How Walmart is Devouring the Food System (Infographic)

Walmart now captures $1 of every $4 Americans spend on groceries. It’s on track to claim one-third of food sales within five years. Here’s a look at how Walmart has dramatically altered the food system — triggering massive consolidation, driving down prices to farmers, and leaving more families struggling to afford healthy food. CONTINUE READING

Six Small Business Issues at Stake in this Election

Here’s a look at six small business issues at stake in next month’s federal and state elections, including bank reform, corporate tax advantages, getting corporate money out of politics, capping credit card fees, and creating preferences for local businesses in government purchasing.

Too Big to Lend

A critical function of our banking system is financing small businesses. But big banks are doing a rotten job of it. At the nation’s largest banks, small business lending has plunged 33% since 2009. Trying to cajole or compel them to do more won’t make much difference because the problem is largely inherent to their scale.

How San Francisco is Dealing With Chains

San Francisco is home to more independent businesses than other big cities, thanks in part to a 2006 law than gives neighborhoods the power to reject “formula” retail stores and restaurants. But the policy has major gaps, which have opened the way for chains to slip into the city. City leaders are now looking to beef up the law.

Local Ownership Makes Communities Healthier, Wealthier and Wiser

Most policymakers don’t imagine that their economic development decisions will affect such things as voter turnout or the prevalence of chronic disease. But a growing body of research is finding that scale and ownership of business matter in ways that extend far beyond economic outcomes.

Walmart Claims Its Stores are Magnets for Small Businesses; Not So, Research Finds

In its push to get into urban areas, Walmart is claiming that its stores are actually good for nearby small businesses, at least those that do not compete in the same product lines. But the empirical evidence — including a extensive study published recently in the Journal of Urban Economics — indicates otherwise.

Justice Department Abets Amazon’s E-Book Monopoly

For years, Amazon has used its size and market power to bully publishers and keep other retailers from competing in the e-book market.  And, for years, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has done nothing to constrain Amazon’s abuses or bring about a more competitive marketplace. So it was quite a shock last month when…