TURNING POINT: The Mall as Essential Business

NAAWAN, Misamis Oriental (MindaNews / 19 May) – What may be considered as essential business establishments or industries are not just those which produce food and products needed by people to survive but also the industries and businesses, big and small, where the backward and forward linkages in their operation creates and maintains a cycle that continuously provide jobs and incomes to many people, allowing them, thereby, to buy foods, medicines and other needs basic for the survival of their family.

The mall is a case in point.

The opening of malls is of great help in jumpstarting the economy while containing at the same time the pandemic.

The mall is a one-stop shop, where you can almost have what you need and want, a marketplace where the sellers and the buyers are confined into a manageable space where the best health protocols against the dreaded disease can easily be enforced and observed with much less difficulty compared to wet markets and independent stores and shops.

In the backward and forward economic linkages attendant to a mall operation, thousands are involved, and earn their livelihood.

While malls are owned by big capitals, their operations are actually run by various entrepreneurs – from luxury items to food and other essential household products. A lot of people earn their keep inside the mall hired by the mall owner to maintain the safety, cleanliness and security of the establishment. Mall tenants, the owners of shops, stores, food marts and other sellers, hire various service workers, too, which could run in thousands in supermalls.

Now, consider the backward linkages in mall operation. The suppliers of the products sold in the mall hire purchasers, truck drivers and assistant, mechanics, warehousemen and office personnel. The production of goods and supplies in factories, processing plants and farms, and in plants producing packaging materials, also employs great numbers. The raw materials used in factories, processing plants, the farm inputs (fertilizers, pesticides) in farm production operation employ numerous workers, too, not to mention the people employed in the production of spare parts for machines and vehicles necessary in the whole business, and so on and so forth.

In the forward linkages, consider the mall patrons, who in going to the mall indirectly hire jeep and taxi drivers, bus drivers and conductors, while earning incomes for their proprietors, who plough back their proceeds to maintain the enterprise. Consider those who work in gas stations, in car shops that service the maintenance of transport vehicles, and the eateries along the way that provide affordable meals to commuters, and many other interlinking services that make the economy going.

All those who are earning from production to distribution pay taxes that support the lives of our civil servants and state security forces.

All who are earning buy food for their families and, thus, support food production.

Without job and income, the family, the economy and the government will collapse.

(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. William R. Adan, Ph.D., is retired professor and former chancellor of Mindanao State University at Naawan, Misamis Oriental, Philippines.)