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The Wal-Mart debate thread

1246789

Posts

  • Irond WillIrond Will Dragonmaster Cambridge. MASuper Moderator, Moderator mod
    edited August 2007
    I can't really speak to the state of Canadian Wal-Marts except to say that you guys have on the whole blithely consigned yourselves to being economically imperialized by the US, and especially in your smaller communities, Wal-Marts aren't doing you any more favors than those in Bumfuck, USA.

    The fact that your government has pretty far-reaching worker protection and social services probably blunts the overall impact of Wal-Mart's worker-unfriendly policies, but the general economic drain and tendency to cut out Canadian suppliers are still going to be harmful.

    Wqdwp8l.png
  • madstork91madstork91 Registered User
    edited August 2007
    Roanth wrote: »
    Are you positing that absent Wal-Mart these small/rural towns would be thriving, self-sufficient economic communities? Here I thought that rural America and small towns were dying out because of population flight to larger urban centers were individuals could get better jobs. Guess I was wrong. Also, your point that Wal-Mart only builds a store in places where it believes it can get more out than it puts in is true of 99% of the businesses in the U.S. The reality is that the U.S. is part of a global economy and to believe that keeping Wal-Mart out of a town is magically goint to keep a community together is utter nonsense. The more lucrative, attractive jobs are almost universally in larger, urban areas that also happen to be the location of large corporations and businesses. This trend is driven by increasing globalization and technology, not Wal-mart. Your views that small-towns "retain" capital and keep it "local" is also seems a bit far-fetched. This statement in particular really made me scratch my head:

    The growth of town is cyclical. People move out of small towns for jobs and excitement in the "city". They typically move to suburbs if possible... Sometimes they go straight for the big city.

    People in suburbs/city go to the "big cities" for much of the same reasons... They also go for commercial and educational reasons.

    People in big cities go to small towns or suburbs because they get tired and burnt out on the "big city" mentality and life.

    These movements happen ~ every generation. You learn this within your first week of any good geography calss.
    Roanth wrote: »
    Are you speaking of Amish communities or something? All the goods sold in town come from vast distances, whether it is Wal-Mart or Ye Olde General store selling them. Almost every single community in the U.S. is connected via trade that comes from many different locations. Maybe you can explain what you were trying to say here because it might have made sense in the 19th century but given how capitalist economies work today it is completely irrelevant (unless you are suggesting a sort of return to the land where we all become quasi-amish).

    EDIT:

    I also have no idea what this statement is supposed to mean.

    Yes... people import things from other communities. This at one time was achieved inside of your own state and maybe neighboring states to fulfill everything you could possibly want/need. And no... not 100 years ago. Maybe 50-60. I will agree that the move to a national was a good thing. But when we began switching to importing MOST of these things... we began to fail. This is the main thing being taught in most business classes in college. It is also a statistical trand that can be observed. Not very debatable.
    Roanth wrote: »
    If the cost of manufacturing and transporting frames to a location is higher than the cost to make the frames locally, the local frames will be cheaper and sell more. If it is cheaper to manufacture them elsewhere and ship them, then the cost to the U.S. economy is cheaper. Outsourcing products around the globe has been a major trend for years and has resulted in goods being made cheaper to the U.S. consumer. Companies like Wal-Mart and others that source in China would go out of business if it was more expensive to produce abroad then locally. Your example doesn't make any sense.

    It -is- more expensive to produce... However due to the magic of the QUANTITY that walmart can buy from a single manufacturer the profit made per unit can be less than that of the smaller community's manufacturing plant. Then you could also get in to the ethics of some of the companies that walmart buys from... You know... the plants thats per hour wage is in the cents rather than $'s.

    Walmart does not buy a product for a single store. They buy products for ALL of their stores... They is why they can force such a low buying price. That is why GLOBALLY they get to buy it cheaper. You are right that this makes it cheaper to the US consumer. And that is why we suck. We have given more power to our own greed than that of our conscience and humanity. If we actually boycotted them they would suffer. If a small town that a walmart was recently built boycotted it, they would a) pour more money into it until it failed, b) just shut down. And by boycotting I mean real organized boycotting. None of this only half the community doing it bullshit.

    Will this ever happen... no. Is this how the US system is set up for it's people to fight big business? Yes. Hell, we were founded upon it.

    tg2po0.gif Tech reviews, another forum to talk in... w/e.
  • Irond WillIrond Will Dragonmaster Cambridge. MASuper Moderator, Moderator mod
    edited August 2007
    Roanth wrote: »
    Irond Will wrote: »
    Roanth wrote: »
    Are you positing that absent Wal-Mart these small/rural towns would be thriving, self-sufficient economic communities? Here I thought that rural America and small towns were dying out because of population flight to larger urban centers were individuals could get better jobs. Guess I was wrong. Also, your point that Wal-Mart only builds a store in places where it believes it can get more out than it puts in is true of 99% of the businesses in the U.S. The reality is that the U.S. is part of a global economy and to believe that keeping Wal-Mart out of a town is magically goint to keep a community together is utter nonsense. The more lucrative, attractive jobs are almost universally in larger, urban areas that also happen to be the location of large corporations and businesses. This trend is driven by increasing globalization and technology, not Wal-mart. Your views that small-towns "retain" capital and keep it "local" is also seems a bit far-fetched.

    Small rural areas have a lot of problems, it's true. Wal-Marts exacerbate a lot of them, mostly by pulling money out of the local economy and by offering an overall worse employment situation than it would be without a Wal-Mart.

    I don't get this concept of pulling money out of the local economy. For this to be true, the local mom and pop stores would have to be plowing their profits into other local businesses through investment lending, etc. to make a difference. Guess what, mom & pop aren't venture capitalists and probaly invest most of their profits in the market, mutual funds, etc. I am just not seeing the money drain that occurs from having a Wal-Mart in the town. The fact that a local business owner has the profit vs Wal-Mart's HQ doesn't mean anything unless the local business owner is proactively investing in other businesses locally, which I doubt is typically the case. The employment situation is not all one way. I am sure there are cases where the Wal-Mart helps the local economy and creates more jobs (we have heard some anecdotal ones on this thread). Plus you need to weigh consumer savings from Wal-Mart against any potential wage deflation. Not surprisingly it is a very complicated issue and cannot be summarized in a catch-all statement that Wal-Mart always creates a worse economic condition for small rural areas.

    Basically, if Jimmy John's Gun Shop with his 4 employees is put out of business by a Wal-Mart gun department, Jimmy John will no longer have a livelihood in the town, and odds are pretty good that only three of his four employees will be able to find employment at the local Wal-Mart, probably at lower wages and/ or with worse benefits. Additionally, whatever amount of profit Jimmy John previously made with his shop will definitely not be reinvested into the local community through consumer spending or home improvements or probably even local taxes, but will instead definitely be sent back to Wal-Mart HQ.

    There is an argument to be made for the fact that the price of the consumer goods at the Wal-Mart will be somewhat less, at least initially. The fact that, from this point forward, however, that there can be basically no further local competition due to startup costs and economies of scale creates a poisonous economic environment.

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  • madstork91madstork91 Registered User
    edited August 2007
    Roanth wrote: »
    I don't get this concept of pulling money out of the local economy. For this to be true, the local mom and pop stores would have to be plowing their profits into other local businesses through investment lending, etc. to make a difference. Guess what, mom & pop aren't venture capitalists and probaly invest most of their profits in the market, mutual funds, etc. I am just not seeing the money drain that occurs from having a Wal-Mart in the town. The fact that a local business owner has the profit vs Wal-Mart's HQ doesn't mean anything unless the local business owner is proactively investing in other businesses locally, which I doubt is typically the case. The employment situation is not all one way. I am sure there are cases where the Wal-Mart helps the local economy and creates more jobs (we have heard some anecdotal ones on this thread). Plus you need to weigh consumer savings from Wal-Mart against any potential wage deflation. Not surprisingly it is a very complicated issue and cannot be summarized in a catch-all statement that Wal-Mart always creates a worse economic condition for small rural areas.

    For a real quick example... When the mom and pop store makes money they put it in a local bank. (possibly a local bank... Not a Bank of America type place) When they put the money in there the bank has money. When the bank has money they can lower interest rates. The mom and pop might have bought federal bonds... Guess what that did for the local bank still though? They could have donated money locally. They could have been entrepreneurs. Not every "mom and pop store" is necessarily ran by a "mom and pop" some are run by small business owners 20-40 years old. And yes, they do invest locally.

    They also might pay more than walmart. A friend of mine just mentioned that his sister has been working at a walmart in Canada for 4 years and is the 2 position from the top in the photo center. The min wage there is ~$6.90, she makes $8.50. She wasn't hired at much lower than her current wage. 4 years... and a practically running the photo lab... she make $1.60 more than min wage. Would a mom and pop store be able to keep her for that wage? Would they pay her more... Possibly yes. If there wasn't a walmart there setting local wage rates too... Yeah they set those too. Something I havent seen discussed in here yet.

    tg2po0.gif Tech reviews, another forum to talk in... w/e.
  • werehippywerehippy Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Irond Will wrote: »
    Roanth wrote: »
    Irond Will wrote: »
    Roanth wrote: »
    Are you positing that absent Wal-Mart these small/rural towns would be thriving, self-sufficient economic communities? Here I thought that rural America and small towns were dying out because of population flight to larger urban centers were individuals could get better jobs. Guess I was wrong. Also, your point that Wal-Mart only builds a store in places where it believes it can get more out than it puts in is true of 99% of the businesses in the U.S. The reality is that the U.S. is part of a global economy and to believe that keeping Wal-Mart out of a town is magically goint to keep a community together is utter nonsense. The more lucrative, attractive jobs are almost universally in larger, urban areas that also happen to be the location of large corporations and businesses. This trend is driven by increasing globalization and technology, not Wal-mart. Your views that small-towns "retain" capital and keep it "local" is also seems a bit far-fetched.

    Small rural areas have a lot of problems, it's true. Wal-Marts exacerbate a lot of them, mostly by pulling money out of the local economy and by offering an overall worse employment situation than it would be without a Wal-Mart.

    I don't get this concept of pulling money out of the local economy. For this to be true, the local mom and pop stores would have to be plowing their profits into other local businesses through investment lending, etc. to make a difference. Guess what, mom & pop aren't venture capitalists and probaly invest most of their profits in the market, mutual funds, etc. I am just not seeing the money drain that occurs from having a Wal-Mart in the town. The fact that a local business owner has the profit vs Wal-Mart's HQ doesn't mean anything unless the local business owner is proactively investing in other businesses locally, which I doubt is typically the case. The employment situation is not all one way. I am sure there are cases where the Wal-Mart helps the local economy and creates more jobs (we have heard some anecdotal ones on this thread). Plus you need to weigh consumer savings from Wal-Mart against any potential wage deflation. Not surprisingly it is a very complicated issue and cannot be summarized in a catch-all statement that Wal-Mart always creates a worse economic condition for small rural areas.

    Basically, if Jimmy John's Gun Shop with his 4 employees is put out of business by a Wal-Mart gun department, Jimmy John will no longer have a livelihood in the town, and odds are pretty good that only three of his four employees will be able to find employment at the local Wal-Mart, probably at lower wages and/ or with worse benefits. Additionally, whatever amount of profit Jimmy John previously made with his shop will definitely not be reinvested into the local community through consumer spending or home improvements or probably even local taxes, but will instead definitely be sent back to Wal-Mart HQ.

    There is an argument to be made for the fact that the price of the consumer goods at the Wal-Mart will be somewhat less, at least initially. The fact that, from this point forward, however, that there can be basically no further local competition due to startup costs and economies of scale creates a poisonous economic environment.

    But the flip side of that is because consumers are paying less for their goods, they have more money to spend (which given the demographic at Walmart will almost certainly be spent locally).

    It's a toss up between whether the higher costs going out of the community in terms of Mom & Pop buying the goods at a higher price are outweighed by the loss of Jimmy's wages when Walmart comes in, but given the fact it's relatively few people's wages being balanced against a large number of small savings I think that it's a safe bet that more money stays in the community with Walmart than without, though you can certainly argue the opposite.

  • Cucco LeaderCucco Leader Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    If you want someone who has been trapped by Wal-Mart. Look no further. I left my last job because I didn't want to die. It took me about 6~ months to get this job at Wal-Mart. It took me so long to find this job I lost my savings. The job market is this bad here. I was told by Wal-Mart that after 6 months I could transfer to the Wal-Mart closer to my home. Because I have a 1 hour commute now. It should be a 10 minute commute. I've now worked at this Wal-Mart for a year. At months 6-8 they were jerking me around making like I could transfer but it wouldn't ever happen. I left messages. Everything I should. No. Not once did I get a call from the place. I STILL look for a job close to home. Nothing.

    Wal-Mart. Promises. Promises.

    There you go.

  • madstork91madstork91 Registered User
    edited August 2007
    werehippy wrote: »

    But the flip side of that is because consumers are paying less for their goods, they have more money to spend (which given the demographic at Walmart will almost certainly be spent locally).

    It's a toss up between whether the higher costs going out of the community in terms of Mom & Pop buying the goods at a higher price are outweighed by the loss of Jimmy's wages when Walmart comes in, but given the fact it's relatively few people's wages being balanced against a large number of small savings I think that it's a safe bet that more money stays in the community with Walmart than without, though you can certainly argue the opposite.

    Lets say the local community has 2 convenience stores... Walmart put them both out. Each had 10 employees.

    All ten from each now work there and make less... None of them will ever be able to open their own business if it has anything to do with competing with walmart. Yes... the means that anything they might want to sell that walmart offers would be doomed. Why? Because they cannot match their price. So what do they do the rest of their lives? Work at walmart or try to get the hell out of that town because there is virtually no way to make money.

    Yes people spend less initially. But after buying 3-4 vacuums in 10 years they have less. And now they have no alternative to walmart. Walmart has not been reinvesting locally. Eventually this sucks the town dry unless other business ventures move in like fast food places and the like. So now 10 of the employees from before now have a choice between mcdonalds and walmart. What a choice.

    Yes there are other businesses in the town that do not take quite a fatal blow. Yes eventually they recover and grow. Eventually if the town grows though they will be replaced by other big businesses though. If they arent then kudos to them, because they may very well be one of the only companies in the town besides walmart.

    tg2po0.gif Tech reviews, another forum to talk in... w/e.
  • Irond WillIrond Will Dragonmaster Cambridge. MASuper Moderator, Moderator mod
    edited August 2007
    werehippy wrote: »
    But the flip side of that is because consumers are paying less for their goods, they have more money to spend (which given the demographic at Walmart will almost certainly be spent locally).

    It's a toss up between whether the higher costs going out of the community in terms of Mom & Pop buying the goods at a higher price are outweighed by the loss of Jimmy's wages when Walmart comes in, but given the fact it's relatively few people's wages being balanced against a large number of small savings I think that it's a safe bet that more money stays in the community with Walmart than without, though you can certainly argue the opposite.

    If Wal-Mart were not able to compete on price, efficiency and the economies of scale, they wouldn't be successful - which they are. This, in the end, means lower real wages and less local employment. If Wal-Mart did not foresee a significant profit - specifically extracting money from the local economy - they wouldn't set up shop.

    The consideration of cutting out local suppliers is a further consideration.

    Basically, there's pretty much no conclusion except that the installation of a Wal-Mart will increase the velocity of money out of the local economy, and this could be devastating depending on the size and revenue sources of the local community.

    Wqdwp8l.png
  • werehippywerehippy Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    madstork91 wrote: »
    werehippy wrote: »

    But the flip side of that is because consumers are paying less for their goods, they have more money to spend (which given the demographic at Walmart will almost certainly be spent locally).

    It's a toss up between whether the higher costs going out of the community in terms of Mom & Pop buying the goods at a higher price are outweighed by the loss of Jimmy's wages when Walmart comes in, but given the fact it's relatively few people's wages being balanced against a large number of small savings I think that it's a safe bet that more money stays in the community with Walmart than without, though you can certainly argue the opposite.

    Lets say the local community has 2 convenience stores... Walmart put them both out. Each had 10 employees.

    All ten from each now work there and make less... None of them will ever be able to open their own business if it has anything to do with competing with walmart. Yes... the means that anything they might want to sell that walmart offers would be doomed. Why? Because they cannot match their price. So what do they do the rest of their lives? Work at walmart or try to get the hell out of that town because there is virtually no way to make money.

    Everything up to here, minus the emotional spin, is exactly what SHOULD happen. If Walmart is better (in terms of providing what the customers want for less money) then it should replace the two other stores. If it's better than any other store CAN be, it should remain the only store serving that particular need.

    Yes people spend less initially. But after buying 3-4 vacuums in 10 years they have less. And now they have no alternative to walmart. Walmart has not been reinvesting locally. Eventually this sucks the town dry unless other business ventures move in like fast food places and the like. So now 10 of the employees from before now have a choice between mcdonalds and walmart. What a choice.

    Yes there are other businesses in the town that do not take quite a fatal blow. Yes eventually they recover and grow. Eventually if the town grows though they will be replaced by other big businesses though. If they arent then kudos to them, because they may very well be one of the only companies in the town besides walmart.

    Everything here is baseless doom and gloom. Walmart is just another store, acting exactly as other stores do. They are no worse for their local economy, or their workers, than any other store. There is no "sucking the town dry", or if there is then it was inevitable given the demographics of the region.

    With effectively NO exception, as in to the point I don't think a single existence exists or could exist, Walmart is never the only employer in an area, never represents the sole source of economic activity in an area, or is the death of an area.

  • Irond WillIrond Will Dragonmaster Cambridge. MASuper Moderator, Moderator mod
    edited August 2007
    werehippy wrote: »
    Walmart is just another store, acting exactly as other stores do. They are no worse for their local economy, or their workers, than any other store. There is no "sucking the town dry", or if there is then it was inevitable given the demographics of the region.

    With effectively NO exception, as in to the point I don't think a single existence exists or could exist, Walmart is never the only employer in an area, never represents the sole source of economic activity in an area, or is the death of an area.

    A Wal-Mart in a small town basically precludes the existence of a local retail capitalist class in any sphere in which Wal-Mart competes. I mean - maybe you think that's fine, that local merchants are an anachronism in modern economies, and people working retail more or less deserve whatever they get, but there's no doubt that this has radically changed the economy of retail in urban and much of suburban America and that local communities dominated by Wal-Marts are necessarily marginally poorer than before.

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  • IncenjucarIncenjucar QA Tester -> Game Producer Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited August 2007
    It's been pretty much covered but I think it could stand to be stressed:

    A store, any store, that is owned or supplied by an entity outside of an area is going to be sending money out of the area.

    In a locally-owned store selling locally-produced goods made from locally-produced materials gathered with locally-manufactured tools etc etc, the community keeps much more of the money through taxes and purchases and bank interest and so forth. The community will benefit from that money over an over, as it gets spent on things over and over within that community. I buy some groceries so Joe Bag Boy can buy groceries so Janet Grocery Store Manager can buy groceries so Sally Store Owner can buy groceries so Billy Supplier can buy groceries so Sam Farmer can buy groceries, and every step of the way people are taxed to keep the community functioning.

    But if everyone above Janet Grocery Store Manager lives on the other side of the country, -that- side of the country will be getting much of that benefit, rather than the local community. Sally, Billy, and Sam are out of the local loop, so while it's good for where they are, it doesn't help My, Joe, and Janet's community at all.

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  • werehippywerehippy Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Irond Will wrote: »
    werehippy wrote: »
    But the flip side of that is because consumers are paying less for their goods, they have more money to spend (which given the demographic at Walmart will almost certainly be spent locally).

    It's a toss up between whether the higher costs going out of the community in terms of Mom & Pop buying the goods at a higher price are outweighed by the loss of Jimmy's wages when Walmart comes in, but given the fact it's relatively few people's wages being balanced against a large number of small savings I think that it's a safe bet that more money stays in the community with Walmart than without, though you can certainly argue the opposite.

    If Wal-Mart were not able to compete on price, efficiency and the economies of scale, they wouldn't be successful - which they are. This, in the end, means lower real wages and less local employment. If Wal-Mart did not foresee a significant profit - specifically extracting money from the local economy - they wouldn't set up shop.

    The consideration of cutting out local suppliers is a further consideration.

    Basically, there's pretty much no conclusion except that the installation of a Wal-Mart will increase the velocity of money out of the local economy, and this could be devastating depending on the size and revenue sources of the local community.

    You are making a pretty common mistake here, equating the retail segment of the economy with the entire economy.

    So Walmart may well force down wages in retail, given that they now nominally dominate retail in that region, but unless there are more people than there are jobs this will have a negligible effect on OVERALL wages and if that were the case wages would go down regardless of Walmart's presence.

    I've yet to see anything showing that Walmart reduces local employment, and quite a bit that says they ultimately hire more people than lose their jobs do to their competition. It may be the case they are hired at lower wages, but again, that's the cost of improved efficiency for the whole community and the gains far outweigh this.

    As to profits, Walmart consistently posts margins that are lower than other big box retailers, and significantly lower than any Mom & Pop store. It's certainly debatable, but it seems clear that the saving customers enjoy due to Walmarts significantly lower prices far outweighs the lose of the Mom & Pop's profits nominally being sunk into the local community (and lets not exaggerate just how much stayed local, since unless they buy purely local goods with their profits a large fraction of that money will go out to the suppliers of where ever they spend their money).

    The local suppliers being cut out is negligible to the point of irrelevance. Mom & Pop, with few exceptions, don't sell local goods, they sell exactly the same thing Walmart does, they're just worse at it.

    Again, it's by no means cut and dry, but it's certainly not a given that Walmart is bad for a community. There MAY be cases where the benefits don't outweigh the negatives, but that's the same with anything. There are few guaranteed win-win situations, and the fact Walmart isn't one of those isn't necessarily a strike against it.

  • werehippywerehippy Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    It's been pretty much covered but I think it could stand to be stressed:

    A store, any store, that is owned or supplied by an entity outside of an area is going to be sending money out of the area.

    In a locally-owned store selling locally-produced goods made from locally-produced materials gathered with locally-manufactured tools etc etc, the community keeps much more of the money through taxes and purchases and bank interest and so forth.

    Except there's a rather large gap between "locally-owned store selling locally-produced goods made from locally-produced materials gathered with locally-manufactured tools" and anything in modern America.

    It's locally owned store buys exactly the same thing from exactly the same place as non-locally owned store, and charges us more for the privilege. The only thing leaving now that wasn't leaving before is the profit off the very top (a quite small percentage) and that has to be weighed against the savings which the consumer enjoys, which were formerly leaving the community to go to the suppliers.

    Considering Walmarts profit margin is I believe 3-5% of sales, the question is does Walmart save the consumer more than 3-5%? If so, then it's a net plus in terms of local versus national ownership.

  • Irond WillIrond Will Dragonmaster Cambridge. MASuper Moderator, Moderator mod
    edited August 2007
    werehippy wrote: »
    You are making a pretty common mistake here, equating the retail segment of the economy with the entire economy.

    So Walmart may well force down wages in retail, given that they now nominally dominate retail in that region, but unless there are more people than there are jobs this will have a negligible effect on OVERALL wages and if that were the case wages would go down regardless of Walmart's presence.

    I've yet to see anything showing that Walmart reduces local employment, and quite a bit that says they ultimately hire more people than lose their jobs do to their competition. It may be the case they are hired at lower wages, but again, that's the cost of improved efficiency for the whole community and the gains far outweigh this.

    I don't see how it's possible that Wal-Mart increases employment unless they're entering a retail sphere that did not previously exist in the local community. It's unthinkable to me that Wal-Mart is somehow less efficient than Mom'n'Pop stores.

    But yeah I'm not arguing that Wal-Mart necessarily destroys the entire economy of all local communities. It does, however, subsume the native retail economies of local communities. Again, you might not think this is a big deal, since you, along with most Wal-Mart apologists and budding Libertarians don't much see the import of local retail capitalist classes.

    And yes, local merchants aren't entirely stocked with local goods - try to find a plunger manufactured in East Buttholia, Idaho. But they do tend to sell local goods when available, while Wal-Mart will basically never sell local goods.

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  • madstork91madstork91 Registered User
    edited August 2007
    werehippy wrote: »
    madstork91 wrote: »
    werehippy wrote: »

    But the flip side of that is because consumers are paying less for their goods, they have more money to spend (which given the demographic at Walmart will almost certainly be spent locally).

    It's a toss up between whether the higher costs going out of the community in terms of Mom & Pop buying the goods at a higher price are outweighed by the loss of Jimmy's wages when Walmart comes in, but given the fact it's relatively few people's wages being balanced against a large number of small savings I think that it's a safe bet that more money stays in the community with Walmart than without, though you can certainly argue the opposite.

    Lets say the local community has 2 convenience stores... Walmart put them both out. Each had 10 employees.

    All ten from each now work there and make less... None of them will ever be able to open their own business if it has anything to do with competing with walmart. Yes... the means that anything they might want to sell that walmart offers would be doomed. Why? Because they cannot match their price. So what do they do the rest of their lives? Work at walmart or try to get the hell out of that town because there is virtually no way to make money.

    Everything up to here, minus the emotional spin, is exactly what SHOULD happen. If Walmart is better (in terms of providing what the customers want for less money) then it should replace the two other stores. If it's better than any other store CAN be, it should remain the only store serving that particular need.

    Yes people spend less initially. But after buying 3-4 vacuums in 10 years they have less. And now they have no alternative to walmart. Walmart has not been reinvesting locally. Eventually this sucks the town dry unless other business ventures move in like fast food places and the like. So now 10 of the employees from before now have a choice between mcdonalds and walmart. What a choice.

    Yes there are other businesses in the town that do not take quite a fatal blow. Yes eventually they recover and grow. Eventually if the town grows though they will be replaced by other big businesses though. If they arent then kudos to them, because they may very well be one of the only companies in the town besides walmart.

    Everything here is baseless doom and gloom. Walmart is just another store, acting exactly as other stores do. They are no worse for their local economy, or their workers, than any other store. There is no "sucking the town dry", or if there is then it was inevitable given the demographics of the region.

    With effectively NO exception, as in to the point I don't think a single existence exists or could exist, Walmart is never the only employer in an area, never represents the sole source of economic activity in an area, or is the death of an area.

    Yes... actually it is... There is a town near this one (25 min drive) that the economic boom in this one has killed. The first thing to go in that one? The local stores. There currently exists a single gas station that is struggling to survive. They have an entire down town section with NOTHING in it anymore. What did the stores there sell? Everything walmart does but individually.

    And no... it is not what "should happen" because this economic trend is what has made the US a overwhelmingly service economy. We import practically everything, and that does not bode well for our future.

    tg2po0.gif Tech reviews, another forum to talk in... w/e.
  • Mithrandir86Mithrandir86 Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Wal-Mart's operating income was 5.94% of revenue last fiscal.

    Spoiler:
  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    There's also the fact that Wal-Mart policies have impact outside of the economic sphere. For instance, Wal-Mart demands that any CD it sells must be censored to their standard. More insidious was their company-wide policy to not sell emergency conraception, which took a court ruling to stop. (And even now, Wal-Mart openly supports "conscientious objection" by pharmacists.)

    So when Wal-Mart puts all the local pharmacies out of business, the impact isn't just that local business is impacted, but local womens' health.

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  • captmorgancaptmorgan Registered User
    edited August 2007
    The reason myself and others I know shop at big box type stores Walmart/target/cosco, ect... is not the price, its the fact I can get everything I want in one place. I personaly hate shopping and I refuse to spend my fucking day ducking in and out of 50 mom/pop stores looking for shit.

    I never understood why the smaller businesses instead of whining, just don`t form a large group, buy or build a huge warehouse and combine all there crap into one place? They can share the cost of floor space, electricity advertising, ect... and chances are some of them use the same suppliers so they could negoitiate better prices and buy in larger bulk.

    "mom and pops mega mart" where not like the other guy!

  • Irond WillIrond Will Dragonmaster Cambridge. MASuper Moderator, Moderator mod
    edited August 2007
    I guess we must not have too many forumers who actually live in rural America. McD aside, the responses I've gotten from most rural folks is a kind of defensive and protective reaction when it comes to criticism of Wal-Marts. And, of course, Red State conservatives in general will almost always support the large capitalholder over the small capitalholder, even if the theoretical premise of conservatism is expansion of the "ownership" class, healthy competition at all levels, and a hazy nostalgic championing of traditional societies, economies, and small businesses.

    Wqdwp8l.png
  • werehippywerehippy Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Irond Will wrote: »
    But yeah I'm not arguing that Wal-Mart necessarily destroys the entire economy of all local communities. It does, however, subsume the native retail economies of local communities. Again, you might not think this is a big deal, since you, along with most Wal-Mart apologists and budding Libertarians don't much see the import of local retail capitalist classes.

    For christ sake, of course I must be an apologist and a libertarian (which is in and of itself a dirty, nasty thing) if I dare show you that reality doesn't conform to your political beliefs.

    No I don't think a local retail capitalist class is important when it isn't better than the alternative. There isn't some magical benefit that comes from a store being locally owned versus owned by a big mean company. You want to argue ANY of the points I made, I'll not only listen politely I'll enjoy the debate, because I happen to enjoy arguing economics. The fact you can only resort to "of course [Y] is better as anyone but a [bad thing X] just knows" is more a comment on the weakness of what you're trying to argue than some inherent flaw in my character or political leanings (which you got wrong, for what it's worth).

    As it happens, I don't much care for Walmart, but I do respect the fact they're better than the alternative. Kudos to them for beating the crap out of inefficient businesses.

  • madstork91madstork91 Registered User
    edited August 2007
    werehippy wrote: »
    You are making a pretty common mistake here, equating the retail segment of the economy with the entire economy.

    1) So Walmart may well force down wages in retail, given that they now nominally dominate retail in that region, but unless there are more people than there are jobs this will have a negligible effect on OVERALL wages and if that were the case wages would go down regardless of Walmart's presence.

    2) I've yet to see anything showing that Walmart reduces local employment, and quite a bit that says they ultimately hire more people than lose their jobs do to their competition. It may be the case they are hired at lower wages, but again, that's the cost of improved efficiency for the whole community and the gains far outweigh this.

    3) As to profits, Walmart consistently posts margins that are lower than other big box retailers, and significantly lower than any Mom & Pop store. It's certainly debatable, but it seems clear that the saving customers enjoy due to Walmarts significantly lower prices far outweighs the lose of the Mom & Pop's profits nominally being sunk into the local community (and lets not exaggerate just how much stayed local, since unless they buy purely local goods with their profits a large fraction of that money will go out to the suppliers of where ever they spend their money).

    4) The local suppliers being cut out is negligible to the point of irrelevance. Mom & Pop, with few exceptions, don't sell local goods, they sell exactly the same thing Walmart does, they're just worse at it.

    5) Again, it's by no means cut and dry, but it's certainly not a given that Walmart is bad for a community. There MAY be cases where the benefits don't outweigh the negatives, but that's the same with anything. There are few guaranteed win-win situations, and the fact Walmart isn't one of those isn't necessarily a strike against it.

    I added number to make it easier to reply.

    1) Yes there are... it is called unemployment.

    2) When walmart opens a new store they bring in out of town management. The people who owned the previous stores now will either be out of work or get a job at the walmart for significantly less than they made. Going from 60-70,000/year in that small town to say 30,000/year seem fair to you?

    3) When you sell BILLIONS of merchandise a month... You do not have to make as much per unit. 5% of a trillion $'s worth of inventory is still VASTLY greater than 20% of 1mil

    4) I suppose you are right... I mean when an entire towns economy is based upon something like a picture frame factory and the walmart shuts that down... thats a positive net gain still right?

    5) You are right it is not cut and dry... It clear as fucking crystal.

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  • Mithrandir86Mithrandir86 Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Irond Will wrote: »
    Again, you might not think this is a big deal, since you, along with most Wal-Mart apologists and budding Libertarians don't much see the import of local retail capitalist classes.

    That is a gross oversimplification of werehippy's posts, and is emblematic of the inherent problems of the Wal-Mart opposition. Rather than debate on the rational virtues and villainies of the corporation, it reverts to this David-vs-Goliath story of megalithic antagonists coming to consume the innocent, moral small businesses. It has major cultural resonance, both as the aforementioned Christian metaphor but also as the classic American one of the underdog individual fighting against all odds. In this metaphor, the smaller force is always on the side of good, and the larger entity's intentions can never be described as benign.

    Spoiler:
  • madstork91madstork91 Registered User
    edited August 2007
    captmorgan wrote: »
    The reason myself and others I know shop at big box type stores Walmart/target/cosco, ect... is not the price, its the fact I can get everything I want in one place. I personaly hate shopping and I refuse to spend my fucking day ducking in and out of 50 mom/pop stores looking for shit.

    I never understood why the smaller businesses instead of whining, just don`t form a large group, buy or build a huge warehouse and combine all there crap into one place? They can share the cost of floor space, electricity advertising, ect... and chances are some of them use the same suppliers so they could negoitiate better prices and buy in larger bulk.

    "mom and pops mega mart" where not like the other guy!

    Not a horrible idea... But then again they have centers like that already. They are called shopping centers/districts and "downtown" areas. I am sorry that you find it too difficult to talk the the shop next door after buying something at one place... Or perhaps it is the walk across the street???

    You are prob the type to wait 10 min for the closest parking spot and refuse to go in to a fast food place when the line is 10 cars long too...

    This is response may seem a lil harsh. But this mentality is exactly the problem that makes walmart successful and small business fail.

    tg2po0.gif Tech reviews, another forum to talk in... w/e.
  • werehippywerehippy Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    madstork91 wrote: »
    Yes... actually it is... There is a town near this one (25 min drive) that the economic boom in this one has killed. The first thing to go in that one? The local stores. There currently exists a single gas station that is struggling to survive. They have an entire down town section with NOTHING in it anymore. What did the stores there sell? Everything walmart does but individually.

    And no... it is not what "should happen" because this economic trend is what has made the US a overwhelmingly service economy. We import practically everything, and that does not bode well for our future.

    The lose of small inefficient retail stores in favor of one larger more efficient one can only damage the economy if it was being propped up beforehand in some other way (as in the local population was accepting a lower standard of living to keep inefficient businesses functioning). and I'm not arguing Walmart can NEVER be bad, I'm saying it certainly isn't ALWAYS bad and it usually good.

    Maybe this place was some odd ball local pheonomena where the normal rules are distorted by something. Maybe the place was kept afloat by something else entirely. Maybe it was doomed to dry up regardless of what happened and Walmart either just happened to be there or exacerbated an already existing problem.

    The point is anecdotal evidence (which I'll freely admit I doubted existed at all, so nice find) doesn't actually constitute proof.


    As to the last bit, the trend from a goods to a service based economy is a whole other issue (one which not everyone agrees is a bad thing) and is in no way driven by Walmart. It's the way America has been heading for decades.

  • madstork91madstork91 Registered User
    edited August 2007
    Irond Will wrote: »
    I guess we must not have too many forumers who actually live in rural America. McD aside, the responses I've gotten from most rural folks is a kind of defensive and protective reaction when it comes to criticism of Wal-Marts. And, of course, Red State conservatives in general will almost always support the large capitalholder over the small capitalholder, even if the theoretical premise of conservatism is expansion of the "ownership" class, healthy competition at all levels, and a hazy nostalgic championing of traditional societies, economies, and small businesses.

    Actually... I consider myself to be from rural areas. I could find a horse in a field in less than a 10 min walk from my apt. here at college. (no we do not have an Agricultural department.)

    The town Ive been in for a few years now has quite the amount of ranches and farms.

    I am in texas too... quite the "red" and "conservative" state.

    tg2po0.gif Tech reviews, another forum to talk in... w/e.
  • Mithrandir86Mithrandir86 Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    There's also the fact that Wal-Mart policies have impact outside of the economic sphere. For instance, Wal-Mart demands that any CD it sells must be censored to their standard. More insidious was their company-wide policy to not sell emergency conraception, which took a court ruling to stop. (And even now, Wal-Mart openly supports "conscientious objection" by pharmacists.)

    So when Wal-Mart puts all the local pharmacies out of business, the impact isn't just that local business is impacted, but local womens' health.

    Wal-Mart is a publicly traded corporation, which means it functions amorally. The "contentious objection" and the censorship of its CDs is more of a reflection of the values of its customers than the moral beliefs of the firm.

    Spoiler:
  • werehippywerehippy Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    madstork91 wrote: »
    werehippy wrote: »
    You are making a pretty common mistake here, equating the retail segment of the economy with the entire economy.

    1) So Walmart may well force down wages in retail, given that they now nominally dominate retail in that region, but unless there are more people than there are jobs this will have a negligible effect on OVERALL wages and if that were the case wages would go down regardless of Walmart's presence.

    2) I've yet to see anything showing that Walmart reduces local employment, and quite a bit that says they ultimately hire more people than lose their jobs do to their competition. It may be the case they are hired at lower wages, but again, that's the cost of improved efficiency for the whole community and the gains far outweigh this.

    3) As to profits, Walmart consistently posts margins that are lower than other big box retailers, and significantly lower than any Mom & Pop store. It's certainly debatable, but it seems clear that the saving customers enjoy due to Walmarts significantly lower prices far outweighs the lose of the Mom & Pop's profits nominally being sunk into the local community (and lets not exaggerate just how much stayed local, since unless they buy purely local goods with their profits a large fraction of that money will go out to the suppliers of where ever they spend their money).

    4) The local suppliers being cut out is negligible to the point of irrelevance. Mom & Pop, with few exceptions, don't sell local goods, they sell exactly the same thing Walmart does, they're just worse at it.

    5) Again, it's by no means cut and dry, but it's certainly not a given that Walmart is bad for a community. There MAY be cases where the benefits don't outweigh the negatives, but that's the same with anything. There are few guaranteed win-win situations, and the fact Walmart isn't one of those isn't necessarily a strike against it.

    I added number to make it easier to reply.

    1) Yes there are... it is called unemployment.

    2) When walmart opens a new store they bring in out of town management. The people who owned the previous stores now will either be out of work or get a job at the walmart for significantly less than they made. Going from 60-70,000/year in that small town to say 30,000/year seem fair to you?

    3) When you sell BILLIONS of merchandise a month... You do not have to make as much per unit. 5% of a trillion $'s worth of inventory is still VASTLY greater than 20% of 1mil

    4) I suppose you are right... I mean when an entire towns economy is based upon something like a picture frame factory and the walmart shuts that down... thats a positive net gain still right?

    5) You are right it is not cut and dry... It clear as fucking crystal.

    1) I'm not even sure what this is supposed to rebut? They cause unemployment? If so, it's because the job was "unnecessary" and the benefit to the community as a whole outweighs the lose to one individual (though of course we need a social safety net to help these people out and get them back into productive work).

    2) There is no "fair" in economics the way you're trying to use the word. No one is entitled to hold a high paying job when they can't do enoguh work to be worth it. If the 30K manager of Walmart can provide what the community wants better than the 60K manager of a Mom & Pop, then it's "fair" to the community they not have to support the M&P managers dead weight.

    3) This, while certainly true, is irrelevant to the point. Both the profit leaving back to Walmart's national headquarters and the the community savings on goods are percentages of the same exact number (total sales at Walmart). The only way it's a net negative is if Walmart makes a greater profit than the savings they make their consumers.

    4) If the picture frame factor is "bad", as in it isn't competitive with the other picture frames available, then it is better for it to close. The ONLY thing supporting inefficient businesses does is enrich a small group of people at the expense of others when they aren't doing anything to earn that extra wealth.

    It's a bitch that certain communities are exclusviely based around business, and those businesses might be inefficient. I'd love to see some government intervention to try and create a soft landing and get people transitioned to jobs worth doing, but that isn't the country we live in, and that isn't Walmart's fault. Blame them for their flaws, but don't expect us to consider them the root of all evil (without proof at least).

    5) Nice. The fitting end to a lack of proof IS righteous triumph.

  • Irond WillIrond Will Dragonmaster Cambridge. MASuper Moderator, Moderator mod
    edited August 2007
    werehippy wrote: »
    Irond Will wrote: »
    But yeah I'm not arguing that Wal-Mart necessarily destroys the entire economy of all local communities. It does, however, subsume the native retail economies of local communities. Again, you might not think this is a big deal, since you, along with most Wal-Mart apologists and budding Libertarians don't much see the import of local retail capitalist classes.

    For christ sake, of course I must be an apologist and a libertarian (which is in and of itself a dirty, nasty thing) if I dare show you that reality doesn't conform to your political beliefs.

    No I don't think a local retail capitalist class is important when it isn't better than the alternative. There isn't some magical benefit that comes from a store being locally owned versus owned by a big mean company. You want to argue ANY of the points I made, I'll not only listen politely I'll enjoy the debate, because I happen to enjoy arguing economics. The fact you can only resort to "of course [Y] is better as anyone but a [bad thing X] just knows" is more a comment on the weakness of what you're trying to argue than some inherent flaw in my character or political leanings (which you got wrong, for what it's worth).

    As it happens, I don't much care for Walmart, but I do respect the fact they're better than the alternative. Kudos to them for beating the crap out of inefficient businesses.

    Like I said, you don't see the importance of local retail capitalist classes, and don't regard the fact that what profits might have originally stayed somewhat in the community are instead shipped out to HQ somewhere else. If you're going to champion efficiency as a sole metric to be maximized, you need to justify that this efficiency comes at the cost of things like local wages, local employment, local competition, the preservation of local capitalists and local suppliers.

    You have not demonstrated anywhere that "reality" fails to conform to "my political beliefs". You've simply asserted, over and over and without justification, that consumer prices and "efficiency" are somehow the only things we should concern ourselves with when it comes to capitalism in the US and world. I understand that ruthless maximization of "efficiency" is in vogue in certain schools of economics, but I think it's a reasonable question to ask what purpose it serves and at what cost.

    And that is what this thread is ultimately about.

    Wqdwp8l.png
  • madstork91madstork91 Registered User
    edited August 2007
    werehippy wrote: »
    The lose of small inefficient retail stores in favor of one larger more efficient one can only damage the economy if it was being propped up beforehand in some other way (as in the local population was accepting a lower standard of living to keep inefficient businesses functioning). and I'm not arguing Walmart can NEVER be bad, I'm saying it certainly isn't ALWAYS bad and it usually good.

    Maybe this place was some odd ball local pheonomena where the normal rules are distorted by something. Maybe the place was kept afloat by something else entirely. Maybe it was doomed to dry up regardless of what happened and Walmart either just happened to be there or exacerbated an already existing problem.

    The point is anecdotal evidence (which I'll freely admit I doubted existed at all, so nice find) doesn't actually constitute proof.


    As to the last bit, the trend from a goods to a service based economy is a whole other issue (one which not everyone agrees is a bad thing) and is in no way driven by Walmart. It's the way America has been heading for decades.

    The local oil company laid off 10 people in that town. (a small portion of the town). It was enough to scare people into saving every dollar they could regardless of if they were laid off or not.

    SIX Sigma is not an entirely great way of running a business. Boeing does this, they recently had an airplane crash. .00004% of effect still screws with peoples lives.

    I am a business student among other things. