It matters where people shop. Do you spend your money supporting the local economy?

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I hate the term “consumer,” which distracts from our roles and responsibilities as producers and citizens. I do believe every dollar we spend shopping is a vote. A vote in favor of a company’s business practices, for or against local merchants. My expenditures are someone else’s paycheck. Call it being a “civic shopper.”

Here’s an example: If you shop at a big retailer that promises low prices, you might also be supporting abused workers here, devastated Main Streets nationwide, the climate-change aggravating 10,000-mile supply chain and sweatshop labor in Asia. That retailer’s business model, widely adopted, might have driven down your wages, too. So how you “vote” with your spending matters.

Seattle offers plenty of opportunities and dilemmas.

Unlike many cities, we still have a relative abundance of locally owned stores and access to food grown nearby. But we also have Starbucks, Nordstrom, Costco, REI, Eddie Bauer and Amazon.com — big retailers that still support thousands of well-paid headquarters jobs in the Seattle area. And what about Macy’s? A Cincinnati-based company, but I think it’s important to support that downtown store.

There are  many ways to slice it and no simple answer. Still…

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This Week’s Links:

The best state for business? Yes, California. | Bloomberg

When government competes against the private sector everybody wins | The Atlantic

There are nearly six unemployed construction workers for every construction job | The American Prospect

• TPP smackdown: The debate over the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Brad DeLong vs Dean Baker (with DeLong’s rejoinder)

The Trans-Pacific Partnership and China’s reality | Triple Crisis

Everyone is guessing when it comes to oil prices | Oil & Energy

From the Gates Foundation, direct investment, not just grants | NY Times

Piketty on the eurozone: ‘We have created a monster’ | Spiegel


Today’s Econ Haiku:

Boeing, Ex-Im Bank

Has the Journal found scandal?

Or is this Rupert?


I invite you to follow me on Twitter @jontalton