Last Man StandingFirst of all, he states:
But what happens once those mega-retailers are the last one standing? Prices are likely to go up.I don't know about that. I'm definitely not a hardcore Laissez-faire kind of guy, and it really isn't the main point of his article, but I think that setting up an online retail site (or account on Amazon or Ebay) has such low overhead that the barriers to entry are too low for a monopolist to jack up prices. A local mega-store might be able to get away with it, but they would face the same competition from online retailers that the smaller shops do. Assuming that the mega-stores can't jack up prices, there is an argument to be made in favor of small local stores being pushed out by large chains. If goods like food, paper, cleaning supplies, etc. are cheaper, then people will have more money left over for more "useful" things that create better jobs than sales clerks. This is known as the "yay efficiency!" argument, and I think it has to be balanced with the "everyone in the town goes broke" argument.