I won’t add much here other than the fact that, for the most part, I share many of these sentiments with Professor Daniel Gilbert. I’m certainly not an anti-corporation type of guy (I am a stockbroker after all), but the ubiquitous corporate takeover of Main Street storefronts everywhere pretty much blows.
From the New York Times:
Downtowns were once collections of local businesses that lured us with claims of uniqueness: “Try our homemade pies,” their signs read, or “Best jazz selection in town.” Today, those signs have been replaced by familiar corporate logos that make precisely the opposite claim, promising us the same goods arranged in the same way as they are in every other place. The banks and burritos and baristas on one city block are replicated on the next — and in all the malls, in all the cities, in all the states. Americans can drive from one ocean to the other, stopping every day for the same hamburger and every evening at the same hotel. Traveling in a straight line is no longer much different than traveling in a circle.
I fear that the credit crisis has only exacerbated this relentless trend, as the big guys have been able to access credit and equity investment while the local businesses, as of this writing, still cannot. Hope you like Office Depot and Panera Bread Cafe…