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I was recently discussing with some peers some of the tricky issues surrounding "online" v. "brick’n’mortar" shopping and how that cross-cuts "large v. small" and "national v. local" issues as well as issues of full employment and sustainability. These issues can always get intertwined in ways that are sticky, and it is both very important and particularly enjoyable intellectual excersize for me to disentagle these kinds of things. So imagine my joy to hear this from Prince of Petworth:

Whoa, have you walked by the old Borders bookstore at 14th and F St, NW lately? The huge windows are not covered and reveal the much anticipated Hamilton (to be open 24/7 with an 800 person capacity) from the Clyde’s group:

Founding father, mover, shaker, lover & dueling politico, Alexander Hamilton’s vision for America helped it to become the world’s venue for opportunity and success.

Washington DC’s newest destination for music and entertainment is dedicated to celebrating the talent and passion of America’s best artists. DC is a city where polish and sophistication have been charmed by a bohemian spirit creating a new thriving artistic underground.

The Hamilton will offer local, national and international musicians the unique opportunity to entertain a city that is never short on opinions, all within earshot of The White House.

This, I think, is an unalloyed good for the District of Columbia. A book-selling service was renting some extremely valuable space in downtown. It was undercut by a better book-selling service that didn’t need to pay for downtown space and so could sell books cheaper, so it went out of business. Now it’s a concert hall! So DC residents now have a) access to cheaper books and b) a new concert hall. It’s true that there is pain in the transition to these things, but as more and more stuff can get done without the use of valuable land in the urban core that valuable land will tend to be used more and more for cool things like this.

It’s also important, however, to note that when certain things like this vanish from where lots of public eyes are placed on them the potential for labor abuse increases, so vigilance is required in making sure the consumer surplus here isn’t extracted at the price of workers as well as the price of downtown rents. Also keep in mind, however, that full employment organically restores significant leverage to the working class, so it’s also important to continually advocate to put everyone in America to work.

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