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Stacy Mitchell
Stacy Mitchell is co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and runs its Community-Scaled Economy Initiative. She is the author of Big-Box Swindle and produces a popular monthly bulletin called the Hometown Advantage.

Entries by Stacy Mitchell

Is Shopping Local Making a Comeback?

(0) Comments | Posted December 1, 2014 | 9:30 AM

Independent retailers might be on the verge of making a comeback. New data show locally owned stores are increasingly popular with shoppers, deliver more jobs and economic benefits than big retailers, and, in a few categories, like books and groceries, are now expanding in number for the first time in...

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Walmart Is the Last Place Obama Should Be Making a Clean Energy Speech

(0) Comments | Posted May 9, 2014 | 11:59 AM

Cross-posted on Grist.

Today President Obama is speaking about clean energy and energy efficiency at a Walmart in Mountain View, Calif. Of all the places he might give a big speech on energy, a Walmart supercenter is a baffling and disconcerting choice.

Walmart -- despite its skill in...

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Small Business Lending Plummets as Loans to Big Business Soar

(4) Comments | Posted April 24, 2014 | 9:28 AM

Even as their big competitors are awash in capital, many locally owned businesses are struggling to secure the financing they need to grow.  Since 2000, bank lending to large businesses is up 36 percent, while small business loan volume has fallen 14 percent and  "micro" business loans -- those under $100,000...

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Two Big-Box Decisions Show How Smart Planning Policies Protect Good Jobs

(0) Comments | Posted April 15, 2014 | 1:55 PM

Although few cities take full advantage of them, planning and zoning powers are among the most potent tools communities have for shaping their economies. Two recent decisions, in Massachusetts and Wisconsin, underscore why land use planning matters and how smart policies can strengthen the local economy and protect good jobs.

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The Truth Behind Walmart's Green Claims

(0) Comments | Posted April 1, 2014 | 1:54 PM

By Jesse Bacon and Stacy Mitchell

In 2005, when atmospheric CO2 had climbed to 379 parts per million and Walmart's public approval rating had fallen to an all-time low, the company's then-CEO Lee Scott made a dramatic announcement. "Every company has a responsibility to reduce greenhouse gases as quickly as...

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Walmart's Latest 'Buy America' Sham

(85) Comments | Posted August 22, 2013 | 2:23 PM

Almost 30 years ago, as the U.S. was bleeding jobs, Walmart launched a "Buy America" program and started hanging "Made in America" signs in its 750 stores. It was a marketing success, cementing the retailer's popularity in the country's struggling, blue-collar heartland.  A few years later, NBC's Dateline revealed...

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The Truth About Amazon and Job Creation

(1) Comments | Posted July 30, 2013 | 6:35 PM

Of all the places President Obama might give a speech on job creation, an Amazon warehouse is a particularly perplexing choice. Here are five ways Amazon is costing our economy and undermining real job growth.

1. Amazon destroys more jobs than it creates.

Brick-and-mortar retailers employ 47 people...

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A Smart Way to Handle Big-Box Stores

(0) Comments | Posted July 9, 2013 | 5:46 PM

This month, citizens and planning officials in Cape Cod, Mass., will get a chance to do what almost no one else in the U.S. is allowed to do when deciding whether to approve or reject a big-box retail development: weigh the likely impacts on the region's economy.

Thousands of proposals...

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New Data Show Walmart, Whole Foods Free Ride on Taxpayers at the Expense of Small Businesses

(29) Comments | Posted June 7, 2013 | 6:14 PM

It costs the Old Town Bike Shop in Colorado Springs about $24,000 a year to provide health insurance for four employees, according to owner John Crandall. Meanwhile, his largest competitors, Walmart and Target, foist much of their health care costs onto taxpayers, according to new data released by Massachusetts, Missouri,...

