhstan 138, 139, 144, 150 Keating, Charles 83 Kenya 236 foreign debt 243, 244 Kerry, John 76 investigation of BCCI 79–83, 87, 89 Kirchner, Nestor 273 Korea, Republic of 229, 272 Korten, David When Corporations Rule the World 4 KPMG 52 Krauthammer, Charles 13 Krushchev, Nikita 16 Kurdistan 211–12, 214 Kuwait 133, 141, 146, 152, 154 labor exports 235–36 Lake, Anthony 119–20 Lance, Bert 77 Lawson, Nigel 242 Lawson Plan 221, 242 Lee Kyung Hae 272 Liberia, World Bank lending to 159–67 Liberty Tree Foundation 276 Li Zhaoxing 117–18, 124 Lu Guozeng 117 Lumumba, Patrice 26 Luxembourg, as offshore banking haven 72, 73, 74 Madagascar, foreign debt of 249 Mahathir, Mohamad 273 Malawi 254 foreign debt 243, 249 Malaysia 41–43, 229 defiance of IMF 273 Mali, foreign debt of 246, 249 Marcos, Ferdinand 31, 48, 175, 176, 181–85 markets, corporate domination of 16 Martin, Paul 54 mass media, manipulation of 25 Mauritania, foreign debt of 247, 249 McKinney, Cynthia; hearing on Congo 98–99, 110n11 McLure, Charles 137–39 mercenaries: in Congo 111n22 in Nigeria 5, 25–26, 113–14, 115–17 Mexico 207, 256n14, 273 foreign debt 55, 227, 228, 230, 233, 240–41, 244 labor exports 236 Zapatista uprising 272 Middle East, and struggle for oil 27–28 military-industrial complex 99 military interventions 27–28 Mizban, Faraj Rabat 141 Mitterand Plan 221 Mobutu Sese Seko 24, overthrow of 94 Mondlane, Eduardo 26 Mongolia 207 Morales, Evo 277 Morganthau, Robert 69, 84–87 Moscow, John 58, 87 Mossadegh, Mohammad 3, 14–15, 27 Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta 122–24, 129 Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (Landless Workers’ Movement) 272 Mozambique 26, 27, 230 foreign debt 241, 246, 249 Mueller, Robert 87 mujahadeen (Afghanistan): and BCCI 70 and drug trade 70 Mulroney, Brian 100 Multilateral Agreement on Investment 269–70, 281 Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative 222, 225, 230, 250–52 Multilateral Investment Agreement 269 multinational corporations: export credit agencies and 209–11 export processing zones and 178 globalization, pressure for 138, 268, 275 mercenaries, use of 25–26, 111n22, 113–14, 115–17, 123 resources and 101–6, 111n29, 112n31, 112n32 scandals 5 transfer mispricing by 49–51 offshore banks, use of 24, 49–51 patents, control of 23 Museveni, Yoweri 95 Myanmar, foreign debt of 230 Nada, Youssef Mustafa 71–72 Namibia 95 export credit agencies and 207 Nasser, Gamal Abdel 15–16 National Commercial Bank of Saudi Arabia 88–89 National Family Farm Coalition 272 nationalism: pan-Arab 15 Iranian 14 Nehru, Jawaharlal 16 neocolonialism see imperialism neoliberalism 4, 19 critique of 176–79, 190–92, 234, 236 defined 176–77 economic development and 176–79, 232 economic strategies 178–81, 222, 230, 231, 236 Netherlands, overseas empire of 13 Newmont Mining Corp. 244 New World Order 27–28 Nicaragua 207 foreign debt 225, 230, 247, 249 U.S. proxy war against 26, 27, 79 Nicpil, Liddy 190–91, 192 Nidal, Adu 73 Niger, foreign debt of 241, 249 Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force 121, 123 Niger Delta Volunteer Service 122 Niger Delta region: attack on oil platforms 116–17 as “Next Gulf” 118–21 pollution from oil production 115–16 struggle against Shell 115–16, 121–24 Nigeria 200, 266 China and 117–18 colonial rule 115 corruption in 44–45, 230 foreign debt 223, 230, 233, 243, 244 oil production 115–16, 125–27 World Bank lending in 158, 167–69 Nkrumah, Kwame 16 nongovernmental organizations 239, 250 Noriega, Manuel 80 and BCCI 72, 79 North American Free Trade Agreement 4, 268, 272 nuclear power 205–6, 210 Obasanjo, Olusegun 125, 127 Obiang, Teodoro 48 O’Connor, Brian 144–45 OECD Watch 105 offshore banking havens: arms trade and 71–73 campaign against 62–64 central role in world trade 44, 47–48, 64–65 corruption and 24, 44–45, 52–56, 64, 231–33, 253 drug trade and 70 extraction of wealth 43, 54–56, 64–65, 226, 231–33, 253, 258n58 financial centers and 234, ignored by academia 44, 234 secrecy and 47–48, 53, 66 tax evasion and 43, 48, 49–51, 54, 57–59, 64–65, 226, 232 terrorism and 71, 88 Ogoni people 122–23, 125 Okadigbo, Chuba 116 Okonjo-Iweala, Ngozi 118 Okuntimo, Paul 123 Oil Change International 278 oil price spikes 236 oil production and reserves: future shortages of 28, 140 Indonesia 207 Iraqi 135–36, 144–54 Nigerian 113–14, 128–29 strategies to control 25–26, 27–28, 139–40 OM Group, Inc. 104, 112n31 OPEC 125–26, 128 1973 oil embargo by 17 dollar deposits in First World 17–18 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development 135, 269 “Action Statement on Bribery” 216 export credit agencies and 210, 215 Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises 101, 102, 105–6, 112n31 “OECD Arrangement” 215 Overseas Private Investment Corp. 204, 206–9 Oxfam 43, 62–63, 250 Pakistan 90 Afghan mujahadeen and 70–71 BCCI and 70 export credit agencies and 207 foreign debt 244 Panama 3, 26, 72 as offshore banking haven 73, 74 Papua New Guinea: export credit agencies and 204 mining and environmental problems 204 Paris Club of creditors 220, 225–26, 227, 228, 242, 252 Peru 74 foreign debt 241 impact of IMF SAP 22 petrodollars, recycling of 17–18 Perkins, John 19 Confessions of an Economic Hit Man 1–2, 17 Pharaon, Ghaith 76, 77, 86, 87, 88 Philippines, the 31–34, 35–36 corruption in 181–82 democratic movements in 182–85, 236 economic decline in 187–89 emigration from 189, 236 foreign debt 181, 190–91, 230, 241, 244 Marcos regime 31, 34, 175, 176, 180–85, 261n61 martial law in 180–85 social conditions in 179–80, 185–86, 189–91 U.S. rule 175–76 World Bank and 158, 178–81 Pinochet, General Augusto 27, 45–46, 48 PLATFORM 140, 156n28 Portugal 209–10 Posada Carriles, Luis 26 poverty reduction strategy programs see structural adjustment programs Price Waterhouse 83–84 privatization 191 production sharing agreements 147–54 protectionism 21, 181, 186–87 proxy wars 27, 70–71 Public Citizen 269, 273 public utilities, privatization of 191, 261n61, 277 Rahman, Masihur 85 Reagan, Ronald, and administration 19, 79, 87, 136–37, 239 Iran-Contra affair 72 Rich, Marc 90 Rights and Accountability in Development 101, 104, 105 Rio Tinto Zinc 204 Ritch, Lee 79–80 Robson, John 138 Roldós, Jaime 3, 26 Roosevelt, Kermit 15 Rumsfeld, Donald 138 rural economic development 183, 186–87 Russia: debt relief and 225 oil industry 154 transition to capitalism 137–39, 258n28 Rutledge, Ian 149 Rwanda 94–96, 98, 249 massacre in 94, 99 SACE 201 Sachs Plan 221 Saleh, Salim 95 Saõ Tomé, foreign debt of 247, 249 Saud al-Fulaij, Faisal 86, 87 Saudi Arabia 3, 88 and BCCI 70, 75 Saro-Wiwa, Ken 125–26 Scholz, Wesley S. 104 Scowcroft, Brent 72 Senegal 16, 249 Senghor, Léopold 16 September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks 71 Shell Oil 144 Nigeria and 113–15, 122, 123, 125–29 at World Economic Forum 127 Shinawatra, Thaksin 54 Sierra Club 269 Sierra Leone 247 SmartMeme 276 Solnit, Rebecca Hope in the Dark 281 Somalia 251 Sorrows of Empire (Johnson) 4 South Africa 236 military interventions 27 Truth and Reconciliation Commission 26 Soviet Union 13, 14 de-Stalinization 16 Hungary, intervention in 16 influence in Third World 14 U.S. and 137 Stephens, Jackson 76, 77 Stiglitz, Joseph 24 Globalization and Its Discontents 3, 4 structural adjustment programs (SAPs) 19, 229–30 in Ghana 5, 22 in Peru 22 in the Philippines 176–79, 183–85, 190–92 in Zambia 22 Sudan 230, 251 Suharto 200, 202–3 Syria 211 Switzerland, as offshore banking haven 45, 65, 72 Taco Bell, boycott of 280 Tanzania, foreign debt of 247, 249 tax evasion 43, 48, 49–51, 54, 57–59, 64–65 Tax Foundation 137–38 tax havens see offshore banking havens Tax Justice Network 63 Tax Reform Act of 1986 138 Tenke Mining 99 terrorism: as EHM strategy 26, 72 financing of 42, 88–89 inequality and 44 Islamist 71–72, 89 Palestinian 73 Thatcher, Margaret 19, 138 Third World: as commodity producers 17, 23 conditions in 5, 96–97, 106–8, 116, 179–80, 185–90, 234, 236 development strategies 176–79 divisions among countries 265–68 elites in 25, 28, 43–44, 176, 226, 232–34 emergence of 14 lack of development in 232, 237 terms of trade and 22, 178–79 Third World Network 269 Tidewater Inc. 113 Torrijos, Omar 3, 26 Total S.A. 144, 153 trade unions 135–36, 141–44, 180, 186, 269, 274 transfer mispricing 49–51 cost to Third World 50 Transparency International 45 Turkey: export credit agencies and 206 Ilisu Dam 211–14 Turkmenistan 200 Uganda 94–96 foreign debt 241, 246, 249 Union Bank of Switzerland 57, 58, 77, 226, 250 United Arab Emirates 69, 73 United Fruit Company 15 United Kingdom 213 NCP for Congo 102–3 empire 13–14, 115, 129, 145 Iran and 14–15 Iraq occupation and 146, 151, 152 offshore banking and; Suez Crisis and 15 United Nations: trade issues and 265, 276 Panel of Experts, Congo 100–106, 112n32 United Nations Conference on Trade and Development 220, 265, 267 United States: agricultural subsidies 22 aid 98 as empire 13, 28 cold war strategy of 16, 17, 24, 26 in Congo 99, 104, 105 debt-led development strategy of 176–79 Iran coup and 14–15 Iraqi oil and 133–34, 136, 139–40 Iraq wars 72, 133, 141–42 Islamists and 26 Nigerian oil and 118–21 Philippines and 175–76, 180 strategic doctrines 27–28, 118–19 support of Contras 72 trade deficit 23 trade policies 267 U.S.


