Corporate Responsibility

I'm no economist. I don't have highly paid teams of people to give facts and figures and help back concepts by research. I'm not even really consulting google here on much. I'm just a guy that saw a local grocery store that's been in business for probably longer than he's been alive have to close it's doors. I live in a community where it seems like local businesses have been drying up in favor of big chain franchises.

Don't get me wrong. Giant franchises are great from a consumer's point of view. You have a degree of familiarity, they're large enough to buy in volumes that mean they can get discounts us mere mortals can't, and depending on how employees are treated they're a job creator.

My problem with these larger chains happen when they use their sheer bulk to start driving away local business. Being national (much less Global) means you can take losses in a particular area for years without it affecting your overall profits. So you can afford to undercut competition, even and especially if it's these little ma and pop places that have profit margins measuring in the pennies per day. Most places do good really to pay their own expenses much less show enough extra to be able to deal with competition that can sell everything you can cheaper, in bulk, and can afford to sell everything your neighbor and their neighbors can too.

We live in a capitalistic society, so this is how free enterprise should work shouldn't it? You're able to beat your competition you should be able to right? None of this 'can't afford to fall so we'll pull money out of your pocket whether you want or not and prop them up' business people got mad about that happened with the banks.

Thing is we've been in a recession (slump, downturn, depression, etc) for a few years now and where small time places could get by off catering to the locals either by having a local flavor about how things are done, or showcase local product, when people are at ends meet they'll do whatever they can to make their dollar go further even if that means abandoning a place that you've gone to for ten or twenty years because they have wonderful customer support and good quality for a place that has zilch on quality and treats you like a commodity because they sell the things you want (or need) at half the price.

So? Again free market should allow these sorts of things to happen right?

True, to an extent. It's where your jobs are starting to concentrate on these big chain places and there's maybe three or four local stores around (instead of a dozen or more) where you start running into trouble. This being, from as near as I can see, a concentration of jobs in a few places that are disinclined to either hire more than is absolutely needed since they have ot keep their heads up too, or address worker concerns because it's cheaper for them to fire the complainers and hire from the huge line of people that have been out of work for months and have stopped caring where so long as they aren't living on the streets.

Depending on what your business you could not really care about how your customers are doing. If you're in a business that sells sandwiches or clothes, or you sell a little of everything you probably won't care because people have to eat and find things to wear no matter what the economy's doing. Then again if your business thrives off luxuries you might start to worry that everyone suddenly being out of work means they won't be shopping with you as much.

I'm big on communities helping themselves. Person A helping person B and C helping A with whatever. I do this mostly for selfish motives believe it or not. The more people help eachother the better off the community is as a whole and everyone, and hey if it's a community I'm living in this includes me, benefits from the improved conditions. Yes this involves a bit of sharing and letting some short term profits slide, but long term gains would more than make up for it.

I say big business needs to at least look into aiding the communities they're in. Less 'you bring a competitor's coupon and we'll beat their price' and more 'we're going to try sponsoring local programs, try buying from local growers, or at the very least make sure we take how much it costs our employees to live in a given area into account when we dictate wages.

Astoundingly stupidly simple. Some would say even childish, and i wouldn't disagree with them. We all learn when we're tiny that sharing is a good thing. Yet in the Real World it seems dog eat dog I don't care if you're laying in a gutter so long as i get my blood nickle.

I'm not a business savvy sort of person, so I'm quite sure this seems like a lot of pointless pixels, but why must it be shareholders and profits above all else? I can understand the search for profits, but at what point does it go from needing that extra dollar so you don't go under to getting that dollar as a status symbol you can crow about? Does no good to have record profits when your customers can't buy except on rare occasions unless it's essentials.

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