Skip to main content

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Fri Aug 03, 2012 at 10:42 AM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions, Invisible People, Income Inequality Kos, Anti-Capitalist Chat, and Daily Kos.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  I think its more (7+ / 0-)

    they dont care, they just want low prices.

    •  Maybe people who are poor or (10+ / 0-)

      nearly so NEED low prices. Maybe it is not just that they "want" them, but that low prices really help them to make ends meet. There is another side to the Walmart story - the tens of millions of impoverished Americans who have benefited from Walmart's shattering of high retail prices (not to mention the millions who have been employed by the company when no one else would hire them).

      •  But it's a downward death spiral. (34+ / 0-)

        We need those lower prices because our wages have been stagnant or have fallen since 1973. And we get those lower prices because workers at Walmart and those who make the products they sell are making terrible wages -- worse, obviously, overseas than here.

        So, as our wages are suppressed year after year, we need "discount stores" so we don't feel the pain as much. And in order for the owners of those discount chains to make their billions, they can't pay decent wages to their employees or their suppliers.

        (Of course, if they were willing to make a good salary at the top, instead of an obscene salary, they could pay their workers far more.)

        It's a race to the bottom and cheaper and cheaper labor is the result. Eventually, this kills demand across the economy and results in a crash and taxpayer bailouts for the private sector companies who caused that crash.

        The entire thing is a scandal, and it should be illegal in this country and in all countries.

        The Walmart family holds as much wealth as the bottom 40% of America combined. That is obscene, immoral and unconscionable and should not be allowed. It's like Versailles all over again.

        Time for a new Bastille Day.

        •  Think about the math. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          NM Ray, nextstep, Sheri Nakai

          Could Walmart really be the reason that people are poor in America? Is Walmart really the reason that once it became technologically possible for our products to be manufactured much cheaper overseas, that somebody took advantage of that and executed on it?

          If Walmart hadn't had done what it did, some other company would have. The Chinese and Indian people were not going to sit around forever watching the US enjoy all the growth in per capita GDP. And I've never heard of a Walmart employee being prevented from getting a better gig if they can get one. Walmart is a good stepping stone for those who are otherwise unemployable, and all of them should be encouraged to continue to improve their lives by getting more experience and a better job (either within Walmart or outside of it).

          •  You're not thinking about the math. (27+ / 0-)

            That's the entire point.

            The Walmart family grew obscenely rich on the backs of cheap labor. They derived their riches from the grotesque underpayment of wages to their employees, and they'd be nothing without those employees.

            There is nothing positive about anything Walmart has done. And that's why small business owners and their customers, in town after town, fights to keep them out. They know that Walmart destroys generations of Ma and Pa businesses, along with sending wages ever lower and lower and lower.

            Obviously, they're in good company. This is the America way of doing business worldwide -- at least since the early 70s. Cheat and steal from workers here and overseas. Stuff executives with massive compensation and golden parachutes.

            The math tells us they couldn't stuff their pockets with massive compensation and golden parachutes if they paid decent wages to their employees. But they could make very good salaries and pay their employees much better (living) wages.

            In short, they have chosen to make an absolute killing on the backs of workers who are just trying to make a living. It should be illegal to make a killing. Too many people have to suffer for the few who do.

            •  The "consumer" represents about 70% ... (5+ / 0-)

              of what drives the US economy.

              As you stated wages, in real inflation adjusted terms, have been falling. Is it any surprise that the US economy is also falling?  

              If US corporations keep lowering the ability of workers to spend they are directly having a negative effect on 70% of the US economy.

              The wisdom of Henry Ford "paying workers enough to buy your product"  seems to be coming to an inglorious end.

              "The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously." -- Hubert H. Humphrey

              by Candide08 on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 06:37:44 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  The problem is that Walmart or... (20+ / 0-)

            ..."some other company" is ALLOWED to impose these draconian working conditions on us.

            There is a reason that Walmart no longer operates in Germany.

            When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

            by Egalitare on Fri Aug 03, 2012 at 11:42:48 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  So, Let Me Get This Straight (0+ / 0-)

            Could Walmart really be the reason that people are poor in America? Is Walmart really the reason that once it became technologically possible for our products to be manufactured much cheaper overseas, that somebody took advantage of that and executed on it?

            WalMart is not the reason, but Mitt Romney is?

            This is why I have trouble sometimes being a democrat, I'm not always sure who I should look to blame.

            I won't be coming home tonight, my generation will put it right - Genesis 9:3

            by superscalar on Fri Aug 03, 2012 at 12:43:40 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Troll Alert (0+ / 0-)
              sometimes being a democrat
              Right. And sometimes Mitt Romney is a warm, friendly human being.

              Time is an enormous, long river, and I’m standing in it, just as you’re standing in it. My elders are the tributaries, and everything they thought and every struggle they went through & everything they gave their lives to flows down to me-Utah Phillips

              by TerryDarc on Fri Aug 03, 2012 at 07:38:08 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  There are very specific reasons to call someone (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Candide08

                a troll here and I don't think superscaler fits any of them.

                http://www.dkosopedia.com/...

                How big is your personal carbon footprint?

                by ban nock on Fri Aug 03, 2012 at 07:51:10 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Agreed. I find that if I disagree slightly... (0+ / 0-)

                  people question my motives - and if I disagree significantly on a specific topic the accusations fly.  Sounds more like the way the GOP does business... ;)

                  Let's listen to all points of view, even the opposing, as long as it is expressed in an earnest, reasonable, non-hostile way.

                  "The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously." -- Hubert H. Humphrey

                  by Candide08 on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 09:38:09 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Very Specifically (0+ / 0-)

                    When someone says, "Gee, I'd like to vote for Obama but..." or "I'm usually a democrat but I have reservations about..." that means to me they've never voted democratic in their life. That looked like total bs to me and I don't mind calling that a troll. Not at all. That was a conservative sewing doubt on Walmart culpability and Mitt Romney's IMHO.

                    Time is an enormous, long river, and I’m standing in it, just as you’re standing in it. My elders are the tributaries, and everything they thought and every struggle they went through & everything they gave their lives to flows down to me-Utah Phillips

                    by TerryDarc on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 03:02:16 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  You are certainly entitled to your opinions (0+ / 0-)

                      whatever they are. People, and I am not referring to you but rather people in general, need to be open to differing opinions.  

                      One of my many complaints about the GOP is the enforced loyalty to 100% agreement on the party line.  Step out of line and they take you away.

                      I am 100% sure that there are trolls here, doing just what you say (and worse) but don't you think it is possible  that someone could honestly say "Gee, I'd like to vote for Obama but..." or "I'm usually a democrat but I have reservations about..." ?  Assuming they are genuine shouldn't we be trying to engage them?