pages: 433 words: 127,171

The Grid: The Fraying Wires Between Americans and Our Energy Future by Gretchen Bakke

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Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, autonomous vehicles, back-to-the-land, big-box store, Buckminster Fuller, demand response, dematerialisation, distributed generation, energy security, energy transition, full employment, illegal immigration, indoor plumbing, Internet of things, laissez-faire capitalism, Menlo Park, Negawatt, new economy, post-oil, profit motive, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, smart grid, smart meter, the built environment, too big to fail, washing machines reduced drudgery, Whole Earth Catalog

Offices, factories, and other workplaces also need to be retrofitted and outfitted, and so do the places where we shop, socialize, and eat out. These are slower to transform, largely because of the cost. Putting solar panels on the roofs of all the nation’s Walmarts (this is happening) is not the same as putting solar panels on top of one’s garage. Nor is the difference just a matter of scale. Every suburb and semirural outpost where big-box stores cluster has its own culture of wires, its own utility, balancing authority, and regulatory apparatus that must prepare for (and often upgrade existing infrastructure to accept) every new source of power. When we consider the grid in this way it becomes even more evident that some sort of hub capable of translating across all the competing interests and integrating all the structural intransigencies will be essential to the success of an infrastructural upgrade that is national in scale.

And yet conservation and efficiency measures that reduce our need for electricity are as important to reforming our energy system as is the mainstreaming of renewable ways of making that electricity—large and small. Two different sorts of things, then, need to be integrated into our accounting. First, all the electricity made, no matter who is making it. And second, all the electricity not used, no matter who is saving it. If we can work out how to do this, systemically, it will start to matter when a couple of big-box stores, a cement factory, or a subdivision or two are energy-efficient enough that a utility, or anyone else, can avoid building a new power plant. The owners of these enterprises, just like any homeowner who’s invested in a smart thermostat or a host of compact fluorescent bulbs, naturally want credit for what they are saving. Current rate structures, which charge different amounts for watts depending on when in a billing cycle (or when in a day) they were used, however, don’t translate efforts at conserving power very well into the charges on the bill.


pages: 222 words: 54,506

One Click: Jeff Bezos and the Rise of Amazon.com by Richard L. Brandt

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Amazon Web Services, automated trading system, big-box store, call centre, cloud computing, Dynabook, Elon Musk, inventory management, Jeff Bezos, Kevin Kelly, new economy, science of happiness, search inside the book, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, software patent, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Tony Hsieh, Whole Earth Catalog, Y2K

However, a big part of that jump was due to print-on-demand (POD) books, produced by specialty printers that focus on public domain titles, self-publishers, and micro-niche publications. These titles jumped 181 percent over 2008. The problem is that actual sales of these titles are very low compared to books from the major publishing houses. And retailers say they have not seen the number of readers increase with lower prices. “The big box stores were supposed to increase the numbers of readers too,” says Richard Howorth, the owner of Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi, who was one of the teachers of the class on running a bookstore that Bezos took. “But they didn’t.” The other complaint is the tactics Amazon uses to keep its prices low. It has enormous influence now, and publishers complain that Amazon puts huge pressure on them to lower wholesale prices, squeezing profit margins.

Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls by David Sedaris

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big-box store, call centre, desegregation, illegal immigration, index card, Maui Hawaii, remote working, stem cell

“Put this in your purse or glove compartment and think of me the next time you get a hangover.” In ’08, my gifts were pretty paltry. I’d bought eight dozen safety pins in Greece, and while they were foreign, they didn’t look much different from what you could get in the States. Ditto the German Band-Aids. So when Bob mentioned Costco I felt that all my problems had been solved. As with every big-box store in Winston-Salem, it took fifteen minutes to drive there and another fifteen minutes to cross the parking lot. If the building seemed large from the outside, inside it was twice as big, the kind of space that has its own weather. The carts, too were slightly oversize, and made me appear even smaller than I actually am. Pushing one toward the hardware section, my brother-in-law and I looked like a pair of twelve-year-olds, the sort with that disease that speeds up the aging process and leaves them wizened and tragic.


pages: 209 words: 63,649

The Purpose Economy: How Your Desire for Impact, Personal Growth and Community Is Changing the World by Aaron Hurst

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3D printing, Airbnb, Atul Gawande, barriers to entry, big-box store, business process, call centre, carbon footprint, citizen journalism, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, disintermediation, Elon Musk, Firefox, glass ceiling, greed is good, housing crisis, informal economy, Jane Jacobs, jimmy wales, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, means of production, new economy, pattern recognition, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, Ray Oldenburg, remote working, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, Tony Hsieh, too big to fail, underbanked, women in the workforce, young professional, Zipcar

Every Sunday outside the playground in my neighborhood of Park Slope, Brooklyn, the aisles of the farmers’ market are packed with those looking for the best pickles in New York City, local goat cheese, or a bounty of beautiful produce grown by small-scale farmers within a hundred miles. And while the aisles may be harder to navigate than the typical chain grocery store, the popularity of these markets is undeniable. From bodega-lined urban neighborhoods to big-box store suburbs, we are seeing a longing for a meaningful connection to our food—a way to create community, connect with the growers, and heal the planet. In the Purpose Economy, we see the circumvention of traditional retail channels, which mark up goods at several points along the food chain. An increasingly robust direct producer-to-consumer retail capacity is emerging in which any individual can sell her wares at whatever price she determines.


pages: 248 words: 72,174

The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future by Chris Guillebeau

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

big-box store, clean water, follow your passion, if you build it, they will come, index card, informal economy, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, late fees, price anchoring, Ralph Waldo Emerson, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, Tony Hsieh, web application

Some eventually opted for expansion, either by hiring or building teams of “virtual assistants.” Erica Cosminsky grew her transcription team to seventeen people at one point, but by working with contractors instead of hiring employees, she retained the freedom to keep things simple. The Tom Bihn luggage factory in Seattle grew to a seven-figure operation, while remaining completely independent and turning down offers to sell its line to big-box stores. Others pursued partnerships that allowed each person to focus on what he or she was best at. Fresh out of design school and disillusioned with their entry-level jobs, Jen Adrion and Omar Noory began selling custom-made maps out of an apartment in Columbus, Ohio. Patrick McCrann and Rich Strauss were competitors who teamed up to create a community for endurance athletes. Several of our stories are about married couples or partners building a business together.


pages: 261 words: 64,977

Pity the Billionaire: The Unexpected Resurgence of the American Right by Thomas Frank

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, bank run, big-box store, bonus culture, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, Deng Xiaoping, financial innovation, housing crisis, invisible hand, Naomi Klein, obamacare, payday loans, profit maximization, profit motive, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, strikebreaker, The Chicago School, The Myth of the Rational Market, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, union organizing, Washington Consensus, white flight, Works Progress Administration

Why should society pay for the retirement of someone who hasn’t been responsible and collected Krugerrands? The older generation had a rendezvous with destiny, their hero FDR used to say, and soon it will occur to America’s class-war populists that every slow-moving moocher and senior-parasite needs to make that rendezvous—which is to say, that appointment with the human resources guy at the local big-box store. Every problem that the editorialists fret about today will get worse, of course: inequality, global warming, financial bubbles. But on America will go, chasing a dream that is more vivid than life itself, on into the seething Arcadia of all against all. Notes Introduction 1. As far as I can tell, the first to use a form of this metaphor was Representative Eric Cantor (R-VA), who told the Washington Independent reporter Dave Weigel in September of 2009 that the movement was an “awakening in America.”


pages: 267 words: 78,857

Discardia: More Life, Less Stuff by Dinah Sanders

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Atul Gawande, big-box store, carbon footprint, clean water, clockwatching, cognitive bias, collaborative consumption, credit crunch, endowment effect, Firefox, game design, Inbox Zero, income per capita, index card, indoor plumbing, Internet Archive, Kevin Kelly, late fees, Marshall McLuhan, McMansion, Merlin Mann, side project, Silicon Valley, Stewart Brand

