Comment 22937

By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted May 12, 2008 at 11:52:26

So our only choice other than an old brownfield is a big-box store?

Constantly knocking down and rebuilding low-quality structures (or simply expanding urban boundaries and putting them out there) is such a colossal waste of capital dollars that it practically bars all but the market's largest players - Home Depot, Wal Mart or Tim Hortons, etc. In return, the financing needed drains profits from the neighbourhood for years to come, and the company brings the rest home to its head office, usually abroad. Yes, you can still buy hardware, groceries and furniture, and yes, you can still get a (low wage) job, but all of the other economic benefits flee the area like rats from a sinking ship. Ever tried selling products from your local business to a large chain? Fortinos, for instance, will only buy food if you can supply the entire chain, further elbowing small, local producers out of the economy (and meaning that even while organic beets are in season in Flamborogh, the store still ships them in from Peru).

This type of development is economic colonialism. We now operate in homogeneous institutions designed from corporate command centres afar, sending back all surplus profits (rather than reinvesting them locally), leaving us McJobs running only the day-to-day infrastructure like shipping/recieving or cash registers, with next to no meaningful input in either the shaping of our workplaces or communities. And like all empires, it masquerades as the "best" and "most efficient", while simply using the resources it funnels from existing client-communities to smash its way into new ones. Free markets? Yeah, right.

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