Open Thread: Libertarians Vs. Wal-Mart Haters
There was some good discussion about our “Seven Reasons Wal-Mart Sucks” in the comments section. It essentially turned into a small number of self-described libertarians taking on a smaller number of Wal-Mart haters.
Some of the better responses:
Walmart is the largest ‘private’ employer in my state. Probably at least in the top 10 in most states. They employ probably thousands of drivers to get their stuff from their huge warehouses to their stores. They employ hundreds of people at their warehouses. They employ hundreds more people who have to deal with the logistics of moving their stuff from factories (overseas or not) to their warehouses. Brand representatives have jobs because they go in and merchandise their goods (kraft, nabisco, pepsi, coke, bread guys, etc..) You make it sound as if the only people being employed and ‘benefiting’ at all from Walmart are corporate executives. Not true….
Say what you will about Walmart, but they pay more taxes to my local government than the rest of the ’small business base’ around here, whereas, if they hadn’t built here, my taxes would be much higher.
I am a small business owner who has benefited from Walmart. If you are a retailer, and you are a mom/pop type store, you need to continue to change how you do things.. That’s why most mom/pop shops are closed. They stayed the same for 40+ years. You have to constantly change the way you operate your store, and merchandise, etc.. Service should stay the same always, excellent service keeps customers coming back.. but you need to have something for your customers to buy or at least to pique their interest if you expect to be able to give them your excellent service.
If you want to blame manufacturing of goods going overseas-blame unions. When some jagoff won’t get off the couch for less than 17 bucks an hour, damned right they are going to go somewhere else. And Wal-Mart doesn’t MAKE THE GOODS. The suppliers do. So it’s probably Mattel, Sony, Black and Decker, etc. that eat cock. I have worked there for 7 years, and I make just about a dollar less per hour on average (I’m salaried now) than my father who has worked at the same manufactoring company for more than 40 years. Simple fact is, just like every other job in the world…if you work hard you’ll get rewarded…if you aren’t worth a fuck you aren’t going to get rewarded. I’m sick of these whining malcontent’s bitching about low wages when they spend half their time with their cell phones out texting and talking to their friends. Not just something I’m making up…I’ve fired people for it. Wal-Mart pays more taxes, contributes more in donations, employs more people than any business in your community…bet on it. And I’m all for freedom of choice…if you want to pay 11.00 for your chips and soda at a grocery store…go for it, I’m going to Wal-Mart and pay 8.00. Not because I don’t like small business, but because I like money. If you don’t like Wal-Mart, don’t shop there…but stop the hate. Everybody guns for #1 and until the next guy comes along with a better way to get shitty to mediocre goods on store shelves for low price while making a profit…people will hate them. I do have to comment on the supplier thing….Wal-Mart doesn’t charge huge fines for anyone being late with anything but even small business have a right to get their shit in a timely manner. Doesn’t matter if your store does 40,000 a year or 400,000,000,000. Suppliers are in business to supply. They should shut up and do their goddamn job. Save Money, Live Better. Giggitty.
Our condensed case against the libertarian view of Wal-Mart:
In our opinion, libertarianism is theoretically superior to most other political ideals. In the 18th and 19th century, it was ideal. But the founding fathers did not have to deal with the type of technology that corporations have at their disposal today. The government could stay out of the way because it was impossible for any individual/corporation to become big enough to become oppressive.
Say you want to buy kitchen equipment. The year is 1780. You’re a farmer. You grow your own food and sell it at the local market. You make a decent living. Anyway, you go to the blacksmith for your pans. The blacksmith owns his own house and business, does most of his own work, and makes a decent living.
In 2009, you go to Wal-Mart. The kitchen equipment is made by virtual slave labor in china, supplied by an intermediary barely squeaking out a profit, and sold by an “associate” making minimum wage. Where does the excess profit go? Straight to the ownership. In the meantime, small-time farmers have been driven bankrupt by big agri-business. Economies of scale and advances in technology make it next to impossible for small farms to compete.
Transactions that once provided a decent living for everyone involved have been hijacked by ruthless, technologically superior corporations. No one is more successful than Wal-Mart.
So I understand your arguments. I don’t think that Wal-Mart has done anything wrong. They’ve played the game better than anyone else. My problem isn’t fundamentally with Wal-Mart, it’s with the system that allows them to squeeze the profits out of “little people’s” transactions and into their massive corporate pockets. Rather than ending up with a large number of moderately successful citizens, as we had in the early days of our nation, we end up with a handful of massively wealthy fat cats and millions barely squeaking out a living.
As Rod Dreher put it in his “Crunchy Con Manifesto”, “Big business deserves as much skepticism as big government.”
Who’s right, and why?