I find that, after the initial glut of buying many things for relatively less money, I spend more in a warehouse store than I would by shopping at neighborhood stores—even pricier than average ones—and end up with more than I can use or with things that I don't really need. Even sillier, I wind up buying not quite what I wanted—different brands, other flavors, higher calories—because the selection is more limited. Take a good hard look at your shopping habits and the kind of eating habits to which they're leading. Try taking a month off from the big-box stores. Remember: Locally owned, independent merchants return significantly more of their money to your local economy. Get more fresh fruit and vegetables, pick out ingredients with which to cook, or make a sandwich for tomorrow's lunch instead of a frozen entree. Visit the farmers' market and find the good bakery nearest to your house. At the end of the month see how you feel, and notice what you're eating and what you've spent.


pages: 296 words: 82,501

Stuffocation by James Wallman

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3D printing, Airbnb, back-to-the-land, Berlin Wall, big-box store, Black Swan, BRICs, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, clean water, collaborative consumption, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, Fall of the Berlin Wall, happiness index / gross national happiness, high net worth, income inequality, James Hargreaves, Joseph Schumpeter, Martin Wolf, McMansion, means of production, Nate Silver, Occupy movement, post-industrial society, Post-materialism, post-materialism, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Skype, spinning jenny, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, Thorstein Veblen, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, World Values Survey, Zipcar

He is a tall man with a bushy, black beard who goes by the name of Dave. Most days, you’ll find Dave – full name David Roberts – in regular blue jeans and a dark red plaid shirt. He grew up lower middle class, in an average backwater in Tennessee. It was the sort of monotonous town that is the inevitable result of mass production. It was based, if you can call it that, on the modern world’s signpost to materialism: a suburban row of big-box stores. “It was very dull,” Dave will tell you. “The sort of place where kids would drive up and down the strip and the parking lot for fun, and where you’d bump into people you knew in Walmart.” Dave now lives a regular, low-key life, in a nondescript neighbourhood, in a smallish house, in Seattle, with his two children and wife, Jennifer Roberts. He calls her Jen. She has long dark hair. Friends say she looks like a tall version of the comedienne Tina Fey.


pages: 309 words: 78,361

Plenitude: The New Economics of True Wealth by Juliet B. Schor

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Asian financial crisis, big-box store, business climate, carbon footprint, cleantech, Community Supported Agriculture, credit crunch, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, decarbonisation, dematerialisation, demographic transition, deskilling, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, Gini coefficient, global village, income inequality, income per capita, Isaac Newton, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, life extension, McMansion, new economy, peak oil, pink-collar, post-industrial society, prediction markets, purchasing power parity, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, sharing economy, Simon Kuznets, single-payer health, smart grid, The Chicago School, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, transaction costs, Zipcar

Innovation in multipurposing requires more design up front, which increases the initial cost, but in the long run, it delivers more service per pound of resources or financial outlay. By contrast, items with dedicated uses, whether they’re kitchen appliances or specialized wardrobes, take a great ecological toll from a life-cycle perspective because they are used more infrequently. A third principle is customization, which brings us to the retail environment that supports the plenitude spending model. It’s the other end of the spectrum from the big-box store with its high turnover, low prices, and minimal service. Because the consumer is investing in fewer, more expensive items, they need to be perfect fits and remain so over time. To achieve that match, retailing should be more personal, based on communication between the designer and the consumer, and offer postpurchase product maintenance. Smaller, local stores do better with this model, in part because they can charge more (although it’s not impossible for big companies).


pages: 240 words: 73,209

The Education of a Value Investor: My Transformative Quest for Wealth, Wisdom, and Enlightenment by Guy Spier

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Albert Einstein, Atul Gawande, Benoit Mandelbrot, big-box store, Black Swan, Checklist Manifesto, Clayton Christensen, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Exxon Valdez, Gordon Gekko, housing crisis, Isaac Newton, Long Term Capital Management, Mahatma Gandhi, mandelbrot fractal, NetJets, pattern recognition, pre–internet, random walk, Ronald Reagan, South Sea Bubble, Steve Jobs, winner-take-all economy, young professional

My study of companies like Wal-Mart and Costco led me to invest in CarMax—the Wal-Mart or Costco of secondhand cars. Since opening its first store in Virginia in 1993, CarMax has sold over 4 million cars, and it currently boasts about a hundred stores across America. It’s a highly efficient operation with a narrow spread between what it pays for cars and the price at which it sells them. Customers know that the sales prices in its big-box stores are among the lowest around. And there’s a huge selection of cars on display, ranging from two-year-old Mercedes SUVs to Mustang convertibles from the 1950s. There is one other key aspect to the CarMax business model: it provides customers with access to financing. In the United States, a significant portion of cars are leased. Without financing, many CarMax customers wouldn’t be able to buy its cars.


pages: 255 words: 75,172

Sleeping Giant: How the New Working Class Will Transform America by Tamara Draut

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, battle of ideas, big-box store, blue-collar work, collective bargaining, David Brooks, declining real wages, deindustrialization, desegregation, Detroit bankruptcy, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, ending welfare as we know it, Ferguson, Missouri, financial deregulation, full employment, immigration reform, income inequality, invisible hand, job satisfaction, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, minimum wage unemployment, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, obamacare, occupational segregation, payday loans, pink-collar, Plutocrats, plutocrats, profit motive, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, rent-seeking, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trickle-down economics, union organizing, upwardly mobile, War on Poverty, white flight, women in the workforce, young professional

But the working class is not dead. It’s just different. No longer shuttered away in a factory, today’s working class is interwoven into nearly every aspect of our lives. It’s the black woman in a caretaker’s smock wearing special comfort shoes and a name tag above her heart. It’s the white man in a uniform (which he had to pay for) who punches in each day and restocks the shelves of your favorite big-box store. It’s the Latina home health aide who cares for your mom, the janitor who empties your office wastebasket, the woman who rings up your groceries, and the crew who fix the bumpy freeway you take every day to work. Yet despite how interwoven this new working class is in our lives, we don’t really know enough about it. Its members’ concerns don’t shape the national agenda or top the headlines in major newspapers.


pages: 265 words: 69,310

What's Yours Is Mine: Against the Sharing Economy by Tom Slee

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4chan, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, asset-backed security, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, bitcoin, blockchain, citizen journalism, collaborative consumption, congestion charging, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, David Brooks, don't be evil, gig economy, Hacker Ethic, income inequality, informal economy, invisible hand, Jacob Appelbaum, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Khan Academy, Kibera, Kickstarter, license plate recognition, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, move fast and break things, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, new economy, Occupy movement, openstreetmap, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, principal–agent problem, profit motive, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, rent control, ride hailing / ride sharing, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, software is eating the world, South of Market, San Francisco, TaskRabbit, The Nature of the Firm, Thomas L Friedman, transportation-network company, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, ultimatum game, urban planning, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, Y Combinator, Zipcar

On the other, the tiniest outlets have indeed earned a substantial portion of the total eyeballs . . . . It is the middle-class outlets that have seen relative decline in the online world. Moreover, it is overwhelmingly smaller, local media organizations that have lost out to national sources.38 The distinction between Hindman and Anderson’s Long Tail comes down to comparisons. The Long Tail compared online platforms to large chain stores and big-box stores such as Walmart or the now-defunct Blockbuster video, Tower Records, or Borders books, but Hindman compares the online ecosystem to a more complete range of non-digital national and local media. As a result, he catches a key aspect of the comparison that Anderson misses: variety in a world subject to “the tyranny of geography” was always supplied by a variety of institutions, each capable of working at different scales.


pages: 270 words: 79,992

The End of Big: How the Internet Makes David the New Goliath by Nicco Mele

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3D printing, 4chan, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, bitcoin, business climate, call centre, Cass Sunstein, centralized clearinghouse, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, collaborative editing, crony capitalism, cross-subsidies, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, death of newspapers, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, en.wikipedia.org, Exxon Valdez, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Galaxy Zoo, global supply chain, Google Chrome, Gordon Gekko, Hacker Ethic, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, Mark Zuckerberg, minimum viable product, Mohammed Bouazizi, Mother of all demos, Narrative Science, new economy, Occupy movement, Peter Thiel, pirate software, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, social web, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, Ted Nelson, Telecommunications Act of 1996, telemarketer, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, uranium enrichment, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, Zipcar

I can buy grapes from South America in my supermarket in Massachusetts for a few dollars because it is astonishingly cheap to ship the grapes over approximately 5,000 miles. But not for long. Christopher Steiner, a senior reporter at Forbes, has estimated that if (when?) gas hits $14 per gallon, WalMart (the world’s largest truck fleet) will not be able to afford to ship goods from China and other manufacturing centers to their big box stores.37 Paying $14 a gallon for gas may not be so far off; as the noted author and journalist Peter Maas has noted, “even the oil companies themselves—who are the most optimistic—say ‘maybe another 20–30 years, we’ll be able to maintain or increase the amount of oil we’re producing every day. … That is the tail end. That is the twilight.”38 Moving to small in food and energy production helps free us from oil in part by allowing for more efficient local distribution.


pages: 251 words: 76,128

Borrow: The American Way of Debt by Louis Hyman

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asset-backed security, barriers to entry, big-box store, cashless society, collateralized debt obligation, credit crunch, deindustrialization, deskilling, diversified portfolio, financial innovation, Ford paid five dollars a day, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, income inequality, market bubble, McMansion, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, Network effects, new economy, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price stability, Ronald Reagan, statistical model, technology bubble, transaction costs, women in the workforce

Surveying the demands of a population could be expensive. But, of course, as one discount store owner suggested, “the easiest thing to do is to open up near a shopping center because you know darn well they made an expensive survey and, if they thought it is right, it must be right.”23 Kmart turned its exclusion into an opportunity, opting instead for freestanding locations with its own 1,000-car parking lots—the first big-box stores.24 Shoppers appreciated the free parking, which was largely absent at downtown department stores. In some ways, Cunningham rode the baby-boom wave. Young people and young families came of age at a disproportionate rate in the mid- to late 1960s, and it was always the young who needed good deals. The good deals also helped those of more moderate means. Opinions on discount stores strongly reflected income differences.


