My key argument against this stance comes from Mark Thomas. In terms of the movement of money, 70p in the pound stays in the local area when spent in local shops whilst 70p in the pound leaves the area when spent in a branch of a large corporation. The “velocity of money” created by simply having money in the area moved between local businesses creates growth within the local microeconomic climate – taking wages up with it and costs down. In terms of local entrepreneurs this makes small businesses more viable, increasing their number and exponentially increasing the velocity of money yet further. In terms of the working class there are not only better wages and a lower cost of living but also an increase in these jobs and more potential for progression upwards. It’s this kind of effect that contributed so much to the baby-boomers generation during the 1960s – not the “hard-work and nouse” line they enjoy spewing out with utmost entitlement.
The chances for someone to “work their way up” within a corporation is basically nil. Wages are fixed nationally, usually at the minimum wage without any extra benefits, and this will not change – especially with the millions corporations can spend on union-busting lawyers, company-managed unions and workplace intimidation. The outsourcing of admin coupled with low job security means that the positions to be “worked up” to are inevitably taken by graduates brought in fresh to the company. Similarly, this same lack of job security means that the minimum wage employees can be sacked at the drop of a hat. As there is no way to organise the labour force the corporation has full power (and economic resources) to conduct mass lay-offs, safe in the knowledge that there’s a million more to fill the vacancies.
Local businesses cannot afford to do this, which means they cherish their staff more and thus provide better opportunities and support. If they don’t, then the staff is small enough to organise effectively against them. The livelihood of the small-business owner is directly tied to their staff. Corporations have no connection to their staff and have been known to run an entire wing of their operation at a loss – purely to drive local competition out of business and cement their stranglehold upon the local working class.
This is how capitalism and the free-market inevitably lead to monopolisation whilst all the while genuinely offering free choice. The trick is that it’s a forced choice – they know which card you’ll pick all along. Undercutting local businesses by running at a loss puts them out of business. The prices then go up, wages fall, and the sensible choice is then to work for the corporation as there is no where else to go – any surviving establishments will have to cut their wages too. The local economic microclimate is dominated by a single monopoly that drains the resources from the area, essentially creating a sink-hole to drain the finances of the entire community and spew them into the pockets of those at the top. These people don’t pay taxes by the way, nor do the companies. Everyone in the country suffers. Well, except for them I guess…
Anyway, I’ve gone on quite long enough for now. It’s late and I’m rather tired. In summation then, large corporations are not good for those on low incomes. They lower incomes in fact, whilst making those incomes unstable and increasing unemployment. In this sense, there are no true individuals as each individual choice is a choice regarding society.
Oh, and as to the proposed “replacement” of the swimming baths. A privately owned leisure centre may be better than a publically owned one – just as BUPA is “better” than the NHS, but we can’t all afford that – and no-one but the shareholders have any say on how it’s run. Again, the free choice involved here is the choice to surrender your own power. The loss of political and economic power within the working classes has been the prevailing trend within this country for decades – and it’s made all the more pernicious thanks to its ideological mantra of “free choice”. Supermarket chains offer you the choice to reduce your expenditure at the same moment they reduce your income and eliminate your workplace power. The price is cheap, yet the cost is great.
The fight against a monopolistic supermarket is only the beginning in the fight for working-class rights. We must organise, strike, and resist persecution in every workplace. We must express our solidarity with those doing the same elsewhere. Don’t ask for cheaper commodities – demand better pay! It seems to me that this is where all this organic energy should be spent.
 Having lived in West Didsbury where cupcakes are £3 I can see how this premise makes sense on an individualist, emotional basis
 See Tescos or Stagecoach for the most obvious examples, although the practice is rife. ASDA, or more rightly Walmart, is equally if not more vicious.