                      The trick (and problem) is to figure out who is a true troll and who is not.  Democrats and the left in general tend to be more inclusive and cannot afford to drive away people because they do not "toe the line."

                      All of the above just IMHO...

                      "The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously." -- Hubert H. Humphrey

                      by Candide08 on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 04:38:53 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  I read the entire quote differently (0+ / 0-)

                      he is a Democrat, and sometimes the fact that he's a Dem gives him trouble as he doesn't know who to blame. I checked out his history too, comments and diaries.

                      How big is your personal carbon footprint?

                      by ban nock on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 08:56:54 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

            •  People are poor in America because the huge (6+ / 0-)

              multi-national corporations (of which Walmart is but one) have outsourced as much labor as possible to areas where cheaper labor is readily available.  This somewhat artificial over-supply of labor makes sure that the demand for better wages and working conditions are suppressed with the threat that others who may be more desperate will accept the meager offerings.

              This started in the 70s, when they started moving their facilities to "right-to-work" states, and then when those places started to demand better conditions, it was off to Mexico, and then later to China.  I call this artificial only due to the fact that weak-willed politicians of all stripes and locales tried to outbid one another for what they felt were scarce sources of employment.  Meanwhile, the tax code further supported the massive accumulation of wealth to those few at the top of these multinationals, without any thought about the long-term damage wrought by these short-term gains.

              Walmart is not THE reason for poverty in America, but they are part of the pack of the ravenous beasts responsible for the situation.  Mr. Romney IS the embodiment of the out-of-touch individuals who captain these multinationals for the short-term good of the very privileged few, to the long-term detriment of all.

              -8.88, -7.77 Social Security as is will be solvent until 2037, and the measures required to extend solvency beyond that are minor. -- Joe Conanson

              by wordene on Fri Aug 03, 2012 at 08:10:44 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  What labor has Walmart outsourced? (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Leslie in KY, WillR, Sheri Nakai

                Walmart doesn't manufacture anything.  They're a retail concern that buys products from all over the globe - including the U.S. - to sell in their stores.  They can't outsource American workers.

                Walmart could and should pay their U.S. employees better, allow them to unionize, stop shorting their hours to keep from paying benefits and cease and desist forcing them to work off the clock.  But that is not outsourcing.

                The company's relationship with China is good for Chinese workers and good for U.S. customers.  The problem is that the low prices of manufactured goods coming from China are based on two things: low wages of Chinese workers as well as a distorted foreign exchange rate that China manipulates for the express purpose of keeping the prices of their exported goods low.  Unfortunately such a distorted exchange rate keeps the prices of our exports to China high.

                The prices the U.S. can charge for their exports cause the  U.S. to loses out on sales to China - our products are effectively priced out of their market.  We don't have free access to the Chinese market, but China has unfettered access to ours.

                Because our exports are so costly in China, we can't manufacture as much as we could if we had access to their market.  That presents the U.S. with two problems - we don't have as many people working in manufacturing as we could if we could sell more goods in China, and we run a large trade deficit with China.

                "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

                by SueDe on Fri Aug 03, 2012 at 11:05:35 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  There are also many other factors. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  SueDe

                  Although the factors you cite are valid, there are other factors that are as important and not easily "solved" from our standpoint. Even with equal access (for example, no currency manipulation), it's hard to see how many mass produced American made products will be able to compete effectively in the Chinese marketplace.

                  China has advanced dramatically economically in the last 30 years which has created a variety of bubbles within China. Some of these bubbles are beginning to deflate or burst so growth is slowing but overall their growth will outstrip ours simply, if nothing else, because they are so far below where we are in terms of standard of living of the average, median, or even tenth percentile resident so there is so much "low hanging fruit" for them to harvest.

                  Until the US and China have similar standards of living overall, it's unlikely that we are going to have an overall "even" trade balance with them on mass produced goods.

                  First, except for vain "image" reasons, a consumer in China has little reason to prefer a product made in the U.S. over one made in China (and one would expect, at some point, DailyKos.cn to be blanketed with jingoistic posts decrying Chinese who buy American made goods instead of domestically produced products).

                  Second, it's hard to see how we could compete on price. Due to the lower standard of living, labor is cheaper in China and will continue to be for decades. Those who don't have indoor plumbing, electricity, or any sort of heating "appliance" will work for lower wages in an attempt to get all those things. Since almost every American currently qualified (so I'm excluding, for example, homeless people who are homeless primarily due to mental illness or substance abuse) to do even the simplest manufacturing job already has all of these things, they are unlikely to accept real wages as low as their corresponding Chinese counterpart.

                  Finally, even if we could produce products as cheaply as China for some sustainable reason that escapes me, we would be unable to compete in the Chinese market simply because of shipping costs.

                  The reality of life is that until the world has a uniform standard of living, there will be trade imbalances. These trade imbalances are, overall, an indirect form of foreign aid from rich countries to poor countries. This aid causes the poor countries to become more prosperous and the rich countries residents get to enjoy bling manufactured in the poor countries until the music stops and the rich country's relative wealth begins to decline.

                •  But American corporations control that . . . (0+ / 0-)

                  They make sure they get "free trade" agreements that do away with all penalties for locating overseas and shipping products back to our consumers here.

                  It's a major racket.

                  We're much too quick to blame China, and blind to our own place in this racket.

                  "Free trade" is another euphemism for forcing rank and file wages down, kicking Labor in the teeth, gutting environmental protections, gutting workers' rights, civil rights, etc. etc.

                  Those agreements have such a stranglehold on the world, a nation like El Salvador can't even maintain its own sovereignty in the face of international corporate power. It wants to close off part of its nation to capitalism, to protect its land for ecological reasons. And it's being sued by the World Bank and the WTO for having the nerve to do that.

                  Borders are illusory in capitalism. It knows no borders. It cares nothing about "patriotism." It just want more and more and more power and wealth, regardless of the consequences.

                  Capitalism: privatizing the entire globe, one region at a time.

                  Walmart is a big part of all of this. Unfortunately, it's not alone.

                •  I know I am a little late adding this, but... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Catte Nappe
                  Walmart doesn't manufacture anything.  They're a retail concern that buys products from all over the globe - including the U.S. - to sell in their stores.  They can't outsource American workers.

                  Walmart could and should pay their U.S. employees better, allow them to unionize, stop shorting their hours to keep from paying benefits and cease and desist forcing them to work off the clock.  But that is not outsourcing.

