This Land is My Land, This Land is My Land

Clay Shirky clay@shirky.com
Tue, 23 Oct 2001 09:52:33 -0400 (EDT)


> you couldn't buy those batteries in a store that doesn't eat up 9 acres, 
> Wayne?

Uh, it doesn't "eat up" 9 acres, it just uses 9 acres (or whatever the
real number is). 

You are making the same mistake as Bove, who thought McDonalds was the
proximate cause of his discontent. Its not like Ray Kroc made an
attack on French food part of his last will and testament; Bove's
problem is that enough of his fellow citizens are willing to eat
hamburgers that McDonalds can turn a profit. French culinary culture
was in many ways just a set of limitations on its citizens; given the
choice, it turns out that enough of them are willing to drop a few
francs on a Fromageburger Royale with biggie fries to keep McD open all
over the country.

Ditto Wal-Mart. Sam Walton didn't sit around rubbing his hands in evil
glee at the thought of paying for real esate he would never use --
"Then, we'll buy *9* acres even though we can only profitably use 2!!!
Mwah-ha-ha!!!" The annals of retail have hardly ever seen a cheaper
bastard than Sam. Wal-Mart is as big as it is becuase enough of your
fellow citizens like paying less for the stuff they want.

I know it must pain you that the middle class is so, well, middle class,
but that's just how it is.

-clay