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Eyesore_Feb_2014Woe and alack a day! A sign of the times in a hyper-turbo-techno-industrial economy rocking in the throes of meltdown, a.k.a. compressive deflationary contraction. Lo, what was once a dollar is now seventy-five cents. In another month, it’ll be fifty cents and perhaps they can sign up the celebrity “Fitty Cent” to shill for them. I went into this establishment once out of morbid curiosity about a year ago. The shelves were sparsely stocked with merchandise that looked like it fell off a truck in Guangzhao. Box wrenches made out of metallic margarine. Suspicious-looking snack foods in supernatural colors. Toxic this’n’that. This was, of course, marginal retail and we are seeing the commercial rot proceed from the margins to the center. Pretty soon you’ll see the Target stores closing and maybe, here and there, a WalMart. Don’t wring your hands. This sets America on the pathway to rebuilding Main Street economies, along with the multi-layered, fine-grained local and regional networks required to support them — which will eventually translate into local business opportunities for those who can understand the trend. The dollar store pictured above is in my little town of Greenwich, New York, population around 2,500, a former factory village now with no factories — but plenty of water power!

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About James Howard Kunstler

View all posts by James Howard Kunstler
James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency and the four-book series of World Made By Hand novels, set in a post economic crash American future. His most recent book is Living in the Long Emergency; Global Crisis, the Failure of the Futurists, and the Early Adapters Who Are Showing Us the Way Forward. Jim lives on a homestead in Washington County, New. York, where he tends his garden and communes with his chickens.

3 Responses to “February 2014”

  1. James Kuehl February 3, 2014 at 7:16 am #

    This is an excellent metaphor for our national tumble into mediocrity.

    Here’s hoping there is time to save a few of the graceful historic buildings here in the Southern Tier of New York. One developer is renovating older buildings for apartments, offices, and boutique businesses. The surrounding neighborhoods perk up and people start looking after things. Renovations take lots of patience, and there is pressure to just knock these structures down and slap up more crap. The engineers I’ve worked for don’t give a shit about place. If demolition is more profitable, they’ll take the money and leave a scab in the middle of town. It’s why cities like Binghamton, Elmira, and Syracuse are decaying while developers festoon the surrounding countryside with eyesores in the form of parking lots and strip malls.

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  3. mysieorlando May 11, 2021 at 3:54 pm #

    It’s tough to see local businesses shutdown due to lack of community support. I’m also at fault for supporting big corporations like those mentioned in the article. So what’s the solution? I’m not sure how we can combat convenience. Most of the products, of different categories, are offered by these companies and are easily accessible online.