Dispatches from the Corporate State

From the WSJ:

Robert Brownson long believed that his proposed development here, with its 200,000-square-foot Wal-Mart Supercenter, was being held hostage by nearby homeowners.He had seen them protesting at city hall, and they had filed a lawsuit to stop the project.

What he didn't know was that the locals were getting a lot of help. A grocery chain with nine stores in the area had hired Saint Consulting Group to secretly run the antidevelopment campaign. Saint is a specialist at fighting proposed Wal-Marts, and it uses tactics it describes as "black arts."...

Supermarkets that have funded campaigns to stop Wal-Mart are concerned about having to match the retailing giant's low prices lest they lose market share. Although they have managed to stop some projects, they haven't put much of a dent in Wal-Mart's growth in the U.S., where it has more than 2,700 supercenters"”large stores that sell groceries and general merchandise. Last year, 51% of Wal-Mart's $258 billion in U.S. revenue came from grocery sales.

Read the whole article.  There hardly appears to be any major grocery chain or related union that has not contributed significant dollars to preventing their competitor from doing what they have already done - built a store in town.  Knock me over with a feather that Chicago is a major example, training ground for our President and promoter-in-chief of our emerging corporate state.

The only sustainable monopolies are those enforced by the government, which through licensing, regulation, zoning, or all of the above, squash upstart competitors at the expense of consumers in favor of politically connected incumbents.

  • DrTorch

    And labor unions were behind some of it too. What a surprise.

    I am disgusted by the rationalization that this falls w/in their First Amendment "Rights".

  • Cappman

    The sad part of it is that these stores don't really need to worry about Walmart. I personnaly have found Walmarts meats and vegetables to be of very low quality. I go to a grocery store that has taken the time and spent the money to provide products that are fresher or just plain better then Walmarts. Yes I pay more but I feel the quality is more then worth it.

  • Rob

    The same thing happened in Flagstaff AZ. The former mayor was closely tied to Safeway. Took years to get a new Walmart built.

  • epobirs

    My biggest complaint, at the Castaic end of the Santa Clarita Valley, with the Super Walmart in my region is its inconvenient location, along with the nearest Costco, a few miles further away. OTOH, the Super Walmart is open 24/7 and thus a great resource when you really need something between Midnight and 6 AM. If it weren't so out of the way I might do a lot more of my grocery shopping there. Meanwhile, across the street from the Costco is a Stater Bros. that somehow seems to thrive despite thorough coverage of the region by Ralphs and Vons/Safeway.

    Competition is a wonderful thing. The rapidly growing Vallarta chain of Mexican-themed supermarkets is great on produce and they have a real butcher shop on the premises. A lot of people have started going to them just for that stuff and getting the rest of their stuff at the Ralphs across the street. When it was first announced that Vallarta was going in where an Albertsons had formerly operated, there were a lot of cries of 'there goes the neighborhood' but that has long since faded away as far as I can tell.

  • Patriot Henry

    "The only sustainable monopolies are those enforced by the government, which through licensing, regulation, zoning, or all of the above, squash upstart competitors at the expense of consumers in favor of politically connected incumbents."

    Correct. That's the source of MalWarts "success". Amusing that the beast that feeds them can also deny them some morsels here and there.

    While Mal-Wart does suck...it's only worse than the other commodity chains. They are all fundamentally the same thing.