Peter Gordon finds an interesting factoid: Data from the 2002 Economic Census are beginning to come in. Preliminary results show that sales by “Mom and Pop”(nonemployer firms) grew faster than sales by firms that employ others, 32% vs 21% (current dollars, 1997-2002). The phenomenon was seen in Manufacturing, Finance and Insurance, Real Estate, Adminstrative Support, Educational Services, Arts and Entertainment, Accommodation and Food Services, and Other Services. But I thought Wal-Mart was devouring Mom and Pop stores. Once again headlines and activists cloud reality. Of course this figure references growth, not, for example, total sales, but it still seems to be encouraging for small shops. Maybe some of these small shops will grow to become big shops, employ lots of people, and then they too will be the target of sanctimonious outrage. (A recent South Park episode explored this scenario.)
Ted Balaker is an award-winning filmmaker, journalist, and founding partner of Korchula Productions, a film and new media production company devoted to making important ideas entertaining.