                  I will just point out that Wal-Mart's size and the proportion of retail sales that it controls makes it a near governmental power in picking winners and losers of manufacturers. It controls something near or above 50% of retail sales in the country (I can't remember the exact figure), and can (and does) use its market power to dictate to manufacturers what price it will pay for a good based on its own profits maximizing retail price. That is massive clout for one retailer, and it means for manufacturers that losing Wal-Mart is losing your business, as you'll be outsold by all other competitors who do not lose Wal-Mart. Obviously, the incentive is to drive that price down, forcing manufacturers to cut costs, often leading to off-shoring. While this may seem indirect, Wal-Mart does this more aggressively than you would think. Their high-tech, efficient product tracking, shipping, and distribution system gives them the ability to draw on extensive and details market information to shift prices on a dime, so they have multiple means to aggressively negotiate prices with manufacturers (both by not having a massive stockpile of any one product and by their market share).

                  A University of Boston professor (I can't remember her name) wrote a really good, relatively short book on this trend called "Cheap: The High-Cost of Discount Culture." You should check it out.

          •  Think about the math, the aurora (3+ / 0-)

            shooter cannot be responsible for all fo our murders, hence he is not problematic at all. No killer is a problem for society because none, acting alone, is responsible for the entiety of our murder problem. Let 'em all walk, I say,

            That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

            by enhydra lutris on Fri Aug 03, 2012 at 01:36:05 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I here Romney is looking for a good speech (0+ / 0-)

            writer...

            you really should reach out to their campaign and offer your services.

            Oregon: Sure...it's cold. But it's a damp cold.

            by Keith930 on Fri Aug 03, 2012 at 07:58:34 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Really, doc2? "If Walmart hadn't had done what it (0+ / 0-)

            did, some other company would have."  Does that make it right ? Is that how you justify treating workers so poorly?

            Liberal (from Webster's Dictionary): tolerant of views differing from one's own; broad-minded

            by 50sbaby on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 08:44:49 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  we, the working people of America are underpaid (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rbird, greengemini, cybersaur

          On purpose. We need to make more money but not when evil rich people ship the jobs to China.

          Work has and is disrespected by evil rich people. That is the problem.

          Fuck Willard;he's part of the problem not the solution like all the evil Rs.  

          The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

          by a2nite on Fri Aug 03, 2012 at 03:31:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  WalMart is evil (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          fuzzyguy

          This is not true:

          And in order for the owners of those discount chains to make their billions, they can't pay decent wages to their employees or their suppliers.
          WalMart makes billions of dollars per quarter. They could pay decent wages to their employees that make them so profitable. They choose not to because of greed. It is categorically false to say they "can't"!

          --- Keep Christian mythology out of science class!

          by cybersaur on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 08:22:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Yes to the point on the impoverished (6+ / 0-)

        folks who need those low prices.  No to the millions WalMart has employed - when WalMart moves into an area it hires at or just above minimum wage one worker for every 1.5 living wage jobs it destroys.

        •  Where did you get that number? (0+ / 0-)
          •  Actually it's only 1.4 - and I got it from (0+ / 0-)

            one of the WalMart Watch groups - I don't remember which one - but I just did a search for the original report they were citing and it's "The Effects of Wal-Mart on Local Labor Markets" by David Neumark (University of California-Irvine), Junfu Zhang (Clark University), and Stephen Ciccarella (Cornell University), IZA Discussion Paper No. 2545, Jan. 2007.

            •  Interesting. That is part of how (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              bfitzinAR

              Walmart saves people money, by eliminating unnecessary labor costs. So I stand corrected in terms of job creation, but I still think that the savings for consumers trump the 2.7% reduction in retail jobs the same authors calculated, and that the inefficient mom-and-pop retail stores would be sooner or later replaced by some chain that takes advantage of modern inventory and pricing practices.

      •  Ah, Jeebus, this again (13+ / 0-)

        They are impoverished in the first place BECAUSE of Walmart.  There is NO societal benefit to Walmart.

        The fact is, Walmart is basically the reincarnation of the company store. By creating a race to the bottom in wages, creating unemployment by outsourcing supply to China and developing countries, and practicing monopolistic pricing strategies,  basically Walmart has ensured that the bottom 50% in the US can only afford to shop at its stores. Their corporate strategy is to drive out competition and impoverish more and more Americans so they become the only game in town. The "millions" who have been employed by the company have to turn right around and give their cheap ass paycheck back to the company to buy its cheap ass goods, which just repeats the cycle.

        But no, rather than join a union, or bite the bullet and refuse to shop there, the American sheeple buy into the Walmart model and impoverish themselves for life.

        Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. ~William E. Gladstone, 1866

        by absdoggy on Fri Aug 03, 2012 at 11:37:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I do not employ over one million people. (0+ / 0-)

          Nor do you. When you employ that many people, then by all means you have standing to criticize other employers for not being generous enough with their workforce.

          •  fortunetly, the federal government does (6+ / 0-)

            employ over one million people,  and if we can take over both houses while re-electing the president, let's hope they do criticize.

          •  Uh, no. (13+ / 0-)

            We reserve the right to criticize whomever we want. This is what is know as "free speech". Cheesh! Walmart is a cancer on the small business landscape of America. The ARE enormously successful but so is cancer.

            Time is an enormous, long river, and I’m standing in it, just as you’re standing in it. My elders are the tributaries, and everything they thought and every struggle they went through & everything they gave their lives to flows down to me-Utah Phillips

            by TerryDarc on Fri Aug 03, 2012 at 07:41:02 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, yes... (7+ / 0-)

            It's immoral for labor to complain about working conditions.   They should just shut up and take it, or start their own business.

            The problem is when one company manages to increase profit margins by treating labor like crap, then other feel pressured to do so as well.  This is why both strong labor unions and government safety and wage regulations are needed - to stop this sort of spiral to the bottom.

          •  When their employees need food stamps (11+ / 0-)

            To make ends meet, We The People have an absolute DUTY to criticize.  They make their millions by forcing OUR government to subsidize them -- then they take their tax breaks and loopholes on top of it.  This is a toxic an environment as any rail baron or mining magnate ever thought of in the worst of the Gilded Age...

            And when they even think about organizing, well, then things get worse...

            "There isn't a way things should be. There's just what happens, and what we do." — Terry Pratchett (A Hat Full of Sky)

            by stormicats on Fri Aug 03, 2012 at 08:02:58 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I like how (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cybersaur

            people like doc will talk about the low wage workers all day , but will not address the elephant in the room , the unjustified mega wealth wal mart makes off of slave wages, how do people like doc justify treating people so horribly while they stash billions in the bank they could never spend ? It does little good to anyone on the planet there , and never will ....

            I will assume he will just bow to the invisible capitalism gods and claim it all as wal marts RIGHT , and a proper HOMAGE to the worship of capitalism  , fucking worthless , america was not set up as another stage to create kings/ corporate dictatorship , that's what all that RIGHTS and EQUALITY stuff is all about in the u s constitution , the document that does not contain the word CAPITALISM  

          •  You argue like a Republican (0+ / 0-)

            Criticizing corporations for greed, and telling them to make nice, while satisfying to some, is as completely beside the point as "industry self-regulation". But telling people not to criticize them at all is worse. You have no standing to tell people what they are allowed to have opinions on.