pages: 238 words: 75,994

A Burglar's Guide to the City by Geoff Manaugh

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big-box store, card file, dark matter, game design, index card, megacity, megastructure, Minecraft, Skype, smart cities, statistical model, the built environment, urban planning

* For Roofman, it must have looked as if the rest of the world were locked in a trance, doing the exact same things at the exact same times of day—in the same kinds of buildings, no less—and not just in one state, but everywhere. It’s no real surprise, then, that he would become greedy, ambitious, overconfident, stepping up to larger and larger businesses—but still targeting franchises and big-box stores. They would all have their own spatial formulas and repeating events, he knew; they would all be run according to predictable loops inside identical layouts all over the country. With overconfidence came carelessness, and Roofman was eventually arrested and imprisoned in North Carolina’s Brown Creek Correctional Institution. Now the police finally knew his name and backstory: Roofman was Jeffery Manchester, a former U.S.


pages: 603 words: 182,781

Aerotropolis by John D. Kasarda, Greg Lindsay

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3D printing, air freight, airline deregulation, airport security, Akira Okazaki, Asian financial crisis, back-to-the-land, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, blood diamonds, borderless world, British Empire, call centre, carbon footprint, Clayton Christensen, cleantech, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, credit crunch, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, edge city, Edward Glaeser, failed state, food miles, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frank Gehry, fudge factor, full employment, future of work, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, George Gilder, global supply chain, global village, gravity well, Haber-Bosch Process, Hernando de Soto, hive mind, if you build it, they will come, illegal immigration, inflight wifi, interchangeable parts, intermodal, invention of the telephone, inventory management, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Kangaroo Route, knowledge worker, kremlinology, labour mobility, Marshall McLuhan, Masdar, McMansion, megacity, Menlo Park, microcredit, Network effects, New Economic Geography, new economy, New Urbanism, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, Peter Thiel, pets.com, pink-collar, pre–internet, RFID, Richard Florida, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, Seaside, Florida, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spice trade, spinning jenny, stem cell, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, sustainable-tourism, telepresence, the built environment, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Nature of the Firm, thinkpad, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, Tony Hsieh, trade route, transcontinental railway, transit-oriented development, traveling salesman, trickle-down economics, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, walkable city, white flight, Yogi Berra

The announcement of its location in 1965 touched off a frenzy of speculation in the pastureland of Southlake, Euless, Grapevine, Irving, and half a dozen other farm towns. Today these communities have a population of a million. The remaining acreage at Las Colinas has been sold; the Metroplex has run out of room. The last place to build is within DFW itself. The airport is planning its own strip malls, big-box stores, and convention hotels to pair with a miniature Las Colinas tucked against the fairways of its twin golf courses. Fearing this day would come, the communities surrounding DFW sued twenty years ago to stop its expansion, refusing to let it build on what was technically their land. Euless, Grapevine, Coppell, and Irving took their case to the Supreme Court, and lost. These days, DFW gives each a cut from whatever happens to land on their property.

The price tag for creating ten thousand new jobs is $1.5 billion. That doesn’t include the year his firm spent disassembling the factory, yielding forty thousand tons of scrap metal and one hundred thousand tons of recyclable concrete. Auto plants are easy by Jacoby’s standards; try cleaning up after a steel mill’s mess. That’s what he did in midtown Atlanta to create Atlantic Station, a 138-acre constellation of high-rises, condos, townhomes, and big-box stores. Nine thousand loads of contaminated soil were extracted from the foundations of Atlantic Steel, replaced with twenty-eight hundred trees and the first LEED Silver-certified tower in the Southeast. (Ironically, some of the country’s greenest buildings stand on its most polluted sites.) To do it, he needed federal, state, and local cooperation and funds. He needed twenty million square feet rezoned and a bridge built across not one, but two expressways to connect the desolate site to civilization.


pages: 829 words: 186,976

The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail-But Some Don't by Nate Silver

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airport security, availability heuristic, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, big-box store, Black Swan, Broken windows theory, Carmen Reinhart, Claude Shannon: information theory, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, cognitive dissonance, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, complexity theory, computer age, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, diversification, Donald Trump, Edmond Halley, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, en.wikipedia.org, equity premium, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, fear of failure, Fellow of the Royal Society, Freestyle chess, fudge factor, George Akerlof, haute cuisine, Henri Poincaré, high batting average, housing crisis, income per capita, index fund, Internet Archive, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, locking in a profit, Loma Prieta earthquake, market bubble, Mikhail Gorbachev, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Monroe Doctrine, mortgage debt, Nate Silver, new economy, Norbert Wiener, PageRank, pattern recognition, pets.com, prediction markets, Productivity paradox, random walk, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, savings glut, security theater, short selling, Skype, statistical model, Steven Pinker, The Great Moderation, The Market for Lemons, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, too big to fail, transaction costs, transfer pricing, University of East Anglia, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, wikimedia commons

The bigger problem, however, is that the frequentist methods—in striving for immaculate statistical procedures that can’t be contaminated by the researcher’s bias—keep him hermetically sealed off from the real world. These methods discourage the researcher from considering the underlying context or plausibility of his hypothesis, something that the Bayesian method demands in the form of a prior probability. Thus, you will see apparently serious papers published on how toads can predict earthquakes,50 or how big-box stores like Target beget racial hate groups,51 which apply frequentist tests to produce “statistically significant” (but manifestly ridiculous) findings. Data Is Useless Without Context Fisher mellowed out some toward the end of his career, occasionally even praising Bayes.52 And some of the methods he developed over his long career (although not the ones that are in the widest use today) were really compromises between Bayesian and frequentist approaches.

Nate Silver, “Rasmussen Polls Were Biased and Inaccurate; Quinnipiac, SurveyUSA Performed Strongly,” FiveThirtyEight, New York Times, November 4, 2010. http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/11/04/rasmussen-polls-were-biased-and-inaccurate-quinnipiac-surveyusa-performed-strongly/. 50. R. A. Grant and T. Halliday, “Predicting the Unpredictable: Evidence of Pre-Seismic Anticipatory Behaviour in the Common Toad,” Journal of Zoology, 700, January 25, 2010. http://image.guardian.co.uk/sys-files/Environment/documents/2010/03/30/toads.pdf. 51. “Hate Group Formation Associated with Big-Box Stores,” ScienceNewsline.com, April 11, 2012. http://www.sciencenewsline.com/psychology/2012041121000031.html. 52. Aldrich, “R. A. Fisher on Bayes and Bayes’ Theorem.” 53. McGrayne, The Theory That Would Not Die, Kindle location 111. 54. Sir Ronald A. Fisher, “Smoking: The Cancer Controversy,” Oliver and Boyd. http://www.york.ac.uk/depts/maths/histstat/smoking.htm. 55. Jean Marston, “Smoking Gun,” NewScientist, no. 2646, March 8, 2008. http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg19726460.900-smoking-gun.html. 56.


pages: 372 words: 96,474

Dishwasher: One Man's Quest to Wash Dishes in All Fifty States (P.S.) by Pete Jordan

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big-box store, Exxon Valdez, financial independence, Haight Ashbury, index card, Mason jar, rent control, Ronald Reagan, Upton Sinclair, urban planning, wage slave

For weeks, the talk of the town had been the closing of the 120 Dishwasher old Wal-Mart and the opening of the new, farther-out-oftown, superenormous Wal-Mart. Around the restaurant, as well as around town, the question on everyone’s lips was the same: “Have you been yet?” I hadn’t been yet. So I went to see what all the fuss was about. While following the sidewalk-less boulevard out of town, I got a bad feeling as I lumbered past all the big-box stores and drive-throughs. After finally reaching the store, within minutes of entering I became disoriented, developed a rare headache and had to flee. Though my first Wal-Mart experience lasted no longer than six or seven minutes, it made a deep impression on me. If municipal strolling was limited to this monstrosity’s aisles, then I knew I wouldn’t be able to stay settled in a town like this for long.


pages: 268 words: 112,708

Culture works: the political economy of culture by Richard Maxwell

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1960s counterculture, AltaVista, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, business process, corporate governance, cuban missile crisis, deindustrialization, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, global village, Howard Rheingold, income inequality, informal economy, intermodal, late capitalism, Marshall McLuhan, medical malpractice, Network effects, profit maximization, Ralph Nader, refrigerator car, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, structural adjustment programs, talking drums, telemarketer, the built environment, Thorstein Veblen, Unsafe at Any Speed, urban renewal, Victor Gruen, Whole Earth Catalog, women in the workforce

But it is worth the effort, because “redevelopers” sometimes act in violation of state and local laws, relying mostly on the public’s lack of awareness to do so. Thus, well-informed challenges are the ones that pay off. Putting up barriers to rapid exurban growth is prudent and conservative in a good sense, because the destruction of the natural environment and older social landscapes is not an easily reversible process. Along these lines, activists in many small communities are working hard to derail the coming of big-box stores and megamalls to their towns, albeit against the enormous odds of corporate wealth and behind-the-scenes politicking.90 The overextension of shopping also helps to destroy cultural environments. The reverse face of the retail boom is the cumulative neglect of 189 Susan G. D av i s spaces, places, and activities that cannot be penetrated by commerce or accommodated to personal consumption; in other words, it is part of what many now feel is the inexorable commercialization of more or less everything.


