On Pitchfork Economics: How Walmart Gutted Communities

Date: 28 Oct 2021 | posted in: Retail | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Stacy Mitchell — the “strategist of the demise of Amazon as we know it” — joined David Goldstein on Pitchfork Economics to talk about how corporate and financial concentration is driving both rural and urban distress; how public policy has let Walmart and Amazon monopolize entire industries; and what policymakers should do about it. 

“Walmart came along and took advantage of changes in antitrust policy,” undercutting competing businesses and bullying suppliers, Stacy explains. “Walmart won not by being better but by using its raw financial and market muscle to get its way.” 

As a result, Walmart took over major segments of the retail sector — including the grocery industry. The retail behemoth also put downward pressure on retail wages across the country and gutted “the heart and soul of local communities across the country.”

Amazon followed suit, leveraging Prime membership to dominate online retail, and has dominated many sectors of our economy. “By controlling these critical pieces of infrastructure, what Amazon has gained, what Jeff Bezos has built, is the ability to have a God like view of everything that is going on.” 

Stacy argues that to create robust and prosperous communities and a thriving, equal economy we must reinvigorate our antitrust policies. “We need to bring back a sense that antitrust’s role is to create healthy, vibrant markets. We need much more aggressive policies.”

Listen to Stacy on Pitchfork Economics.

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Follow Luke Gannon:
Luke Gannon

Luke Gannon is the Research and Communications Associate for the Independent Business team.

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Follow Stacy Mitchell:
Stacy Mitchell

Stacy Mitchell is co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and directs its Independent Business Initiative, which produces research and designs policy to counter concentrated corporate power and strengthen local economies.