Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Rent Seeking in Everything

It turns out more people like Wal-Mart than I thought. A Wall Street Journal article yesterday exposes that many of the "grassroots" campaigns trying to block local Wal-Marts are actually backed by their competitors. This isn't really a surprise; what's news is that these competitors organize and/or expand the campaigns through a company called Saint Consulting Group, a firm which specializes in making the astrotruf seem genuine.
For the typical anti-Wal-Mart assignment, a Saint manager will drop into town using an assumed name to create or take control of local opposition, according to former Saint employees. They flood local politicians with calls, using multiple phones to make it appear that the calls are coming from different people, the former employees say.

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