pages: 326 words: 29,543

The Docks by Bill Sharpsteen

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affirmative action, anti-communist, big-box store, collective bargaining, Google Earth, intermodal, inventory management, jitney, Just-in-time delivery, new economy, Panamax, place-making, Port of Oakland, post-Panamax, RAND corporation, refrigerator car, strikebreaker, women in the workforce

place it is, the port is more like the electric company—that is, rarely considered in daily life. There’s nothing special about flipping on a light switch, and there’s certainly nothing remarkable these days about imports or the semi-exotic shipping industry that brings imported products here across an ocean that no longer seems all that huge. Those wonderful walnut picture frames sold at the local discount big-box store may come from China, but they don’t even look “imported.” Strictly speaking, the culture-neutral frames may not be a completely Chinese product, given that the walnut might have been shipped to China from the United States, manufactured into frames, and then sent back. If nothing else, the only way most people recognize an import is by the impossibly low price (so low that you’d rather not know how much they paid the person who made it).


pages: 321 words: 85,267

Suburban Nation by Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, Jeff Speck

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A Pattern Language, big-box store, car-free, Celebration, Florida, City Beautiful movement, desegregation, edge city, Frank Gehry, housing crisis, if you build it, they will come, income inequality, intermodal, Jane Jacobs, jitney, McMansion, New Urbanism, place-making, price mechanism, profit motive, Ralph Nader, Seaside, Florida, Silicon Valley, skinny streets, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Great Good Place, transit-oriented development, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, white flight, working poor, Works Progress Administration

This pattern continues as local governments, reluctant to leave any federal or state money on the table, build every new road they can get someone else to pay for. ay Already a number of highway-intersection-spawned commercial centers have become so congested that a new generation of bypasses are being built around them. One wonders if the malls these intersections serve, like the downtowns they once replaced, will likewise decline as the traffic moves one step farther outward, to the big-box stores located on the new ring. az Carol Jouzatis, “39 Million People Work, Live Outside City Centers,” 2A. As a result of its massive highway construction, the Atlanta area is “one of the nation’s worst violators of Federal standards for ground-level ozone, with most of the problem caused by motorvehicle emissions” (Kevin Sack, “Governor Proposes Remedy for Atlanta Sprawl,” A14). ba Jill Kruse, “Remove It and They Will Disappear,” 5, 7.


pages: 336 words: 90,749

How to Fix Copyright by William Patry

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A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, barriers to entry, big-box store, borderless world, business intelligence, citizen journalism, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, en.wikipedia.org, facts on the ground, Frederick Winslow Taylor, George Akerlof, Gordon Gekko, haute cuisine, informal economy, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, lone genius, means of production, new economy, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, semantic web, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, The Chicago School, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, web application, winner-take-all economy

The analog world was one of fragmented markets, each controlled by gatekeepers, with overall access controlled by a central gatekeeper: in the case of music, the record label or music publisher (often divisions of the same media corporation) to whom the composer or performer had to assign rights. Royalties were received, if ever, only after cost recoupments, including recording studio time, as well as manufacturing and promotion costs. CDs were in record stores or big-box stores like Wal-Mart which exercised content control. MTV provided the outlet for music videos. Radio play was controlled by large companies such as Clear Channel. Today, bands or individual performers can be their own studio technicians, manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and promoters, LAW IS NOT THE SOLUTION TO BUSINESS PROBLEMS 145 through no- or small-cost websites and social networks.


pages: 258 words: 83,303

Why Your World Is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller: Oil and the End of Globalization by Jeff Rubin

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air freight, banking crisis, big-box store, BRICs, carbon footprint, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, energy security, food miles, hydrogen economy, illegal immigration, immigration reform, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Just-in-time delivery, market clearing, megacity, North Sea oil, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, profit maximization, reserve currency, South Sea Bubble, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade liberalization

And if they are, will they still be driving cars? Either our living arrangements or our transportation options are going to have to change. In other words, our whole way of life depends on the price at the pumps, and that price depends on an uninterrupted supply of oil. Think about that as you drive to work. Have a look at all those car dealerships, the gas stations and garages, the drive-thrus and big-box stores surrounded by huge parking lots. Try to imagine your life—picking up dry cleaning, taking your kids to hockey, going to Home Depot on the weekend, heading to the cottage in the summer—without a car. If you are like most people in North America or Australia, or even a less car-dependent country like the UK, you probably can’t do it. And if you can’t, you now have a small sense of what depends on the price of what comes out of the pump.


pages: 317 words: 84,400

Automate This: How Algorithms Came to Rule Our World by Christopher Steiner

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23andMe, Ada Lovelace, airport security, Al Roth, algorithmic trading, backtesting, big-box store, Black-Scholes formula, call centre, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, delta neutral, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, dumpster diving, Flash crash, Gödel, Escher, Bach, High speed trading, Howard Rheingold, index fund, Isaac Newton, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, knowledge economy, late fees, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, medical residency, Narrative Science, PageRank, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, prediction markets, quantitative hedge fund, Renaissance Technologies, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Sergey Aleynikov, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, speech recognition, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, transaction costs, upwardly mobile, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Y Combinator

It’s a process that’s been chalked up as one of those indefinable sparks within the human subconscious—a mixture of right brainpower and long stretches of dedicated thinking on the matter, some conscious, some not. Creativity is thought of as something so incorporeal that it can hardly be taught, let alone left for a machine to carry out. But there now exist algorithms, including one with a human name—Annie—that can produce music as daring and original as the works of masters like Brahms, Bach, and Mozart, and as popular and catchy as the tunes played inside a big-box store. YOU HAVE A 41 PERCENT CHANCE OF BEING LADY GAGA As a musician and writer, Ben Novak drove the car he could afford in 2004: a 1993 Nissan Bluebird. The vehicle propelled him around his hometown of Auckland, New Zealand, just fine. Novak’s main complaint about the car concerned its radio, which could capture only two FM stations out of the dozens broadcasting in the city. As somebody who spent every spare minute imbibing or playing music, Novak found this no minor aggravation.


pages: 313 words: 92,907

Green Metropolis: Why Living Smaller, Living Closer, and Driving Less Are Thekeys to Sustainability by David Owen

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A Pattern Language, active transport: walking or cycling, big-box store, Buckminster Fuller, car-free, carbon footprint, clean water, congestion charging, delayed gratification, distributed generation, drive until you qualify, East Village, food miles, garden city movement, hydrogen economy, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, linear programming, McMansion, Murano, Venice glass, Negawatt, New Urbanism, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, placebo effect, Stewart Brand, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Thomas L Friedman, unemployed young men, urban planning, urban sprawl, walkable city

Today, vast cities can arise from nothing in a few years, as in Dubai, and the opportunity for meaningful intervention, even if the will to intervene exists, can pass before the need to act has been recognized. Further complicating all of this is the fact that the sprawling, wasteful society we Americans have built for ourselves remains extraordinarily appealing, not only to ourselves but also to people all over the world, even as the cost of maintaining it has pushed many Americans to the economic breaking point and beyond. I like finding bargains at the big-box stores that have eviscerated the village green in the sprawling town next to my town (even though I also love the village green), and I love living three minutes from a golf course, and I have never truly regretted moving away from Manhattan. I have a neighbor who does virtually nothing in his very large yard other than mowing it with a riding lawnmower—yet cutting his grass is one of the major recreational satisfactions of his life, an opportunity for reflection and meditation, an escape from telephones and children and e-mail, an activity that, unlike most of his life’s other activities, yields immediate, tangible, cumulative results.


pages: 323 words: 89,795

Food and Fuel: Solutions for the Future by Andrew Heintzman, Evan Solomon, Eric Schlosser

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agricultural Revolution, Berlin Wall, big-box store, clean water, Community Supported Agriculture, corporate social responsibility, David Brooks, deindustrialization, distributed generation, energy security, Exxon Valdez, flex fuel, full employment, half of the world's population has never made a phone call, hydrogen economy, land reform, microcredit, Negawatt, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, RAND corporation, risk tolerance, Silicon Valley, statistical model, Upton Sinclair, uranium enrichment

It’s as though the world’s energy system, left unchecked, engineers its own crisis; new solutions are often transitory, effectively mere stopgap measures within a limited economic horizon. This fault is increasingly evident outside of North America, where economic pressures and lack of wealth show systemic flaws more clearly. For example, China’s incredible thirst for energy feeds not only a booming export market accelerated by North America’s big-box stores but also the hungry appetites of an emergent middle class across Asia, one that rivals 1950s America for its growth in rates of car ownership and consumer accumulation. Faced with today’s estimated 170 million itinerant workers and continued labour uprisings, Mao Zedong would have been hard-pressed to discern parts of modern China from the industrial England of Karl Marx. Now, more than ever, our industrial borderlands are places where we plumb the future and track new history — whether it is a high-tech regime of repression and resource extraction, largely condoned by China’s trading partners, or, closer to home, the efforts of Northern Aboriginals to build and own part of the pipeline that ships their resource birthright southward.


pages: 340 words: 91,387

Stealth of Nations by Robert Neuwirth

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, big-box store, British Empire, call centre, collective bargaining, corporate governance, full employment, Hernando de Soto, illegal immigration, income inequality, informal economy, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, jitney, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, megacity, microcredit, New Urbanism, pirate software, profit motive, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Simon Kuznets, special economic zone, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, thinkpad, upwardly mobile

Before the street laborers could receive their pay, the administrators would have to draw their salaries, and there would be a deduction to pay the expenses of buying and maintaining the trucks and purchasing fuel. These are the values of the modern economic system. Outsourcing is okay because it is a rational and efficient choice: multinational companies can realize massive savings on labor costs by moving jobs to low-wage countries. Similarly, promoting big-box stores and driving out small retailers is okay because larger scale cuts down on overhead and reduces the need for redundant labor, allowing products to be sold more cheaply. Compare this with the haphazard street market economy. Alaba International Market has dozens of merchants selling essentially identical flat-screen TVs. Each of these entities has buyers, transporters, and a sales staff. Each probably employs touts, to drag potential customers to their kiosk.


