How Local Businesses are Beating the Global Competition

By Michael H. Shuman in Book Reviews on December 12th, 2007 / No Comments

“There is no alternative” (in the words of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher) to globalization and the primacy of the multinational corporation. According to the defenders of this status quo philosophy-dubbed TINA-there is only one road to economic success: get large multinationals to locate in your local community, and export your goods as widely as possible all across the globe.

Because of their huge scale and international reach, these multinational retailers and manufacturers are seen by TINA proponents as being more efficient and profitable, more able to deliver better prices for their goods, and more able provide jobs in the communities that they are located in. To TINA proponents locally owned small businesses are simply quaint remnants of the past, no longer able to compete in the global economy.

But in The Small-Mart Revolution, Michael Shuman proposes an alternative economic model based on local ownership and import substitution-or as he calls it: LOIS. He shows how contrary to popular myth, locally owned businesses are competitive with the multinationals and how they’re gaining ground every day. And he challenges us all to not only buy locally produced goods, but also to apply the LOIS philosophy across the board to non-retail goods like home mortgages.

Shuman highlights eight 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 can support these businesses by “going local” in their spending and how investors, policymakers, and global organizers can join the Small-Mart Revolution as well.

The Small-Mart Revolution is not just a book title. As Shuman makes clear, the Small-Mart Revolution is a movement and a call to arms to revitalize our communities by producing, selling, buying, and aspiring to conduct all aspects of modern day business on a local level. 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.

Find more books like this – visit the publisher: Berret-Koehler

“You will gasp, chuckle, and recoil at Michael Shuman’s myth-busting story of category killers and community hijackings. Illusions abound in big business, but the biggest tooth fairy of all is the assertion that megalithic corporations save us money. The consumer’s friend is not the company with the luxury boxes at the Super Bowl, but the local entrepreneurs that coach Little League. The Small-Mart Revolution details an economic uprising based on decency and common sense that is coming to a neighborhood near you: businesses whose interests align with yours.”

– Paul Hawken, author of The Ecology of Commerce

About the author:
Michael H. Shuman is Vice President for Enterprise Development at the Training & Development Corporation. He is the former director of the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC, cofounder of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, and is the recipient of a Kellogg National Leadership Fellowship. He is the author of several books, including Going Local: Creating Self-Reliant Communities in a Global Age. His articles have appeared in many publications, including The Nation, The Weekly Standard, New York Times, and Washington Post; and he has been a periodic commentator on NPR.

Available at amazon: The Small-Mart Revolution

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