There is an ongoing battle here in France, led by 'Wal-Mart' type stores, to liberalize the market, to allow supermarkets to negotiate lower prices from their suppliers. The magazine '20 minutes' had an article on it this morning (it's actually fairly difficult to avoid seeing something about it at least once a week), and beside the article they had a little sidebar, which I translate below:

The Numbers:

400 meters squared: The minimum size of a 'hypermarket' or 'supermarket'.

66.1% : Percent of market for food held by supermarkets, versus 8.4% for small shops and frozen food stores.

520,000 : Number of people who worked in supermarkets in 2001, versus 186,000 in small shops.

174.8 billion euros : Sales of supermarkets in 2003, versus 15.1 billion euros for small shops.

I should put in parenthetically that there exist stores here devoted completely to frozen food products. I guess it makes sense...? Anyway, the sidebar seemed to be completely for the 'lower prices' plan, and the main story did as well. In fact, I haven't seen very many people against it, excluding small business owners, who seem to have much less power than you might have thought. Or perhaps it's just that Paris is a bubble, and the rest of France is up in arms....
Lisa D. commented:
Hm.. clearly they haven't read any economic multiplier analyses, which basically say that 2 to 3 times as much money stays in Paris if it's spent at these small stores instead of supermarkets. So, it might be a lower cost short term, but long term it means more crappy jobs at these supermarkets, and less money for the community long term. Let alone the quality of life decreases, and quality of food decreases (not sure about the last part, but that's certainly the case in American Supermarkets). Hm, seems like there are many French who get the idea when it comes to McDonalds and Starbucks - wonder why it doesn't compute for this issue? And what's up with the frightening colors, anyways? Are you trying to discourage us from commenting?
on Tue Oct 19 23:42:52 2004

David commented:
Too difficult to figure out what the color codes mean. And in the end, I'm awfully darned lazy!
on Wed Oct 20 19:24:16 2004

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