pages: 299 words: 83,854

Shortchanged: Life and Debt in the Fringe Economy by Howard Karger

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big-box store, blue-collar work, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, delayed gratification, financial deregulation, illegal immigration, labor-force participation, late fees, London Interbank Offered Rate, low skilled workers, microcredit, mortgage debt, New Journalism, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, payday loans, predatory finance, race to the bottom, Silicon Valley, Telecommunications Act of 1996, telemarketer, underbanked, working poor

(In 2004 Wal-Mart employed 1.2 million people and reported $250 billion in revenues, or about 2% of the nation’s gross domestic product. By 2007 Wal-Mart is expected to control 35% of all U.S. food and drug sales.5) Despite having the title of “associate,” Robert earns $9.75 an hour (11 cents more than the average Wal-Mart wage of $9.64), substantially less than when he owned his own small sporting goods store. Surrounded by big box stores like Wal-Mart and Target, Robert couldn’t compete and was forced to close down. The prospects for him to get ahead at Wal-Mart are limited, since the average store has one manager, one to three assistant managers, 15 department heads, and 300–350 “associates.” On the other hand, he is one of the lucky few who have a 40-hour workweek, as opposed to the average 32-hour workweek for most Wal-Mart employees.6 Robert is one of 47% of Wal-Mart employees who receive health care benefits.


pages: 315 words: 93,522

How Music Got Free: The End of an Industry, the Turn of the Century, and the Patient Zero of Piracy by Stephen Witt

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4chan, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, cloud computing, collaborative economy, crowdsourcing, game design, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, inventory management, iterative process, Jason Scott: textfiles.com, job automation, late fees, mental accounting, packet switching, pattern recognition, pirate software, Ronald Reagan, security theater, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, software patent, Steve Jobs, zero day

Lady Gaga moved a million units in a single week by selling her album Born This Way for 99 cents. Beyoncé released a surprise self-titled “visual” album with 17 attached videos, exclusively sold through Apple. Radiohead’s Thom Yorke pulled his work from Spotify and dumped his album Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes onto BitTorrent. Taylor Swift pulled her work too, then sold nearly two million copies of her album 1989 in a month, the bulk of those as compact discs at big-box stores. Retail still meant leaks, but the industry was taking better precautions. Kanye West had been a favorite target for RNS for years. In 2011, he struck back. An article in Billboard detailed the “near-military-scale planning” he took to keep his collaborative album Watch the Throne in-house, storing the masters on hard drives locked in waterproof “Pelican” cases that never left the sight of his studio engineers.


pages: 397 words: 109,631

Mindware: Tools for Smart Thinking by Richard E. Nisbett

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affirmative action, Albert Einstein, availability heuristic, big-box store, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, cognitive dissonance, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, cosmological constant, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, endowment effect, experimental subject, feminist movement, fundamental attribution error, glass ceiling, Henri Poincaré, Isaac Newton, job satisfaction, lake wobegon effect, libertarian paternalism, loss aversion, low skilled workers, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, quantitative easing, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, Socratic dialogue, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, William of Occam, Zipcar

Judith, a talented young chemist who we thought was surely headed for a distinguished career in science because of her energy and intelligence, has left the field to become a social worker. She must have a fear of success. Too easy to generate that theory and too easy to apply it. And what could convince us that fear of success was not involved? Bill, mild-mannered neighbor, erupted in rage toward his child at the big-box store. He must have an angry and cruel streak that we hadn’t previously seen. The representativeness heuristic, the fundamental attribution error, and the belief in the “law” of small numbers aid and abet one another in producing such theories willy-nilly. Once generated, evidence that should be considered as disconfirming the hypothesis can be explained away too easily. I have a theory that start-ups supported by large numbers of small investors, even when little information about the company is available, are destined to be highly successful.


pages: 332 words: 89,668

Two Nations, Indivisible: A History of Inequality in America: A History of Inequality in America by Jamie Bronstein

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, back-to-the-land, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, big-box store, blue-collar work, Branko Milanovic, British Empire, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, clean water, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, Community Supported Agriculture, corporate personhood, crony capitalism, deindustrialization, desegregation, Donald Trump, ending welfare as we know it, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, Gini coefficient, income inequality, interchangeable parts, invisible hand, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, labor-force participation, land reform, land tenure, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, minimum wage unemployment, moral hazard, mortgage debt, New Urbanism, non-tariff barriers, obamacare, occupational segregation, Occupy movement, oil shock, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price discrimination, race to the bottom, rent control, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Scientific racism, Simon Kuznets, single-payer health, strikebreaker, too big to fail, trade route, transcontinental railway, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, trickle-down economics, universal basic income, Upton Sinclair, upwardly mobile, urban renewal, wage slave, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, working poor, Works Progress Administration

Time in prison and out of the labor force translates into fewer skills, an even lower wage, and tremendous difficulties in actually getting hired.63 GLOBALIZATION AND FREE TRADE While incarceration of young black men caused the statistical illusion that inequality was slowing in America in the 1990s, the jobs available were becoming more polarized into high-wage management jobs and low-wage service sector jobs with no hope of serving as a stepping stone to a middle-class career.64 During the 1980s, improvements in communications technology and the expansion of “big box” stores like Walmart and Target provided greater markets in the United States for goods either produced or finished inexpensively overseas. Factories in Asia could quickly adapt to slight product changes.65 Companies that could do so in the 1990s cut their costs by offshoring portable jobs, maximizing profit through lower input costs (it is estimated that labor costs are “58 to 72 percent lower in China and 22 to 62 percent lower in Mexico”), but at the same time contributing to American unemployment.66 Computers and telecommunication advances enabled companies to use smaller workforces to accomplish their goals, also helping to increase unemployment.67 Free trade became another vector of inequality during the Clinton administration, in the form of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).


pages: 343 words: 93,544

vN: The First Machine Dynasty (The Machine Dynasty Book 1) by Madeline Ashby

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big-box store, iterative process, natural language processing, place-making, traveling salesman, urban planning

She could see them darting among piles of scrap metal that glistened with yellow anti-theft acid coating. Kneeling, Amy dug a small hole in the ground and coated her hands with dirt. She wished she had mud, instead. It wouldn't really stop the burn once she stuck her hands in the garbage, but it might delay it for a while. She'd have to rely on her mods to take care of the rest. The garbage dump wasn't actually that big. It was roughly the size of the big-box store they had visited earlier, and sat on a square of green spongy material, sort of like the stuff that got sprayed over oil spills, when there were more of those. The sponge spanned the entire width of the dump, from fencepost to fencepost. It was darker and plumper under each pile of garbage. If Amy could get some of it on her hands, it might absorb the acid – maybe even the electricity from the fence, too.


pages: 549 words: 116,200

With a Little Help by Cory Doctorow

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autonomous vehicles, big-box store, Burning Man, call centre, carbon footprint, death of newspapers, don't be evil, game design, Google Earth, high net worth, margin call, offshore financial centre, packet switching, Ponzi scheme, rolodex, Sand Hill Road, sensible shoes, skunkworks, Skype, traffic fines, traveling salesman, Turing test, urban planning, Y2K

At here, more knowledge asserted itself, the shape of the comet on which they all resided, their hurtling trajectory, a seed-pod of humanity on its way elsewhere. 499 "Right," he said, putting on gloves, picking out a moustache and a sword and a laser-blaster. "Let's go sell some books." -- 500 Afterword: 501 This is another story that was inspired by Patrick Nielsen Hayden; specifically by his very nice rant about how the collapse of small, local book distributors that served grocers and pharmacies -- and the rise of national distributors who serve big-box stores -- has destroyed the primary means by which new readers enter the field. It's all well and good to have terrific giant bookstores (or fabulous neighborhood stores, for that matter), but people don't go into those stores unless they already love books. In the past, the love affair with books often began outside of bookstores, in grocers and pharmacies, where you might happen upon any number of quirky, hand-picked paperbacks stocked by the local distributor.

A Sea in Flames: The Deepwater Horizon Oil Blowout by Carl Safina

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big-box store, clean water, cognitive dissonance, energy security, Exxon Valdez, hydraulic fracturing, North Sea oil, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, Piper Alpha, Ronald Reagan

It’s time we step into the sunlight itself and phase in an energy future based on harnessing the eternal energies that actually run the planet. Whoever builds that new energy future will own the future. And the nation that owns the energy future will sell it to everyone else. I’d rather that nation be the United States of America. Did we really wage a decades-long Cold War just so we could anoint China the world’s Big Box Store? So we could be indebted to China for generations? Did we really hand world leadership to the largest autocratic nondemocracy in the history of the world because all it can offer is low wages, no unions, and cheap goods? Is that all it takes to secure our surrender? Where are the patriots? New details about the Gulf blowout of 2010 will continue to bubble up for quite some time. As the birds of autumn begin rowing through the air near my Long Island home, I begin seeing gleaming white gannets on their way south after nesting in Canada.


pages: 484 words: 131,168

The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America Is Tearing Us Apart by Bill Bishop, Robert G. Cushing

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1960s counterculture, affirmative action, big-box store, blue-collar work, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, cognitive dissonance, David Brooks, demographic transition, desegregation, Edward Glaeser, immigration reform, income inequality, Jane Jacobs, knowledge economy, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, music of the spheres, New Urbanism, post-industrial society, Post-materialism, post-materialism, Ralph Nader, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Steve Jobs, superstar cities, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, union organizing, War on Poverty, white flight, World Values Survey

