Fair Trade: The arcane reason small retailers can’t compete with chains

If you want to understand why small retailers struggle in modern America, you need to understand one thing: fair trade laws. Today, fair trade is typically presented in the context of international trade. Essentially, a regulation that allows producers in the developing world to compete with large multinational conglomerates who have massive scale and purchasing… Continue reading

Consumer Packaged Goods and Quality Issues on Amazon

In 2020, one of the most significant issues facing consumer packaged goods manufacturers is what they should do about Amazon. Amazon controls about 50 percent of the American online market. That means that a brand’s Amazon strategy often becomes their overall e-commerce strategy. At first glance, consumer packaged goods and Amazon seem like they should… Continue reading

Reengineering Retail by Doug Stephens - A  review

Reengineering Retail isn’t a bad book. It’s just…whatever. Written by Doug Stephens, Reengineering Retail tries to lay out a theory that encompasses the future of retail. The central idea is this. Digital technology has upended the traditional retail industry. The retail store is no longer a static distribution point for a product. Instead, Stephens, a self-proclaimed “consumer futurist”, sees them as “experiential media channels.” Now, throw in a bunch of business buzzwords, technology-centric case studies, and a weird 20-page diversion into innovation consulting, and you have successfully described Reengineering Retail.

Review: The Fall of Wisconsin by Dan Kaufman

The Fall of Wisconsin, a 2018 book by New Yorker’s Dan Kaufman, analyzes how conservatives utilized Dark Money, Gerrymandering, and Weak Democratic opposition to enact a radical and dangerous conservative agenda in Wisconsin. “(Their) devastating success has allowed for the transformation of Wisconsin into a laboratory for corporate interests and conservative activists,” Kaufman writes. Act… Continue reading

Nixonland: How a book about Richard Nixon helps explains Donald Trump

The central thesis of Nixonland, a sprawling look at the origin, rise, and decline of the Nixon administration, is that there was simmering white resentment underneath the optimism and change of the Kennedy Administration. Hidden behind the civil rights movement was a mass of unhappy middle-class white people. Nixon wasn’t the first politician to exploit white… Continue reading

Review: Devil’s Bargain by Joshua Greene

Joshua Greene’s Devil’s Bargain is ostensibly about Steve Bannon, arguably mainstream Democrats biggest boogeyman not named Vladimir Putin. The book, of course, covers his evolution from the Navy to Goldman Sachs, to World of Warcraft, to Hollywood, and to (supposedly) anti-Goldman right-wing crusader. However, the book is really about how three well-financed forces coalesced and… Continue reading

Yelp, Antitrust, and Google

Google, Amazon, and Facebook are modern-day railroads. The technology companies are three of the few organizations that own and control our modern infrastructure. Connor Dougherty published a nice look at how Google’s monopolist position impacts the businesses that rely on the infrastructure it owns. Like farmers and railroads before, web service providers like Yelp are effectively… Continue reading