            Instead of jawing at corporations, we need to increase the minimum wage, outlaw Right-to-WorkStarve laws, and send labor law violators to prison. For starters.

            This requires that middle-class Democrats learn all over again that supporting workers is good for all of us. I am pleased that the AFL-CIO is not giving money to campaigns this year, and instead supporting GOTV and countering voter suppression instead. When Democratic politicians actually speak out for workers will be time enough to offer them direct help again.

            Hands off my ObamaCare[TM] http://www.healthcare.gov

            by Mokurai on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 11:01:53 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Overstated. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          txvoodoo
          There is NO societal benefit to Walmart.
          This is untrue.

          Walmart has been instrumental in making retailing more efficient via innovation well beyond simply reducing wages and strong arming suppliers. Indeed, it was only their innovation that allowed them to get big enough and efficient to do evil things.

          For example, they embraced and developed technology early on to increase the efficiency of their distribution system. It certainly benefits society to have more efficient distribution systems. Reducing the labor content (aggregate amount and/or skill required), capital content (such as trucks and warehouse space), and other operational content (such as fuel) of the distribution system frees up labor to do more productive things, reduces prices so consumers can enjoy a higher standard of living, and likely reduces the ecological footprint of products delivered to consumers.

          To claim otherwise is like saying that the US would be better off if 41% of the US workforce was still employed in agriculture (as was the case in 1900) rather than under 2% (as is the case today) due to the application of mechanization and technology. Change and progress can be unsettling to those who choose to fight it rather than embrace it, but both are necessary if society is to advance.

          As well, "one stop shopping" saves the consumer time so they can, for example, spend more time with their families or more time pursuing recreational activities or more time expanding their knowledge and education. Being able to go to one store and buy, at a reasonable price, paint for your dining room, fresh tomatoes and meat, underwear, cloth to make clothes, school supplies, a propane barbeque, and fertilizer for your garden rather than go to seven different stores is an immense consumer benefit. Sure, sometimes one wants more variety (that's when Amazon.com comes into the picture) or needs personalized help (that's when you hire a contractor to do the job or a specialist to advise you or go online and research the topic), but overall, Walmart saves consumers time.

          Much of the value of "mom and pop" stores that is touted is "service" -- which often means "advice". The internet is often a better substitute because it offers a wider range of advice over a wider range of products. For example, if I want to fix a plumbing problem, it's likely I would find better guidance on the internet from professional plumbers, a vast array of plumbing product suppliers, and plumbing product manufacturers than I would at a general purpose "mom and pop" hardware store where the proprietor also needs to give advice about drywall, paint, electrical, framing, roofing, light bulbs, and who knows what else and can't be an expert on all of them.

          As an aside... I have little "in store" experience with Walmart so my experience is likely skewed, but I've dealt with the checkers at several Walmart stores on a few occasions. It's my impression that the typical Walmart checker is virtually unemployable at even a Target let alone a retail environment that requires making intelligent decisions rather than following a rote series of steps applied in obvious ways (no matter how ridiculous the outcome is). These jobs may be low paying, but the people I've seen holding them at least have a job -- I can't imagine a "mom and pop" shop employing them except as a charity case. Walmart provides these people jobs, the fact that there are enough of them that Walmart can get them "cheap" suggests a problem with society (poor education system, lack of parental focus on educational excellence, etc) that Walmart is simply taking advantage of, not a problem that Walmart created.

          It's just not as "black and white" as you make it out to be.

          •   (0+ / 1-)
            Recommended by:
            Hidden by:
            Mokurai

            Wow, you must have a pantload of shiite running down your leg after the nonsense you posted, especially if you believe it.

          •  That does not match my experience of (0+ / 0-)

            Walmart and Sam's Club workers in Indiana.

            I am not down with blaming the victim.

            It is true that Walmart has invested in increasing productivity, for example by requiring all of its suppliers to bar code all boxes. It is also true that Walmart has aggressively kept all of the gains from increased productivity for managers and owners, and shared none of it with its increasingly productive workers.

            It is further true that Walmart, like almost all other US corporations, has been aided by the Republican Party and the Fed under Alan Greenspan in doing so.

            Hands off my ObamaCare[TM] http://www.healthcare.gov

            by Mokurai on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 09:28:10 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  As I said, I know my views... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              doc2

              ...on the capabilities of Walmart checkers are likely skewed as I've had much more experience with Walmarts in urban areas than in other areas.

              However, I'm not "blaming the victim". In the Walmarts I've experienced (not in flyover land), the checkers are barely employable, if at all, elsewhere. Walmart is a pretty good gig for them because Walmart has created an environment where they can actually get a paycheck by following a simple set of simple steps. Why those people lack education and/or cultural awareness (or, perhaps, even intelligence) I don't know - it could be the "fault" of their parents, the education system, or themselves. I've got no idea in any particular case.

              It's however not clear why innovation that the line workers had nothing to do with should be shared with them. Yes, the engineers and managers and capitalists who had the ideas and took the risks to allocate the capital to increase efficiency might be well paid and that would be appropriate. The rewards would presumably go to those who innovated and to the consumers via lower prices.

              By your logic, farmworkers should be paid something like $150/hour (roughly 20x federal minimum wage) since we produce MUCH more food per capita today with less than 1/20th of the percentage of the population engaged in agriculture today as in 1900 (41% vs less than 2%). Of course, the reason for that increase in productivity has nothing to do with the typical worker who was plowing fields behind a horse. It has to do with those who figured out (in several steps) to have a GPS equipped tractor plow square miles of fields without a human aboard and simply monitored from a remote site (much like military drones). The problem is, if efficiency improvements just resulted in less farm workers but the remaining ones making proportionally more money, why would anyone allocate capital or effort to improving farm productivity?

              •  Change is painful, especially when (0+ / 0-)

                it occurs so quickly. For a long time, the US enjoyed manufacturing superiority over the developing world. People in India and China lived in abject poverty. Technology led to globalization, shifting many of our jobs to Asia. That's a hard pill for people to swallow, and they are lashing out the same way people did 100 years ago when technology increased crop yields while at the same time automating farm jobs, and people were forced to move to the cities in order to survive. That sucked for them, but was a terrific thing for consumers. Globalization today has mostly resulted in the 3rd World worker emerging a winner, and the unionized or blue collar US worker the loser, and people are struggling to figure out who is to blame (NAFTA? Walmart? Corporations?). It is okay to be progressive and also able to face economic realities.

      •  A heckuva lot of what Walmart sells (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        slouchsock

        has nothing to do with making ends meet.  It is discretionary not necessary, and I would suspect very high margin.

