Back to top Jump to featured resources

Featured from Independent Business

Featured Article, Report, Resource filed under Independent Business | Written by Stacy Mitchell | No Comments | Updated on Aug 10, 2016

Monopoly Power and the Decline of Small Business: The Case for Restoring America’s Once Robust Antitrust Policies

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/monopoly-power-and-the-decline-of-small-business/

placeholder

Monopoly Report Cover Image

Click to download the full report.

The United States is much less a nation of entrepreneurs than it was a generation ago. Small, independent businesses have declined sharply in both numbers and market share across many sectors of the economy.  Between 1997 and 2012, the number of small manufacturers fell by more 70,000, local retailers saw their ranks diminish by about 108,000, and the number of community banks and credit unions dropped by half, from about 26,000 to 13,000.  At the same time, starting a new business appears to have become harder than ever. The number of startups launched annually has fallen by nearly half since the 1970s.

As stunning as these figures are, there has been remarkably little public debate about this profound structural shift taking place in the U.S. economy. We tend to accept the decline of small business as the inevitable result of market forces. Big companies are thought to be more efficient and productive; therefore, although we may miss the corner drugstore or the family-owned auto repair shop, their demise is unavoidable, and it’s economically beneficial.

But our new report suggests a different, and very troubling, explanation for the dwindling ranks of small businesses. It presents evidence that their decline is owed, at least in part, to anticompetitive behavior by large, dominant corporations.  Drawing on examples in pharmacy, banking, telecommunications, and retail, it finds that big companies routinely use their size and their economic and political power to undermine their smaller rivals and exclude them from markets.

These abuses have gone unchecked because of a radical change in the ideological framework that guides anti-monopoly policy. About thirty-five years ago, policy-makers came to view maximizing efficiency — rather than maintaining fair and open markets for all competitors — as the primary aim of antitrust enforcement. This was a profound departure from previous policy and America’s long-standing anti-monopoly tradition.  Over time, this ideological shift impacted more than antitrust enforcement. It infused much of public policy with a bias in favor of big business, creating an environment less and less hospitable to entrepreneurs.

This report presents three compelling reasons to bring a commitment to fair and open markets for small businesses back into antitrust enforcement and public policy more broadly:
Continue reading

Photo: A U.S. flag with corporate logos.
Featured Article filed under Independent Business | Written by Stacy Mitchell | No Comments | Updated on Aug 4, 2016

After Three Decades of Neglect, Antitrust Is Back on the Democratic Platform

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/after-three-decades-of-neglect-antitrust-is-back-on-the-democratic-platform/

For the first time in 28 years, the Democratic Party platform calls for vigorous, stepped-up enforcement of our anti-monopoly laws. This remarkable shift in policy was made possible in part by the Bernie Sanders movement, but it’s also the product of years of advocacy by scholars and activists who believe that high levels of concentration in banking, retail, agribusiness and other sectors are ravaging our economy and democracy. Continue reading

Photo: Lost our lease.
Featured Article, Report, Resource filed under Independent Business | Written by Olivia LaVecchia | No Comments | Updated on Apr 20, 2016

New Report: How Rising Commercial Rents Are Threatening Independent Businesses, and What Cities Are Doing About It

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/affordable-space/

As the cost of leasing commercial space soars in many U.S. cities, a new report from ILSR examines what’s behind the skyrocketing rents and explores six broad policy strategies that elected officials and community leaders are proposing to keep commercial space appropriate, accessible, and affordable for independent businesses. Continue reading

stacy Mitchell TED
Featured Article, Resource filed under Independent Business | Written by ILSR Admin | No Comments | Updated on Jul 22, 2016

Podcast: Stacy Mitchell on How Big-Box Retailers Undercut the American Middle Class

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/podcast-stacy-mitchell-on-how-big-box-retailers-undercut-the-american-middle-class/

Listen to ILSR’s Stacy Mitchell in a recent episode of the Strong Towns podcast, where she speaks about the origins of the big-box store, how the stores win public subsidies at the expense of communities, and the way they continue to undercut the American middle class. Continue reading

Photo: Stacy Mitchell speaks at the 2016 Winter Institute.
Featured Article, Resource filed under Independent Business | Written by ILSR Admin | No Comments | Updated on Mar 4, 2016

Watch: Stacy Mitchell Speaks on the New Localism

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/watch-stacy-mitchell-speaks-on-the-new-localism/

ILSR’s Stacy Mitchell spoke about policy to shape the next phase of the local economy movement in this presentation at the 2016 Winter Institute. The annual conference and educational event, hosted by the American Booksellers Association, was held in Denver on Jan. 25 and 26. Continue reading