Vital Signs

Buy Local

There seems to be a common theme in modern libertarian thought that stresses the merits of giant corporate enterprises, claiming that they are infinitely superior to smaller, less capitalized, local businesses.  One article that I read extolled the virtues of chain bookstores versus their benighted independent “competition.”  My interest here is personal: I work part-time at the last remaining local independent bookstore in DeKalb, Illinois, which is now going out of business.  When I realized that I needed a break from my research, could use some additional spending money, and wanted to enjoy the company of intelligent, literate people, my first choice was to work at my favorite bookstore.  Now, a major bookstore chain has moved here, and the city has announced that the new store will get government subsidies through a special taxing district.  My employer has never been subsidized. 

I have been a customer at this local bookstore virtually since it first opened its doors.  I have also happily spent my meager funds in the other locally owned and operated stores and restaurants that have graced my favorite town for many years.  I realize, of course, that the independent merchants do not offer the huge selection found at the chain stores.  Local vendors’ prices are generally higher as well.  So how is it that I, a seasoned graduate of the Mises University,...

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