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On Climate, What Walmart Says vs. What It Does

(16) Comments | Posted May 1, 2013 | 6:07 AM

Walmart has been generating some impressive-sounding headlines on the environment lately. After making a heavily publicized announcement on energy use earlier this month, the giant retailer garnered headlines such as "Walmart Will Increase Use of Renewables 600%" and "Walmart Targets Ambitious Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency Standards." ...

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Bangladesh Fire Shows Why We Can't Trust Walmart to Green Its Supply Chain

(0) Comments | Posted December 20, 2012 | 8:56 AM

Cross-posted with Grist.

Walmart has staked the lion's share of its sustainability program on greening its supply chain. Instead of changing its own business practices -- selling flimsy, landfill-bound products and building sprawling stores that can only be reached by car, for example -- Walmart has said that it...

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Why We Can't Counter Corporate Power by Being Better Shoppers

(6) Comments | Posted December 14, 2012 | 4:41 PM

I recently gave a TEDx talk that looks at one of the more pressing challenges of our time: How do we wrest control of our economy back from giant corporations?

The statistics are stunning: Four big banks dominate our banking system. Agribusiness giants monopolize food production. Walmart...

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How Walmart Is Devouring Our Food System (Infographic)

(78) Comments | Posted December 4, 2012 | 10:20 AM

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...

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6 Small Business Issues at Stake in This Election

(9) Comments | Posted October 29, 2012 | 5:26 PM

A number of critical small business issues are at stake in next month's federal and state elections. Here are six of the most important.

1. Restructuring the Banking System

Nearly half of all small businesses have been unable to secure adequate financing, according to recent surveys. Even as the...

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Too Big to Lend

(11) Comments | Posted October 18, 2012 | 4:15 PM

Two years ago, Bank of America announced it would "hire more than 1,000 small business bankers." It's been using the hiring to gin up a steady stream of positive press ever since.

But what exactly these "small business bankers" have been doing is anyone's guess. Small business...

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Walmart: 50 Years of Gutting America's Middle Class

(18) Comments | Posted July 5, 2012 | 7:32 PM

Sam Walton opened the first Walmart store in Rogers, Arkansas, 50 years ago this month. Sprawled along a major thoroughfare outside the city's downtown, that inaugural store embodied many of the hallmarks that have since come to define the Walmart way of doing business. Walton scoured the country for the...

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Another Shocking Fact About the Walmart Heirs

(33) Comments | Posted December 9, 2011 | 2:32 PM

The Waltons currently own 49 percent of Walmart stock.

That's right. The six Waltons, heirs to Walmart founder Sam Walton, not only have a net worth equal to the combined wealth of the bottom 30 percent of Americans, as we learned this week from University of California...

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In South Africa, Wal-Mart Refuses to Buy Local, Threatens WTO Action, and Wins

(16) Comments | Posted June 1, 2011 | 12:50 PM

Two things seem particularly noteworthy about the approval Wal-Mart won yesterday to acquire Massmart, a Johannesburg-based chain that operates across 13 African countries.

One is that, despite the ample publicity Wal-Mart has engineered for its "buy local" efforts, the company in fact has zero interest...

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Why Republicans Hate Warren's CFPB But Love Another Bank Regulator

(3) Comments | Posted March 18, 2011 | 11:32 AM

Stepping up their attacks on Elizabeth Warren and the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau this week, House Republicans painted a picture of an all-powerful agency -- Financial Services Chairman Spencer Bachus called it "the most powerful agency that's ever been created in Washington"-- whose director will rule the banking industry...

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With Bank Loans Scarce, Entrepreneurs Turn to Customers for Financing

(4) Comments | Posted October 14, 2010 | 12:52 PM

In the summer of 2008, business partners Jessica Stockton Bagnulo and Rebecca Fitting were making plans to open a bookstore in Brooklyn. Their chosen neighborhood, Fort Greene, was over the moon at the prospect. For years, residents had been clamoring for a bookstore, repeatedly citing it as their top need...

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