      •  That would be true if Walmart and Sam's Club (0+ / 0-)

        megastores were located in poor neighborhoods rather than the suburbs and small towns, and if their employees were not so badly paid that many are on Food Stamps. I talk to their workers about such things, including the question of unions, every chance I get.

        Hands off my ObamaCare[TM] http://www.healthcare.gov

        by Mokurai on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 10:48:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Myth (0+ / 0-)

        Some of this is a myth. Despite popular belief that Wal-Mart has lower prices, the truth is that Wal-Mart's prices a built around a complex, detailed, and high-tech psychological manipulation. On the vast majority of their name-brand goods, Wal-Mart actually has about the same prices as any other retailer, even more upscale retailers. What Wal-Mart does is they use "entry-level price points" to shock and hook you. Here's a brief summary of the system:

        1. They use their significant retail market share (near or above 50% of U.S. retail sales) to dictate the price they will pay for a low-quality toaster. Said toaster maker is forced to cut costs to meet that price-point because it can't compete without access to Wal-Mart's markets, and so it off-shores it's production to have a $10 toaster for Wal-Mart.

        2. Consumer walks into the store and see $10 toaster and thinks, "My God! That's a cheap toaster. Wal-Mart is so cheap and full of great deals." Wal-Mart marketers refer to this as "priming."

        3. Consumer sees a mid-level Kitchenaid toaster for $25. The consumer thinks, "Wow, for just a little more I can get an even nicer toaster. I heart Wal-Mart." Unfortunately, what the consumer does not know is that the Kitchenaid toaster is actually $25 at all retailers, not just Wal-Mart.

        4. Wal-Mart does a similar thing with smaller items that people need to bring them in, and then rakes in large profits by operating at lower than market costs while still bringing in market prices for most products.

        Of course, there's also the myth that Wal-Mart is somehow the result of ingenuity. Wal-Mart's success really is appropriate for out times. They exploited the anti-labor sentiments in the south to keep costs low while competing against more entrenched, unionized retailers. In other words, it exploited a difference in state law that gave it the ability to exploit the combination of poverty in the post-reconstruction south and mid-west and lack of union protection in those same regions driven by bigotry and race-baiting. Wal-Mart succeeded with a combination of hard work, manipulation of loopholes in the rules, and good, old-fashioned exploitation.

    •  too bad Walmart doesn't take offense to Gays (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dejavu, greengemini

      maybe that would wake people up.  

      I've never eaten at Chick fil a ...and I haven't shopped at Walmart for about 15 years.  Not that I don't appreciate a good bargain...I just don't give them my business.

      I'll bet a lot of people here do, though.

      The Walton heirs, between them, have more financial assets than 40% of the entire population of this country.  They don't need any of mine.

      They don't need any of yours, either. I don't care how tight your budget is, there are other places to shop where you can save just as much.

      It's laziness, and stupidity.

      Oregon: Sure...it's cold. But it's a damp cold.

      by Keith930 on Fri Aug 03, 2012 at 07:55:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Walmart wants low prices ... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fuzzyguy, Anne was here

      so they can play to their audience, relatively poor people.

      They also keep their workers as "customers " for two reasons, to have customers and to funnel as much profit as possible to the top.  

      Walmart is a prime example of Corporate Feudalism.

      The Walton family is worth well over $100 Billion.
      They did not get that way, and do not stay that way, by paying their workers well.

      http://topics.bloomberg.com/...

      "The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously." -- Hubert H. Humphrey

      by Candide08 on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 06:32:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wal-Mart hegemony as cultural hegemony (8+ / 0-)
    Personally, individual men and women apply common sense to cope with daily life, and to explain (to themselves) the small segment of the social order stratum that they experience as life. Publicly, the perceptual limitations of common sense emerge and inhibit individual perception of the greater nature of the systematic socio-economic exploitation made possible by cultural hegemony. Because of the discrepancy in perceiving the status quo — the socio-economic hierarchy of bourgeois culture — most men and women concern themselves with their immediate (personal) concerns, rather than (publicly) think about and question the fundamental sources of their social and economic oppression

    Präsidentenelf-maßschach"Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) "Ensanguining the skies...Falls the remorseful day".政治委员, 政委‽ Warning - some snark above ‽

    by annieli on Fri Aug 03, 2012 at 10:50:31 AM PDT

  •  Economic choice is for rich people. (11+ / 0-)

    I don't make a lot of money and have numerous severe allergies. Wal-Mart offers the liquid anti-histamine I need to survive (as well as the only kind of allergy pill free of milk, in my area) at $3 for 8 oz.

    Now, if we ever remake this country and make the changes we want to so that I will have economic agency, I'd love to be able to drop them like the misogynistic anti-American assholes they are. But please stop blaming me because I'm poor and sick, and don't have any other options (and yes, I've checked, thanks).

  •  SOLIDARITY with our fellow workers of (7+ / 0-)

    Warehouse Workers United!

    Tip, rec, & repub to Invisible People & Anti-capitalist Chat.

    & to my Comrades at Anti-Capitalist Chat: hope you realize that I meant "wringing" not "ringing," altho we should defiantly be ringing that bell of freedom for our fellow workers at Walmart.

    WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For May: Martyrs of the San Diego Free Speech Fight, Spring 1912.

    by JayRaye on Fri Aug 03, 2012 at 11:02:00 AM PDT

  •  This is why we need unions. This is my husband's (12+ / 0-)

    frequent saying, so he gets the credit, not me.  I do not understand the short-sightedness on skimping on tools to do the job.  Tools that work properly & safely, allow the employee to focus on his job, and do it more efficiently, plus cuts down on absenteeism from being injured.  To me, that is being cost-effective.

  •  I think about it and I don't (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    doc2, ban nock, greengemini, Patango, txvoodoo

    shop at WalMart - but there's a flip side to that.  I am a single adult and my children are grown with families of their own.  When I was a single parent with teenage bottomless pits to feed - on foodstamps - there wasn't one around where I lived or I would have shopped there.   My older son is married and has kids.  While he isn't on foodstamps, he shops at WalMart because he needs to stretch his food dollar as far as possible.  He doesn't like it, but he likes feeding his kids better than I was able to feed him.

    •  But it's not lower prices reliably! (4+ / 0-)

      It's NOT cheaper to shop at Wal-Mart.

      I can do just fine at local grocery stores if I watch the 10 for $10 sales and the meat specials, and the quality's better.

      And which is cheaper: Buying a widget for $2 which breaks after three uses, or buying a widget for $10 that takes three months to wear out? Thanks, I'll save my money and buy the $10 widget instead of several $2 widgets.

      When you come to find how essential the comfort of a well-kept home is to the bodily strength and good conditions, to a sound mind and spirit, and useful days, you will reverence the good housekeeper as I do above artist or poet, beauty or genius.

      by Alexandra Lynch on Fri Aug 03, 2012 at 03:01:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Many things are the same brand and cheaper (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Patango, WillR

        at Walmart and also you can get everything at one stop so you don't have to drive all the way around town doing errands.

        Other stores underpay their workers too, Walmart has economy of scale.

        How big is your personal carbon footprint?

        by ban nock on Fri Aug 03, 2012 at 08:02:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  With some of these comments, I see we've given up (10+ / 0-)

    It really makes me sad.  There used to be a time in this nation when men went to work with their 10 year old sons by their side. They worked 6 or 7 days a week, with no benefits, no vacation.  If they got sick or hurt, they were fired. And they did get sick or hurt a lot, because their working conditions were dangerous. They died of black lung, of mesothelioma due to asbestos, of explosions, of heat stress in factories that were routinely 110 degrees or more.

    And then they rose up, and joined unions, and demanded living wages.  And organized politically.  They walked picket lines months on end. They went to bed hungry - every night.  When they walked a picket line, they had their heads bashed in.  The government labeled them communists and stripped away their rights. Many died, many families sacrificed everything.

    But now? hell, we can't be bothered, we can't even decide not to shop at the company store.

    Those who shop at Walmart reap what they sow, for themselves and for the rest of us.

    Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. ~William E. Gladstone, 1866

    by absdoggy on Fri Aug 03, 2012 at 11:54:11 AM PDT

  •  If you can afford it (6+ / 0-)

    Don't shop at Wallmart.   Pay a little more and support businesses that don't treat their employees like crap, and maybe keep the profits in the community.

    If you have to shop there to survive, you gotta do what you gotta do.  I'd rather you support Wallmart than you suffer.  

    It's the people who can afford to not shop there, who have alternatives and who shop there anyway that should really think hard about what they want to support.

    •  All businesses seem to treat workers like crap (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Patango

      I buy wholesale in the city and am loaded with forklifts twice a week. I see the exact same issues as in the video from the fork lift drivers I talk to all the time. Driving a forklift is dangerous and it sucks.

      How big is your personal carbon footprint?

      by ban nock on Fri Aug 03, 2012 at 08:04:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  As a counterpoint (0+ / 0-)

        At my company, I've interacted with the same warehouse people for my entire 20 year career.  I've walked with them as they do their jobs and built IT systems to make them more effective.

        They're long service professionals, treated decently and paid fairly, with regular hours.

        Trouble is, there is essentially no turnover in those jobs.  If anything attrition due to retirement or people changing jobs is just absorbed by efficiency improvements driven by technical changes.  The warehouses run with maybe a third of the people required when I started my career.

        So as a percentage of warehouse jobs out there, the kinds of jobs the folks at my company have are miniscule.  It is very rare that a job opens up, when it does, it's taken by somebody who knows somebody who already works there, because they ARE good jobs.

        Meanwhile the "disposable worker" warehouses have a lot of churn as workers get sick/injured/discouraged so they always have some jobs open.

  •  I do; I just have to shop there sometimes; Target (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Patango, txvoodoo

    And other retailers support fascism, also. Where do I shop even If it's local?

    The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

    by a2nite on Fri Aug 03, 2012 at 03:24:49 PM PDT

  •  This should all be common sense. (6+ / 0-)

    If it’s illegal to run Chinese-type sweatshops here, it should be illegal to import products/services from other countries that run Chinese-type sweatshops, because that puts law-abiding US companies in direct/unrestricted competition with countries/labor markets that don’t have to follow US law (i.e. worker-protection, environmental-protections) punishing what few good US companies that are trying to treat their workers fairly (while not abusing the environment).
    Unrestricted ‘free’ trade IS a race to the bottom, an economic disincentive for promoting/protecting human rights, protecting the environment and anything else that ’adds to the cost of doing business’.

  •  Walmart & the people who run it . . . (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vote4Obamain2012, cybersaur, fuzzyguy

       are dicks. I haven't been in one in years. BTW, I met Sam Walton in Bentonville in the early sixties and he was nothing like these assholes.

    •  If memory serves me correctly, Walmart didn't (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greengemini, fuzzyguy

      become the monster it currently is until after the death of Sam Walton.  Not that he was a saint, but at least while he was at the helm, their avarice was not unchecked, as it is now.

      -8.88, -7.77 Social Security as is will be solvent until 2037, and the measures required to extend solvency beyond that are minor. -- Joe Conanson

      by wordene on Fri Aug 03, 2012 at 08:21:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I remember walking into Walmart once upon a (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wordene, txvoodoo, fuzzyguy

        time (1993?) and seeing 'Made in USA' signs all over the place. I believe it was after Sam died that those signs disappeared.

      •  Sam Walton died... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        fuzzyguy

        ...in April 5, 1992 about 30 years after the first Wal-Mart store opened. At that time, there were about 2000 stores. Now, 20 years later, I think there are nearly 9000 stores with various branding.

        I was involved in a commercial relationship with corporate Wal-Mart before that and I can assure you that they are doing then what they are doing now (not the same execution of course, but the same "innovate and squeeze the last penny out of every step" approach that has made them successful).

        Sam was well known for squeezing a penny until it screamed. He specifically stated that his goal was to be the world's retailer. I believe (but don't recall for sure) he was also at the helm when Wal-Mart began to tell large suppliers that they would be paid when their product crossed the cash register scanner, and not a minute earlier (something made possible, by the way, by Wal-Mart embracing leading edge, at the time, technology).

        I never met him, but I suspect I would have liked the guy to talk to over coffee at the coffee shop, probably not so much to be one of his suppliers.

  •  I will do without rather than shop there. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vote4Obamain2012, dejavu, greengemini

    I have several middle class friends who think they are progressive who shop there no matter what I say.

    I've shown them articles, and brought them books, but they still shop there.

    Mail order shoes that cost close to $200 a pair and shirts from Walmart for $5.99.

    I can't figure it out.

    Tracy B Ann - technically that is my signature.

    by ZenTrainer on Fri Aug 03, 2012 at 07:53:08 PM PDT

  •  Actually, I do think about how their prices are (5+ / 0-)

    so low, and since I know, I haven't spend any money there in well over 20 years.  I also know that I am quite fortunate enough, financially, to be able to afford this conscious decision, and am grateful for not having to make that tough choice.

    The time without enriching the coffers of the Walton family would have been much longer than that had I known that their sister organization is Sam's Club, which I used to use regularly.  Since discovering that link, I have spent my warehouse club dollars at Costco.

    Friends don't let their friends shop at Walmart.

    -8.88, -7.77 Social Security as is will be solvent until 2037, and the measures required to extend solvency beyond that are minor. -- Joe Conanson

    by wordene on Fri Aug 03, 2012 at 07:54:30 PM PDT

  •  People know and don't care (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dejavu, greengemini

    I mean, literally don't care. I know a ton of fairly well off people who shop there all the time, and I know for a fact that they know the consequences of it. They just don't see it as a big deal because they each are just one customer. That's why it continues to work so well. It's the same reason so many people don't vote - they think their vote doesn't matter since they are just one person.

    Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

    by moviemeister76 on Fri Aug 03, 2012 at 08:00:39 PM PDT

  •  We need to increase minimum wage to double what it (0+ / 0-)

    is now and change labor laws. Walmart is what it is for many more reasons than cheap labor and exploited workers. If the way they treat people is the issue fix that with labor laws.

    How big is your personal carbon footprint?

    by ban nock on Fri Aug 03, 2012 at 08:08:05 PM PDT

  •  Think about what would happen if you (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vote4Obamain2012, greengemini

    didn't shop at Wal mart. Think if everyone else followed your lead. Wal Marts would have to close. But there would still be demand.

    Businesses would know that copying the Wal Mart model will not provide success. They will have to change and innovate. They may even have to hire more people than Wal Mart and treat them fairly and pay them better.  

    One thing we know for sure. Continuing to shop at Wal Mart perpetuates their unsafe and shitty practices and encourages others to do the same.

    The real problem with this country is we have lost our conscience.

    -7.5 -7.28, A carrot is as close as a rabbit gets to a diamond.-Don Van Vliet

    by Blueslide on Fri Aug 03, 2012 at 08:08:08 PM PDT

    •  This is the core issue.... (4+ / 0-)

      Too many people are so caught up in their daily struggle to survive.  They have bought into all the marketing about NEEDING the latest and greatest or looking a particular way.  

      People cannot draw the distinction between need and want anymore.

      You need a good solid pair of shoes...
      You want them to be designer and way more expensive.

      When my children were small, I shopped the sales at the supermarket.  I fed them fresh food instead of processed foods.  I planned out my meals to stretch my food dollars.  If chicken was on sale this week, we ate chicken.

      I bought my vegetables from a vegetable stand that sold local food.  The vegetables were not always pretty and perfect, but they were much tastier than the ones forced in a hothouse.

      My eggs came from an egg farmer.  They sold something they called "checks" eggs.  These were the ones that were imperfect so therefore would not be able to be sold to the distributors.  They had discoloration or thinner shells.

      I taught my children the value of a dollar and the value of supporting your local businesses.  They continue to do that as adults.  This is what America was built on.  The mentality of what we call "The Walmart Shopper" is what will bring America down.

  •  the ironic thing (4+ / 0-)

    is that prices at walmart have been shown time and time again, not to be lower on average.  They lure people in with some loss leaders but  beyond those, your arent saving anything.

  •  I have always thought about why prices are so (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vote4Obamain2012, dejavu, greengemini

    low at WalMart.  Which is why I refuse to shop there.

  •  How much better? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Patango, Sheri Nakai

    I have worked both Mom and Pop stores and Walmart. At the Mom and Pop stores I got no insurance, no benefits, no chance for promotion and low pay while having to do every job in the store (including shoveling snow at the owner's home). There are no safety regulations or practices since OSHA doesn't pay much attention to smaller outfits. Walmart may employ 500 Associates in a store while the local Mom and Pop has much less.

    I am always surprised by the buy local philosophy because it is usually the larger chains that promote local products more while serving on local boards and helping local charities.

    What we observe is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning. - Werner Heisenberg

    by fortunate son on Fri Aug 03, 2012 at 09:14:57 PM PDT

  •  This is great: someone on the inside working for (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vote4Obamain2012, Patango

    CHANGE to the system inside Walmart!

    Thanks for posting!

  •  I work at Walmart. I heartily rec this diary (6+ / 0-)

    I have 3 degrees, a master's in math, 2 years from my doctorate, am bilingual and make $7.65 an hour there.
    I am a certified teacher and hoping to get another teaching position but I could not agree more with this diary.
    Right now, I work there out of necessity, but I hope to get a teaching position for the upcoming year.
    They make every new employee watch a video which is essentially a diatribe against unions, lies and misleading.
    They have a plaque with a statement by Sam Walton which can be fairly summarized as : Keeping costs low is how we get a competitive advantage. And another similar to that.

    Then, we all have to watch these videos applauding great things that Walmart does - not mentioning the fact that the reason why they do these things to guard against lawsuits.
    For example, they opt out of worker's compensation here. They say that their motive is that workers will get better care. Their real motive is to make more money. They make you agree to never go to court against them, only arbitration.

    Walmart does what is good for Walmart. They could still keep prices low and makes lots of money and pay their workers a living wage, just not quite as much as now.

    Henry T Ford understood that if workers did not make enough money, nobody would be able to afford to buy his cars. As a commenter wisely pointed out above, it is a death spiral. More and more people, desperate like me, go to work for minimum wage at Walmart. They make less and less money. Their purchasing power decreases. Other better paying employers are driven out. There is less money going into the economy. More people must buy from Walmart. Walmart goes up, America goes down.

    A strong economy cannot be supported by only a small percentage of the population. It just is not sustainable.

    Walmart is, in the area under discussion in this diary, probably the worst culprit and biggest villain.

    •  No disrespect (0+ / 0-)

      You don't say what you do at Walmart. Are your degrees necessary for the work you do? Would another retail business pay you more and give you better benefits for doing the same job?

      What we observe is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning. - Werner Heisenberg

      by fortunate son on Fri Aug 03, 2012 at 09:37:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

        First off, it is difficult to imagine that they could not use my knowledge and skills in a better way. I am capable of much more than what they currently employ me for. That they do not consider this speaks poorly for them.

        My education and bilingual skills are rewarded much better with other companies. I am a certified bilingual teacher and a certified math teacher. I have taught both in the public school system. In addition to being a mathematician.

        My education, background, and skills bring a level of sophistication and customer service skills that they typically do not get. Can they hire anybody ? Yes. And they do. But mostly one gets what one pays for in employers. And how likely am I to give my all to a company that so poorly compensates me, given what I bring to the table.

        Now, return back to shilling for Walmart, Walton's heirs and the rest of the 1 percent.

        •  interesting response (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sheri Nakai

          Congratulations on your skills but please refrain from being so condescending about your fellow Associates. Many of them have talents of which you may not be aware. As one of the original members of the team that developed the CBL process, I relied heavily on their input and experience in the process.

          I am sorry that you do not feel that your talents are being properly utilized but the demand must meet the supply.

          As for your last comment. I find it also very condescending. I left Walmart many years ago for my own reasons and as far as the Walton heirs, later this moth my wife and I have tickets to a Pat Benatar concert at the Art Center they helped to develop and maybe go to the Museum of American Art that Alice Walton built here. My son had the opportunity years ago to be Den Chief for Jim Walton's Boy Scout troop and I still envy the passion John Walton had for using the CBL process to help our state's colleges and universities.

          What we observe is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning. - Werner Heisenberg

          by fortunate son on Fri Aug 03, 2012 at 10:34:29 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I don't understand. (0+ / 0-)

          It seems you are working a job that perhaps requires a HS diploma or GED (does it even require that?). If that's what the job requires, why would Walmart pay you more for skills that the job doesn't utilize?

          Walmart is NOT about stellar customer service. They are about "good enough" customer service and generally good pricing and (excluding their detour from this that got them in trouble starting a few years ago) fairly good selection. Frankly, on the few occasions I've shopped at a Walmart, annoying weaknesses in customer service were not the result of too few PhDs on staff, they were the result of people who didn't give a damn. Education means nothing on the front line at Walmart. You don't even need sixth grade arithmetic (the POS system does most of that for you and I've noticed calculators by the check stand at least once at Walmart). You absolutely don't need to know what arccos(x) is and how it relates to tan(x) or how to bisect a line using construction - these things just never come up as a "line" worker at a Walmart store.

          If you want to make a career at Walmart (which it seems you don't), you should be pursuing other jobs within Walmart that would better exploit your education. You would be applying for those jobs. Yes, this may require moving, perhaps to Bentonville, Arkansas.

          Suppose I need my lawn mowed and there are two applicants, both of whom are clearly able to mow lawns. One dropped out of high school, the other has a PhD in literature from a top university. Guess what, I'll not pay a penny more for the PhD in literature -- it doesn't result in a better looking lawn. In fact, if the HS dropout seems happy to have the job and the PhD seems to be somewhat bitter about being reduced to mowing lawns, I might pay a premium to the HS dropout just to avoid the "attitude".

          I recall working a summer factory job. It was a tedious repetitive job requiring no intellectual abilities. I tried very hard to do a good job, but I just am not good at those sort of tasks and I couldn't keep up the with the speed of the machine. On my break, the foreman would relieve me and when I returned ten minutes later, he had kept up with the machine AND processed the backlog I had left from two hours of underproduction. The foreman was good natured about it and was happy to have someone who would actually show up at 7AM every morning for three months and at least try to do a good job (the job was so hideous that most people quite before lunch on the first day). I was chatting with the foreman one day and said something like "Why don't you pay more to get better workers?" and he responded with something like "If I paid you $50 an hour, would you keep up with the machine?". My answer of course was "No". It was one of those "life's lessons" moments that just because you pay more doesn't mean you get more.

  •  i don't think (4+ / 0-)

    about the prices being low at walmart because i refuse to shop at walmart no matter how much money i can save, saving money can't help when i have to look in the mirror while shaving every morning.
    i don't expect others to agree but to me it is a stand i need to take because of my political position as a liberal.

    •  your stance does not surprise me. I agree with u (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greengemini

      What in the world happened that all of these people on Daily Kos became willing worshippers of the Walton plutocrats ? Did Hell just freeze over ?

      •  I'd like to take a noble stand, (4+ / 0-)

        but we are barely making ends meet as it is. Thank goodness for WIC or we would be underwater already. I'm deeply thankful we have one full-time job in the family right now and hopeful there will soon be two (since parenting doesn't count as real work -- but that's another issue for another time). Still working on that second job.

        My feelings about WalMart and its practices are strong, but that doesn't make my wallet any thicker and it doesn't feed or clothe my children. I hate shopping there, but I can look myself in the mirror fine because my children are fed and clothed, and this is temporary. The ability to not shop at the cheapest possible place (Goodwill, WalMart, etc.) is somewhat of a luxury.

        The moment I can escape the WalMart curse, I'm gone. I never used to shop there, for all the reasons we all understand. It appalls me that I can start a conversation with almost any WalMart employee about which WIC office has nice staff. They're on it too. So much for poor people working harder to make more money. Seriously, a livable wage!

        Obamacare: That hopey-changey thing is working out great for me, thanks for asking.

        by LaraJones on Fri Aug 03, 2012 at 10:23:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Oh, Yes, We Do (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vote4Obamain2012

    We know exactly what makes their prices low. And we resent it.

  •  Every liberal can stop shopping there tomorrow (0+ / 0-)

    and wal mart will be doing just fine , if I could afford to not shop there , I would , some places do not even have a second choice folks , when people look down on others for shopping there , you are just falling for exactly what the dictators want , keep them fighting amongst themselves

    You have to attack these issues at their base , example , china put a 15% tax on all imports 5 years ago , they have used it to invest $3 trillion into infrastructure , guess what tax wal mart pays to imports ? It is like a 1% tax

    With out the gov attacking slave wage conditions right here in america , nothing will happen , you can go shop at all the other slave wage stores , it will do little good and change nothing , we either get our political system to create rules  for strong workers rights and wages , or we sit back and watch nothing change , one solution is to get low wage workers to unite

     Since our cop our government will not enforce our constitutional rights , its time the people start enforcing them , we do not have to organize thru our employers any more  , we can do it thru social media , it would take balls , but if we could organize wild cat strikes , along with boycotts , we could shut some wal mart stores down , or whatever company -

  •  Where do we buy items not made in China's "Reagan (0+ / 0-)

    Economic Zones? It isn't about Wal Mart.

    Every conservative can do their part to end global warming by just STFU too and end hunger by just saying no to greasy chicken and compassionately donating a meals worth a day but they don't.  

    Oh curses, curses on the gubmint and libruls!

    "I'll press your flesh, you dimwitted sumbitch! " -Pappy O'Daniel

    by jakewaters on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 05:22:39 AM PDT

  •  WalMart is the Perfect Example for Obama (0+ / 0-)

    Conservatives praise WalMart as the Perfect Example of "Free Market Capitalism, but WalMart is the the Perfect Example of Right Wing Business exploiting every Government Program Available.

    When was the last time that you were on an Interstate Highway, that you did not see a WalMart Truck?

    WalMart is able to pay their employees minimum wages and low wages because their employees are eligible for food stamps and Medicaid.

    WalMart has been able to expand their stores by asking local governments to help them build new roads and interchanges to make access easier for their customers.

    WalMart employees send their children to public schools.

    WalMart sells groceries and profits through WIC programs and food stamp programs.

    WalMart has expanded through government programs as much as any company in recent memory.

    Dick Cheney said, "Pi$$ on 'em!" And, Ronald Reagan replied, "That's a Great Idea. Let's Call it 'Trickle Down Economics!"

    by NM Ray on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 08:56:43 AM PDT

  •  Does anyone ever ask (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe, Budlawman

    how Costco with it's low prices can afford to pay it's workers good wages, but Walmart can't? This isn't just about low prices, it's about Greed and how much of the corporate profits go to those at the very top or shareholders. I worked in this industry for years. There no good reasons why Walmart shits on it's workers except that they now can.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site