We divide evenly in elections or sit them out entirely because we instinctively seek the center while the parties and candidates hang out on the extremes."13 Fiorina argued that the fractious politics Americans were experiencing were wholly a result of polarized political leadership and extreme issue activists. Elected officials might be polarized, the professor wrote, but people were not. Journalists miss what's really happening in the country, he contended, because "few of the journalists who cover national politics spend much of their time hanging out at big box stores, supermarket chains, or auto parts stores talking to normal people ... When they do leave the politicized salons of Washington, New York and Los Angeles, they do so mainly to cover important political events which are largely attended by members of the political class ... The political class that journalists talk to and observe is polarized, but the people who comprise it are not typical."14 Fiorina announced that his book was needed to debunk what he described as the "new consensus" that Americans were deeply divided.15 In the meantime, however, Fiorina's view became the new truism.


pages: 458 words: 134,028

Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow's Big Changes by Mark Penn, E. Kinney Zalesne

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affirmative action, Albert Einstein, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, big-box store, call centre, corporate governance, David Brooks, Donald Trump, extreme commuting, Exxon Valdez, feminist movement, glass ceiling, Gordon Gekko, haute couture, illegal immigration, immigration reform, index card, Isaac Newton, job satisfaction, labor-force participation, late fees, life extension, low skilled workers, mobile money, new economy, RAND corporation, Renaissance Technologies, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Superbowl ad, the payments system, Thomas L Friedman, upwardly mobile, uranium enrichment, urban renewal, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, Y2K

The “classic” classical listener was white, elderly, well-educated, and steeped in musical training. While that group still makes up a big portion of classical activity online, a member survey conducted by www.classicalarchives.com reveals that nearly half of its subscribers are under 50, almost 1 in 5 did not finish college, and 1 in 3 have never played a musical instrument. When you think about it, it makes so much sense. The Internet is far friendlier to the casual classical fan than big-box stores ever were. When you can sample free tracks, or download just one track at a time and listen in the privacy of your iPod, classical music is suddenly not intimidating at all. An unintended consequence of the Internet is that it has opened up classical music to a younger, more diverse, and more adventurous brand of listener. And if you’re a music student—either one of the budding college types or a newbie adult studying piano—it turns out that being able to buy just the track you’re studying is a huge boon.


pages: 379 words: 114,807

The Land Grabbers: The New Fight Over Who Owns the Earth by Fred Pearce

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Asian financial crisis, banking crisis, big-box store, blood diamonds, British Empire, Cape to Cairo, carbon footprint, clean water, credit crunch, Deng Xiaoping, Elliott wave, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, farmers can use mobile phones to check market prices, index fund, Jeff Bezos, land reform, land tenure, Mahatma Gandhi, market fundamentalism, megacity, Mohammed Bouazizi, Nikolai Kondratiev, offshore financial centre, out of africa, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, Ronald Reagan, smart cities, structural adjustment programs, too big to fail, urban planning, urban sprawl, WikiLeaks

Though it has only ten thousand people, it is still the biggest place for 250 miles. It is, by its own lights, a success. After decades of poverty and deprivation, the fierce Mennonite devotion to taming the Chaco has brought dividends. The main streets, such as Avenida Hindenberg, are wide enough to turn an oxcart, but this is Land Cruiser territory now. Filadelfia is one of the most prosperous towns in Paraguay, full of air conditioners and four-by-fours. The big-box store still has a wide range of farm implements, but they are being pushed aside by garden furniture and barbecues. The agricultural college boasts a Conservatorio de Musica on the side. Filadelfia’s museum celebrates both the Mennonites’ past and the wildlife that they are continuing to destroy. I spent an hour exploring one room full of stuffed armadillos and boa constrictors; skunks and red-bellied toads; a giant anteater and a six-foot caiman; a maned wolf as big as the jaguar and a greater rhea as tall as a man; a bizarre range of rodents and a rare Chacoan peccary.


pages: 565 words: 151,129

The Zero Marginal Cost Society: The Internet of Things, the Collaborative Commons, and the Eclipse of Capitalism by Jeremy Rifkin

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3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, autonomous vehicles, back-to-the-land, big-box store, bioinformatics, bitcoin, business process, Chris Urmson, clean water, cleantech, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, Community Supported Agriculture, computer vision, crowdsourcing, demographic transition, distributed generation, en.wikipedia.org, Frederick Winslow Taylor, global supply chain, global village, Hacker Ethic, industrial robot, informal economy, intermodal, Internet of things, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, labour mobility, Mahatma Gandhi, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, natural language processing, new economy, New Urbanism, nuclear winter, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, phenotype, planetary scale, price discrimination, profit motive, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Stallman, risk/return, Ronald Coase, search inside the book, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, social web, software as a service, spectrum auction, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, the built environment, The Nature of the Firm, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, transaction costs, urban planning, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, WikiLeaks, working poor, Zipcar

A growing number of retail industry analysts are forecasting the imminent death of large segments of the brick-and-mortar retail trade. Jason Perlow, technology editor at ZDNet, says that convenience stores like 7-Eleven, drug stores like Walgreens, and supermarket chains like Kroger will continue to keep their doors open, along with high-end specialty and luxury stores like Crabtree & Evelyn, and a few big box stores like Walmart. Much of the brick-and-mortar retail business, however, is going to shrink, especially as a younger generation weaned on purchasing online comes of age. Perlow says that while brick-and-mortar retail will not disappear, in “ten years hence [the] retail footprint will be a shadow of its former self and heavy competition from online will allow only the strongest brick-and-mortar businesses to survive.”32 As in other industries where automation is quickly reducing human labor, virtual retailing is following suit.


pages: 448 words: 142,946

Sacred Economics: Money, Gift, and Society in the Age of Transition by Charles Eisenstein

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Albert Einstein, back-to-the-land, bank run, Bernie Madoff, big-box store, Bretton Woods, capital controls, clean water, collateralized debt obligation, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, disintermediation, diversification, fiat currency, financial independence, financial intermediation, floating exchange rates, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, global supply chain, happiness index / gross national happiness, hydraulic fracturing, informal economy, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, land tenure, Lao Tzu, liquidity trap, lump of labour, McMansion, means of production, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, mortgage debt, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, Own Your Own Home, peak oil, phenotype, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, Scramble for Africa, special drawing rights, spinning jenny, technoutopianism, the built environment, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail

Of course, we would lose a vast number of “jobs” as well, but since these are not contributing much to human well-being anyway, we could employ those people digging holes in the ground and filling them up again with no loss. Or, better, we could devote them to labor-intensive roles like permaculture, care for the sick and elderly, restoration of ecosystems, and all the other needs of today that go tragically unmet for lack of money. A world without weapons, without McMansions in sprawling suburbs, without mountains of unnecessary packaging, without giant mechanized monofarms, without energy-hogging big-box stores, without electronic billboards, without endless piles of throwaway junk, without the overconsumption of consumer goods no one really needs is not an impoverished world. I disagree with those environmentalists who say we are going to have to make do with less. In fact, we are going to make do with more: more beauty, more community, more fulfillment, more art, more music, and material objects that are fewer in number but superior in utility and aesthetics.


pages: 466 words: 146,982

Venice: A New History by Thomas F. Madden

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big-box store, buy low sell high, centre right, colonial rule, Columbine, Costa Concordia, double entry bookkeeping, facts on the ground, financial innovation, indoor plumbing, invention of movable type, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Murano, Venice glass, spice trade, trade route, upwardly mobile, urban planning

In 2011, for example, two-bedroom apartments near San Marco sold for well over two million dollars each. The buying up of Venice’s residential spaces has had two complementary outcomes: There are fewer homes for Venetians and their cost is much greater. When the other difficulties of living in a city without cars are factored in, a great many Venetians have made the logical choice to move to the mainland. There one can find a home for a fraction of the cost, own a car, and shop at the big-box stores without fighting through waves of tourists. Since 1950 the population of Venice has decreased from approximately 150,000 to around 60,000. Venice is also aging, as schools close and children become rare. Although this is an Italian, not a Venetian, problem (Italian birthrates in 2011 were 9.18 per 1,000 population), it hits Venice particularly hard. Indeed, in 2009 a group of Venetians led a mock funeral procession, bearing a coffin representing the corpse of Venice.


pages: 523 words: 159,884

The Great Railroad Revolution by Christian Wolmar

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1919 Motor Transport Corps convoy, accounting loophole / creative accounting, banking crisis, Bay Area Rapid Transit, big-box store, collective bargaining, cross-subsidies, intermodal, James Watt: steam engine, Ponzi scheme, quantitative easing, railway mania, Ralph Waldo Emerson, refrigerator car, Silicon Valley, strikebreaker, too big to fail, trade route, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, union organizing, urban sprawl

The town that acquired a station would prosper to a greater degree than its local rivals that were not so blessed. There were disadvantages, too. A small town that had been self-sufficient could quickly change into one dependent on the regional, or even the national, economy as people switched to using the larger town’s amenities, in much the same way that today downtowns have been killed because local residents have access by road to big-box stores and strip malls. The station, or depot, however modest, would become a hub, the start or the end point of most people’s visits or of journeys by local inhabitants to distant places. The relationship between the town and the station would be symbiotic, and again it is difficult to disentangle interwoven threads of cause and effect. Gradually, as more people used it, the station would improve, with the erection of bigger shelters, the introduction of signs showing arrivals and departures, the employment of more staff, the installation of ticket and information offices, and, of course, food counters.


pages: 433 words: 125,031

Brazillionaires: The Godfathers of Modern Brazil by Alex Cuadros

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affirmative action, Asian financial crisis, big-box store, BRICs, cognitive dissonance, crony capitalism, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, facts on the ground, family office, high net worth, index fund, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, NetJets, offshore financial centre, profit motive, rent-seeking, risk/return, savings glut, short selling, Silicon Valley, sovereign wealth fund, stem cell, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, We are the 99%

