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You know, I think it's past that point.
Living outside the US helps one to see the changes.
Ivonne went back to the US on business, and traveled through two states, Florida and Georgia, and Washington, D.C.
The thing that struck her most was the sweeping erasure of small business. In Orlando, in St. Petersburg, whole strip malls have simply been erased, their markets and customers apparently absorbed by the huge cut-raters.
In the food business, the wipeout among the small guys is well advanced- it's franchise food, or fix-your-own.
Interestingly, it's the ethnic food sellers who continue to eke out a living.
Not the ilk of Taco Belle. Real Mexican beaneries, Chinese or Thi seem to survive.
I think the loyalty of patrons is connected to a person or a family, and not to a brand there. How nice.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.
by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Wed Feb 23rd, 2011 at 11:01:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The ethnic food sellers ten to operate in the margins and cracks where the big boys can't or won't go: marginal neighborhoods, sidewalk carts, greymarket operations.  It's always been that way, but it's become more noticeable as the bigs have crushed everyone else and the ethnics have become "the last man standing".
by rifek on Wed Feb 23rd, 2011 at 11:43:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The other strong-hold of small businesses is construction related contracting and tradesmen. They also have taken a huge hit. It is traditional that during recessions dominant capital, the big boys, consolidate their position by buying or putting out of business smaller competition. During booms they expand their breadth of operation. During recessions or depressions they consolidate their depth.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Feb 23rd, 2011 at 11:56:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The small, construction contractor will not be coming back.  We have decided to destroy the publicly backed secondary market for mortgages, which made it possible for common people to own homes and frankly made the U.S. working class into part of the middle class, and so we are destroying the market for single family residences, which was what made small contractors possible.  We are abandoning an ownership society and exchanging it for an owned society.
by rifek on Thu Feb 24th, 2011 at 12:09:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A point of order: What is destroying the American middle class is that the income it used to use to buy stuff - including homes - isn't there any more. Give it back a reasonable income, and it will be able to obtain financing, with or without a secondary market for mortgages. That's the nice thing about having a central bank: It removes the loanable funds constraint, making the credit market a completely demand-side beast.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Feb 24th, 2011 at 02:19:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Worse, that income was turned into un-payable debt. Until that is resolved, nothing will recover.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Feb 24th, 2011 at 09:43:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Quite, that debt has to be restructured in the old fashioned way, through bankruptcy, to remove the private debt service burden which is bogging down the economy.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Feb 27th, 2011 at 12:52:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We've dismantled the infrastructure for providing a reasonable income to a middle class of any size.
by rifek on Sat Feb 26th, 2011 at 11:20:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... demand side solution. There is, however, ample policy opportunities to do so in the actions that Big Oil has forbidden over the past three decades.

If a fight is necessary, better it be a simple fight, and Big Oil versus The Survival of the Middle Class is both accurate in depth and sufficiently simplifiable.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Feb 27th, 2011 at 12:51:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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