Monday night when returning from our Meatless Mondays Steak Dinner, I asked a reader who had traveled with me to there event if he noticed that there were more chain stores opening up across LA. On the way back from Burbank (to West Hollywood), within fewer than five minutes, we passed a new Walgreen’s and two Rite-Aids, one of them new.
There do seem to be more such drug stores opening up across LA, not to mention fast food restaurants, with a Chipotle replacing a flower shop on Melrose and La Brea and what appears to be an Old Navy moving into space on Beverly vacated by an independent furniture store.
Given that big companies have large staffs to help them maneuver through regulatory hoops — and making the cost of compliance (through economies of scale) cheaper per storefront than for an independent operation, it seems that big government makes it easier for the big guys and more challenging for individual entrepreneurs.
Ironic that more often than not, those who lament the increasing presence of chain stores tend to vote for the politicians whose policies serve to give a competitive advantage to those chain stores.
FROM THE COMMENTS: David Boaz suspects
. . . there might be two things going on. Chain stores probably have efficiencies of scale, bigger marketing budgets spread over more stores, more research on what consumers like, etc. But yes, it is also often argued that compliance is easier for larger companies. They have lawyers, HR departments, and so on. Charles Murray — maybe in his book “In Pursuit” — has argued that increasing complexity requiring verbal and paperwork skills benefits educated people — the sort of people who write regulations and get hired by big companies. Small business folks may be less likely to be college-educated and proficient at navigating bureaucracies.
David’s book Libertarianism: A Primer is quite a good read — and highly recommended.