I love a particular article in my collection, lamenting the closing of a downtown department store that had been around for over a hundred years. The reporter's analysis - competition from a new Walmart at the edge of town. Right. Forget about the outlet center, Kohl's, Home Depot, and other retail at the interstate two miles south of town. It was the new Walmart. Built to replace one that had been in town since 1984. Forget that it might have had something to do with the practices of independent retailers, such as limited hours, higher prices, and poor return policies, that make people favor some chains. It was Walmart.
I could go on. This is merely the start of an anlysis that could explain why Walmart and other chains have replaced independent merchants. It barely touches on the comparative labor, political, and other practices of Walmart, chains, and independents. It is far easier to look for a simple solution: Walmart is evil and all independents are good. But that really does nothing to help us to understand the fundemental problems. Without any real understanding, our approaches to solving the problems we see are most likely going to fail. Oh well, we can always blame that on Walmart.