FOR YEARS, THE march of the megastores and the corporate behemoths across the American landscape has been seen as unstoppable. Wal-Mart, Starbucks and the rest have killed thousands of small shops and sucked the life out of communities with their below-cost pricing and ruthless targeting of competitors.

But in recent years some of those communities have been developing innovative ways of fighting back. One of them is the Southern Berkshire region of Massachusetts, which has been making headlines all over the world in recent months with its innovative local currency, BerkShares. With enthusiastic ...


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