Meanwhile, with interest rates near zero in the United States, investors hungry for returns funneled their dollars into emerging markets with higher rates like Brazil. This caused the local currency, the real, to soar in value, which in turn made it cheaper for Brazilians to buy stuff abroad. In 2012 Brazilians accounted for one in seven Miami home purchases. The occasion for the party was Miami Swim Week, a fashion-industry swimsuit event. A taxi dropped me off at Artefacto’s Aventura location, a big-box store glowing white in the night. A light rain fell as bow-tied valets jogged to receive well-polished cars—Escalades, Bentleys. Past a three-pillared entryway, photographers snapped shots of the guests coming in. The paparazzi seemed to know who everyone important was; they did not take my picture. I asked them where I could find Paulo Bacchi and they pointed out a tan, full-chested man dressed all in black, gripping the hands of men he knew, kissing the cheeks of the women.


pages: 548 words: 147,919

How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything: Tales From the Pentagon by Rosa Brooks

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airport security, Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, big-box store, clean water, cognitive dissonance, Edward Snowden, facts on the ground, failed state, illegal immigration, Internet Archive, Mark Zuckerberg, pattern recognition, Peace of Westphalia, personalized medicine, RAND corporation, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, Turing test, unemployed young men, Wall-E, War on Poverty, WikiLeaks

And like Walmart, the tempting one-stop-shopping convenience it offers has a devastating effect on smaller, more traditional enterprises—in this case, the State Department and other civilian foreign policy agencies. It’s fashionable to despise Walmart—for its cheap, tawdry goods, for the human pain we suspect lies at the heart of the enterprise, for its sheer vastness and mindless ubiquity. Most of the time, we prefer not to see it, and use zoning laws to exile its big box stores to the commercial hinterlands away from the center of town. But much as we resent Walmart, we can’t, in the end, seem to live without it. As the military struggles to define its role and mission, it evokes similarly contradictory emotions in its civilian masters. Civilian officials want a military that costs less but provides more, a military that stays deferentially out of strategy discussions but remains eternally available to ride to the rescue.

The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community by David C. Korten

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Albert Einstein, banks create money, big-box store, Bretton Woods, British Empire, clean water, colonial rule, Community Supported Agriculture, death of newspapers, declining real wages, European colonialism, Francisco Pizarro, full employment, George Gilder, global supply chain, global village, Hernando de Soto, Howard Zinn, informal economy, invisible hand, joint-stock company, land reform, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Monroe Doctrine, Naomi Klein, neoliberal agenda, new economy, peak oil, planetary scale, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, South Sea Bubble, stem cell, structural adjustment programs, The Chicago School, trade route, Washington Consensus, World Values Survey

ECONOMIC TURNING One of the most visible manifestations of global civil society is the popular resistance against corporate globalization and the institutional instruments by which globalization’s supporters are imposing their Leading from Below 319 neoliberal policy agenda on the world. Less visible, but ultimately even more important, are the many initiatives aimed at growing corporatefree economies that mimic healthy ecosystems. These initiatives range from “buy local” campaigns and efforts to rebuild local food systems based on independent family farms, to efforts to eliminate corporate subsidies, stop the intrusion of big-box stores, hold corporations accountable for harms committed, and reform corporate chartering. There are groups that encourage humane animal husbandry and sustainable agriculture, seek to abolish factory farms and ban genetically modified seeds, promote green business, introduce sustainable community-based forestry-management practices, and work to roll back the use of toxic chemicals. Other groups are working to strengthen the protection of worker rights, raise the minimum wage, advance worker ownership, increase socially responsible investing, and promote other fiscal and regulatory measures that improve economic justice and encourage environmental responsibility.


pages: 829 words: 229,566

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate by Naomi Klein

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1960s counterculture, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, big-box store, bilateral investment treaty, British Empire, business climate, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, clean water, Climategate, cognitive dissonance, colonial rule, Community Supported Agriculture, complexity theory, crony capitalism, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, energy security, energy transition, equal pay for equal work, Exxon Valdez, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, feminist movement, financial deregulation, food miles, Food sovereignty, global supply chain, hydraulic fracturing, ice-free Arctic, immigration reform, income per capita, Internet Archive, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, market fundamentalism, moral hazard, Naomi Klein, new economy, Nixon shock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, open borders, patent troll, planetary scale, post-oil, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Rana Plaza, Ronald Reagan, smart grid, special economic zone, Stephen Hawking, Stewart Brand, structural adjustment programs, Ted Kaczynski, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, trickle-down economics, Upton Sinclair, uranium enrichment, urban planning, urban sprawl, wages for housework, walkable city, Washington Consensus, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks

So how do you tackle the idea of needing to incentivize local economies, tying together local green jobs policies with clean energy policies, when that is just a no-go in trade policy? . . . If we don’t think about how the economy is structured, then we’re actually never going to the real root of the problem.”46 These kinds of economic reforms would be good news—for unemployed workers, for farmers unable to compete with cheap imports, for communities that have seen their manufacturers move offshore and their local businesses replaced with big box stores. And all of these constituencies would be needed to fight for these policies, since they represent the reversal of the thirty-year trend of removing every possible limit on corporate power. From Frenetic Expansion to Steady States Challenging free trade orthodoxy is a heavy lift in our political culture; anything that has been in place for that long takes on an air of inevitability. But, critical as these shifts are, they are not enough to lower emissions in time.


pages: 685 words: 203,949

The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload by Daniel J. Levitin

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airport security, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Anton Chekhov, big-box store, business process, call centre, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, cognitive bias, complexity theory, computer vision, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Eratosthenes, Exxon Valdez, framing effect, friendly fire, fundamental attribution error, Golden Gate Park, Google Glasses, haute cuisine, impulse control, index card, indoor plumbing, information retrieval, invention of writing, iterative process, jimmy wales, job satisfaction, Kickstarter, life extension, meta analysis, meta-analysis, more computing power than Apollo, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, phenotype, placebo effect, pre–internet, profit motive, randomized controlled trial, Skype, Snapchat, statistical model, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Turing test, ultimatum game

It practices putting together conceptually similar objects, putting together functionally associated objects, and all the while maintaining cognitively flexible categories. John Venhuizen is president and CEO of Ace Hardware, a retailer with more than 4,300 stores in the United States. “Anyone who takes retailing and marketing seriously has a desire to know more about the human brain,” he says. “Part of what makes the brain get cluttered is capacity—it can only absorb and decipher so much. Those big box stores are great retailers and we can learn a lot from them, but our model is to strive for a smaller, navigable store because it is easier on the brain of our customers. This is an endless pursuit.” Ace, in other words, employs the use of flexible categories to create cognitive economy. Ace employs an entire category-management team that strives to arrange the products on the shelves in a way that mirrors the way consumers think and shop.


pages: 518 words: 170,126

City for Sale: The Transformation of San Francisco by Chester W. Hartman, Sarah Carnochan

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affirmative action, Albert Einstein, Bay Area Rapid Transit, big-box store, business climate, Golden Gate Park, Haight Ashbury, housing crisis, illegal immigration, Loma Prieta earthquake, manufacturing employment, new economy, New Urbanism, profit motive, Ralph Nader, rent control, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, South of Market, San Francisco, strikebreaker, union organizing, urban planning, urban renewal, very high income, young professional

He sought and received support from the local Republican Party* as well as from landlord groups such as the San Francisco Apartment Association—the latter related to his support of a controversial proposal, introduced by the rental property owners, to study the City’s rent control law, a move seen by tenant advocates as the first step to weakening or abolishing this safeguard. Ammiano constantly stressed the downsides of gentrification, holding himself out as the champion of neighborhoods, inveighing against chain stores and big box stores. He also introduced and worked hard to pass a “living wage” ordinance that would guarantee every worker employed by a City contractor or by businesses that lease property from the City at least eleven dollars an hour, plus benefits (subsequently enacted, but at a lower level—see chapter 13). Ammiano also pushed the image of Brown as a deal maker, beholden to development interests, a machine politician, antagonistic to citizen participation.† A related charge was Brown’s undermining of neighborhoods and neighborhood- *“In one of the most amazing twists yet to San Francisco’s crazy mayoral election, the county Republican Central Committee voted last night to endorse the reelection of its longtime archenemy, Mayor Willie Brown . . . the man whom California Republicans have long reviled as the very symbol of errant Democratic liberalism” (Edward Epstein, “Republicans Grit Teeth, Back Brown,” San Francisco Chronicle, 9 November 1999).


pages: 692 words: 167,950

The Ripple Effect: The Fate of Fresh Water in the Twenty-First Century by Alex Prud'Homme

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2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, big-box store, bilateral investment treaty, carbon footprint, Chance favours the prepared mind, clean water, Deep Water Horizon, en.wikipedia.org, Exxon Valdez, hydraulic fracturing, invisible hand, John Snow's cholera map, Louis Pasteur, megacity, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, renewable energy credits, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, urban sprawl

The Shenandoah Valley has nine hundred poultry farms, and in 2000 they held 265 million broiler chickens, 25.5 million turkeys, and 824 million eggs. A giant bronze turkey statue, mounted on a stone base, declares Rockingham County, a two-hour drive from downtown Washington, DC, to be Virginia’s “turkey capital.” At the same time, Rockingham’s farmland is increasingly being plowed under for new highways, developments, and big-box stores. Each of these is equipped with hard roads, roofs, and parking lots, which hasten storm-water runoff. In the 1800s, farmers in Rockingham County kept simple chicken coops in their backyards. As the population grew, so did the poultry business. In the 1920s, Charles W. Wampler Sr., “the father of the modern turkey industry,” raised the first flock hatched in an incubator and matured in confinement here.