Is Big-Box Retail bad for the economy and free-market capitalism?


Over the past 25 years America has seen a transformation of our retail infrastructure go from mom-and-pop stores to big box stores.

Speaking for myself, I love the convenience of big box. And certainly the retail evolution that has led us to the big box model is understandable.

But that may not be the point, but instead, possibly, that the big box retail infrastructure represents:

  • a condensation of wealth that is prohibitive of a healthy economy where wealth is distributed to millions of moms and pops,
  • a destruction of a competitive labor pool, where good workers can bargain with their employers for better wages, or else go work for their employer’s competitor,
  • a destruction of a competitive goods and services environment where vendors and manufacturers are plentiful, each competing to access retailers supply chains.

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To illustrate these problems, imagine a small town with hardware stores. Back in the old days, there were probably 10 hardware stores, each with a different owner.

EXAMPLE 1 – imagine one of these hardware stores, such as Mayberry Hardware. The owner wants to sell wrenches. If there are thousands of different hardware stores around the country, then each owner will probably have slightly different wishes for what kind of wrenches they want to sell, and thus there will inevitably be dozens and dozens of wrench manufacturers around the country developing slight variations of the common wrench.

But if there is only one hardware company in the country (with thousands of stores), and that one hardware company chooses AmeriWrenches as its brand to sell at all of its stores, then the dozens and dozens of other wrench manufacturers will be unable to survive, and will go out of business. And all of its employees will have no choice but to go work at AmeriWrenches.


EXAMPLE 2 – imagine a worker, Little Joe, working at Bubba’s Hardware Store. Imagine that Little Joe is an amazing worker: he knows all the tools, all the construction projects around town, all the customers, all the vendors in the industry, all the tool manufacturers in the industry. But Bubba hasn’t given him a raise in 2 years. Little Joe requests a raise. Bubba refuses. But if there are lots of other hardware stores, Little Joe can go to one of them, such as Steve’s Hardware, and say, “Listen, Mr. Steve, I am great; if it weren’t for me, Bubba would go out of business; but he doesn’t pay me enough … hire me and I can bring my expertise to benefit your store.” In this scenario, we see that employees are in a natural, free market environment, using the principles of ‘competition’ to improve their own value.

However, if there is only one hardware store company in town that owns 10 individual stores around town, then Little Joe is not able to bargain on his own for better wages.

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It should be noted that these same problems occur when one national bank swallows up thousands of local banks, or when one large insurance company swallows up thousands of local insurance companies.




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Does the NRA Inhibit Constructive Dialog


If someone like me says, “gun regulation should be discussed”, some NRA person will respond, “you’re not american, you’re against freedom, you’re stupid, you think hugging criminals will work.” So to avoid being yelled at by my family and friends I, like millions of other people, just keep quiet! Consequently, our country has not had a real democratic discussion about guns and the 2nd Amendment.

Healthy discussions usually produce good answers. The NRA culture should not be afraid of the discussion if they believe that their approach is the right approach.

healthy discussions lead to good things

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There are 5 potential reasons for guns:
#1 – the Foreign Invaders argument – guns for militia members for protecting the homeland.
#2 – the Tyrannical Government argument – guns for a populace to thwart tyranny.
#3 – the Self-Defense argument – guns for individuals protecting themselves against each other.
#4 – the I Need Meat argument – guns for individuals that hunt.
#5 – the It’s Nice and Shiny argument – guns for sportsmen and collectors.
(Maybe there are more, but this is a start.)

We should discuss all 5, independently, from both a constitution-era point of view and from a modern-era point of view.

From a CONSTITUTION-era point of view:
#1is what is ‘written’ in the 2nd Amendment.
#1 & #2were both contextually relevant in 18th c., and both were discussed.
#3was neither relevant nor discussed in 18th c.
#4was relevant but not discussed in 18th c.
#5was neither relevant nor discussed in 18th c.

From a MODERN-era point of view:
#1we do not need anymore (our military is solid).
#2we have other mechanisms to prevent tyrannical governments.
#3fair enough, but only if we thoroughly analyze our entire society to understand why we have so many criminals in the first place, because possibly they are a byproduct of some sickness in our society, and maybe they are fixable … maybe.
#4fair enough, but only with the right comprehensive training.
#5fair enough, but only with the right comprehensive training.

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Gun Ownership Only With Qualified Training
Any reasonable person should be ok being required to be trained to own a weapon.

Basic gun ownership would require Level 1 training.
Level 1 training would be geared toward the most fundamental of gun claims: protecting the home.
Included in Level 1 firearms training should be psych evaluations and proper training about storing the gun in the home.
Level 1 might require 3 months of weekly sessions. Trainers would be certified by the NRA, but liable to civil and criminal courts for failure to uphold high standards (now you have a check & balance between the NRA’s desire to spread guns, and the public’s desire to have safe, qualified gun owners).

Level 1 would probably only cover low-shot hand guns, which are appropriate for home protection.

A Concealed Weapons Permit would require Level 2 training, specifically some type of Action-based Training (something that probably only military, police, and the most hardcore gun sportsmen ever get). Ab-T would last probably 20 hours, I don’t know, maybe 100.

Why should CWP owners be required to satisfy Level 2 requirements … because a CWP holder is implicitly saying, “I am taking my gun into the public, where all the action is, and if there is trouble I’m going to pull my weapon out into the public space with the intent to pull the trigger.” Therefore that person should have to prove that he/she can handle that action: people running, screaming, shots already being fired from some undetermined direction.

Level 2 would probably also only cover low-shot hand guns.

For hunters they would need a Level 3 certificate. For sportsmen, a Level 4 certificate. Etc.

What do you think about the idea of appropriate training for weapons permits?



Your 2nd Amendment Rights?! … what about donald trump’s??


I have a couple of enemies: the guy whose parking space I snaked this morning at the grocery store, and the occasional random mugger that tries to get my credit cards. But these enemies are simple and I can take care of them with a few pistol bullets into their guts. Easy.

Donald Trump, on the other hand, has complex enemies due to his fame and fortune. Anyone in his family would be a valuable ransom for well organized kidnappers, such as those damn mexican cartels who have demonstrated time and time again that they can organize and penetrate an enemy encampment, pulling off any number of different types of insurgency’s.

And because of this, Donald Trump cannot resolve to a simple pistol for his protection, or even a single assault rifle (which does no good when 20 armed mexicans come jumping over your fence). Fortunately, he has the 2nd amendment (recently re-interpreted by the SCOTUS (at the behest of the NRA)) giving him the right to arm himself accordingly: with rocket launchers, probably, and he may need Black Hawks too.

Wait … he can’t have these?! His rights are being infringed. We need to stop all this simple talk about assault rifles, and start focusing on the bigger picture. Donald I am with you: build your personal IED’s, and defend what is yours.

this guy needs more than a simple pistol to protect what’s his



Are you a responsible gun owner, or reckless … try this simple test


What’s your GORF score? Use this simple equation to find out …


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Divide:
x … the amount of Time that you talk about responsible gun ownership by
Y … the amount of Time that you talk about the 2nd Amendment.

If you get a number greater than 3.5, then you are a responsible gun owner.

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Why is this equation important in today’s gun conversation in America? Because over the last few years, apparently some shifts have occurred in our population demographics, and now it is difficult to distinguish between responsible gun owners and reckless gun owners.

Being able to distinguish between these two groups has important implications in our society. Hence my simple equation to help you figure out who is who … the GORF equation.

GORF is an acronym for “Gun-Owner Responsibility Factor”. I am leaving the equation in a simple form, though I should really re-work it to normalize its output, maybe using 0 or 1 as the benchmark value. But as it stands, the benchmark value is 3.5 (I’ll explain in a moment).

In slightly more algebraic notation, my GORF equation looks like this:
GORF = Trgh ÷ Tsar
Trgh is the amount of time u discuss Responsible Gun Handling,
Tsar is the amount of time u discuss Second Amendment Rights.

A good GORF value is 3.5 … If a person’s GORF value is less than 3.5 then that means that that person is reckless, and a danger to civil society; but above 3.5 means that that person is responsible and safe.