Defenders of massive multinational chains like Wal-Mart and Fortune 500 big business argue that, like it or not, there is no alternative. Their huge scale and international reach, they claim, make them more efficient and profitable, better able to deliver value, and an uncontested boon for the job market. According to the big boys, locally owned small businesses are simply quaint remnants of the past, unable to compete in the global economy.
But in The Small-Mart Revolution, Michael Shuman shows that the benefits these mega-stores and huge corporations supposedly deliver to communities are illusory. Crunch the numbers and you'll find that locally owned businesses turn out to be much more reliable generators of good jobs, economic growth, tax dollars, community wealth, charitable contributions, social stability, and political participation. Unlike their global competitors, they do this without massive tax breaks and subsidies that often put local economies in a permanent hole. Plus, contrary to popular belief, local businesses are competitive with the multinationals--and gaining ground every day. Shuman highlights numerous trends that are making the old "bigger is better" economies of scale argument obsolete, and he describes a variety of innovative strategies these businesses are using to successfully compete with their over-sized competitors. He also shows how consumers, investors, and policymakers can support their own communities by "going local." The Small-Mart Revolution offers a robust alternative to "go-go" globalization, one that nurtures the creative capacities of local businesses and enables communities everywhere to thrive.
“This is a badly needed book. —BILL MCKIBBEN, author of The End of Nature The Small-Mart Revolution reveals why supporting small business makes good economic sense and how they offer the only real long- term solution for the health of our neighborhoods and our nation. It will touch your heart, while showing you how to better mind your wallet. —DR. NANCY SNYDERMAN, Vice President for Consumer Education, Johnson & Johnson, and Associate Professor of Head and Neck Surgery, University of Pennsylvania There are precious few good alternatives to the “Wal-Martization” of our communities. The Small-Mart Revolution not only provides an alternative analysis, it tells us how we can make it happen. —ROBERT GREENWALD, director of the documentary “Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price” The Small-Mart Revolution is an essential resource for every local business owner, government official, and public interest citizen advocate. Michael Shuman makes a convincing case that the future belongs to the small and local. This is an authoritative, practical, and highly readable handbook on rebuilding local economies as an alternative to corporate-led economic globalization by the leading guru of local economic development. —DAVID C. KORTEN, author of When Corporations Rule the World and The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community The Small-Mart Revolution provides the most important blueprint for economic development I’ve ever seen. It shows how communities can prosper by putting local constituents and businesses first. The book should be required reading for local elected officials and civil servants across America. —LARRY AGRAN, Mayor of Irvine, California (2000–2004) Some of us have embraced globalization without worrying overmuch about the consequences. Others of us are fighting pointless battles against progress, technology, and capitalism. Here, Michael Shuman presents a badly needed Third Way. He says that by strengthening our local businesses and communities we’ll be creating a better capitalism and a better world. And he backs it up with logic, examples, statistics, and passion! This is the kind of book that could launch a whole new social-political movement. —MARK SATIN, author of Radical Middle: The Politics We Need Now Michael Shuman has done it again. He shows the power of grassroots economics—not as mere theory about a future world— but as real people, today, creating an equitable economy from the grassroots up. This book will revolutionize your thinking about “development.” Do yourself and all of us a favor by reading it and then acting on it. —KEVIN DANAHER, Co-Director, Global Exchange The world is about to become a larger place again. Globalism is toast. Caught up in raptures of credit-fueled discount shopping, few Americans realize how profoundly our society is about to change. We are sleepwalking into a permanent global energy crisis that will compel us to live much more locally than we have for generations. We face a desperate need to reconstruct local networks of economic relations—and we should have begun this great task yesterday. This is an invaluable guide to how we might accomplish this. —JAMES HOWARD KUNSTLER, author of The Long Emergency As global markets explode, Michael Shuman offers a compelling alternative for growth towards a healthier civil society. Anyone interested in the consequences of globalization dominated by multinationals should read this book. —MICHELE BARRY, Professor of Medicine and Global Health, Yale University”