Plus, our podcast episode with Chuck Marohn of Strong Towns. And, we find that Amazon doesn't just want to dominate the market — it wants to become the market.
The Hometown Advantage Bulletin
Our New Feature in The Nation: "Amazon Doesn’t Just Want to Dominate the Market—It Wants to Become the Market"
Stacy Mitchell  |  Feb. 15, 2018

Image: "The Nation" cover.The latest print issue of The Nation is all about monopoly, and it features an article from ILSR's Stacy Mitchell on how to think about Amazon. In it, Stacy walks through the company's dominance — from the perspective of the businesses that have to compete with it, the people whose wages and working conditions are affected by it, and the communities whose vitality and self-determination are at stake as Amazon grows.  

Amazon is a radically new kind of monopoly, Stacy writes, and its growth is exposing the deficiencies of our current approach to enforcing antitrust laws. The piece concludes by outlining the new push by political leaders to restore antitrust policy to its former strength and purpose, and why it's so important.  Continue Reading
Want Your City to Prosper? Forget What You Think You Know About Economic Growth: Episode 37 of the "Building Local Power" Podcast
Jan. 11, 2018

Image:Podcast logo.As a trained engineer and planner, Chuck Marohn noticed something off about the decisions many cities and towns were making about economic development. They were approving big-box stores and other short-lived, single-purpose developments that didn’t make financial sense in the long-run and, unlike our traditional town centers, weren’t designed to evolve over time.    

Marohn went on to found Strong Towns. In this episode, he sits down with Stacy Mitchell to discuss why the conventional wisdom about economic growth often leads communities down a dark path of decay.  Listen to the Episode

If you enjoy these conversations, make sure that you don't miss an episode — and help us reach more people — by subscribing in iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. 
Bloomberg Businessweek Profiles Cities that Restrict Chains to Open More Space for Local Businesses
Jan. 26, 2018

Photo: A Main Street.“Like many elected officials, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop talks a lot about the need to support small businesses. Unlike many, he’s put policies in place to help owners survive rent hikes, secure low-interest loans, and get expedited business permits. More than 600 small businesses have opened since Fulop became mayor of New Jersey’s second-biggest city in 2013.”

That’s the opening of this piece in Bloomberg Businessweek, which explores how cities are using caps on “formula” retailers — a policy that ILSR has promoted — to ensure that local businesses have ample opportunities to secure space and grow. Drawing on ILSR’s research, the article tracks how these policies have worked in both Jersey City and San Francisco. Continue Reading

For more on Jersey City’s policy, see Olivia LaVecchia’s story on our site from December: "In Jersey City, a Policy Fosters Local Independent Businesses — and Gets Pushback from CVS."

In Case You Missed It

Image: Infographic.Our new infographic looks at the ripple effect that you create when you choose locally owned businesses for your shopping. It starts with your own experience, and then keeps spreading outward, to your community, your local economy, and finally, support for the American dream. The infographic is available to share on social media or print as a flyer
.  Continue Reading 

News Stories We’re Following
  • Craft beer is a bright spot in the U.S. economy — and the particular regulatory environment that has helped make it happen holds lessons for the rest of the economy.
  • As public officials continue to campaign for Amazon's second headquarters, is promising billions to the company a good deal for cities?
  • For a growing group of thinkers, antitrust law is about more than low prices for consumers. It's also about power.
  • Independent retailers have been waiting for this since 1992: The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case on whether states have the authority to close the online sales tax loophole.
  • Amazon patents a wristband that would track and time employees' every move, and even use vibrations to nudge them when they're doing something "wrong." Meanwhile, at Whole Foods, "seeing someone cry at work is becoming normal."
  • Amazon often touts itself as a job creator. A new study from the Economic Policy Institute digs into Amazon's claims, and finds that in counties where Amazon opens new fulfillment centers, there's no net gain in jobs.

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