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Photo: Amazon warehouse.
Featured Article, ILSR Press Room filed under Independent Business | Written by Olivia LaVecchia | No Comments | Updated on Oct 20, 2017

Amazon’s Uneven Playing Field

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/amazons-uneven-playing-field/

Amazon is looking for a big subsidy to build its new headquarters. It’s only the latest move in the company’s long history of using the government to get favors that other businesses can’t.

This op-ed was first published in Vice’s Motherboard.

In the hierarchy of the corporate world today, Amazon is near the top. It’s one of the top five most valuable companies traded on the major exchanges, and founder and CEO Jeff Bezos is now the second-richest person in the world.

People tend to think that Amazon has gotten there simply by out-competing everyone else. But there’s another part of the story of Amazon’s rise. From the very beginning, a core part of Amazon’s strategy has been taking advantage of public benefits not available to its competitors.

Now, bidding is set to close Thursday on the latest play in this strategy: Amazon’s decision to launch a public auction for the location of its second North American headquarters. In that auction, Amazon is angling for such a substantial public handout that, as Amazon itself puts it in its Request for Proposals, the “magnitude may require special incentive legislation.” Since Amazon opened bidding, more than 100 cities across the U.S. and Canada have publicly announced their interest in the Amazon sweepstakes, and have given over conference rooms and staff time to work on the bid, launched PR stunts, and started hashtags. Experts say that the end result of all of this hype could be a multi-billion dollar giveaway from taxpayers to Amazon.

The process has unfolded like the work of a seasoned pro, and that’s because it is. It started back in 1995… Continue reading

Featured Article, Resource filed under Independent Business | Written by Nick Stumo-Langer | No Comments | Updated on Oct 19, 2017

San Francisco Breaks the Chain Stores, Strengthens Neighborhood Economies – Episode 31 of the Building Local Power Podcast

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/san-francisco-chain-stores-episode-31-of-the-building-local-power-podcast/

San Francisco has one-third as many chain stores as the national average. That’s thanks in large part to a city ordinance that restricts “formula” businesses. Enacted in 2004, and expanded in 2006 and 2014 (with input from ILSR), the policy permits formula businesses to locate in the city’s neighborhood business districts only if they pass… Continue reading

Featured Article, ILSR Press Room filed under Independent Business | Written by Nick Stumo-Langer | No Comments | Updated on Sep 7, 2017

Press Release: Amazon Angles for Subsidies in Search of Second HQ

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/press-release-amazon-subsidies-hq/

In response to Amazon’s announcement that it is seeking a location for a second North American headquarters, Stacy Mitchell, co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and co-author of Amazon’s Stranglehold, issued the following statement:

“Amazon’s announcement that it’s opening a search for a second North American headquarters is only the latest play in Amazon’s long-time strategy of financing its growth through public subsidies. Over the last decade, as Amazon has mastered this strategy, it’s come to employ site location experts and lobbyists in its efforts to pit local and state governments against each other for the largest subsidy package…. Continue reading

Featured Article, Resource filed under Independent Business | Written by Nick Stumo-Langer | No Comments | Updated on Oct 5, 2017

Beating the Monopolies: Barry Lynn Explains How We Will Win – Episode 30 of the Building Local Power Podcast

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/beating-the-monopolies-barry-lynn-episode-30-of-the-building-local-power-podcast/

Barry Lynn, head of the Open Markets Institute, has some good news for those concerned about concentrated corporate power and the implications for our livelihoods and our democracy: “We will win”. In this episode of the Building Local Power podcast, ILSR Co-director Stacy Mitchell interviews Lynn about the changes in policy that gave rise to today’s monopolies, including the… Continue reading

Featured Article, Resource filed under Independent Business | Written by Stacy Mitchell | No Comments | Updated on Aug 28, 2017

8 Policy Strategies Cities Can Use to Support Local Businesses

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/8-policy-strategies-cities-can-use-to-support-local-businesses/

Although they play a central role in healthy communities, and are among the best engines that cities have for advancing economic opportunity, independent small businesses are disappearing in many places. This decline isn’t because local businesses aren’t competitive. It’s because misguided public policies and concentrated market power are working against them. Here are 8 ways that cities can level the playing field and ensure that local businesses can thrive. Continue reading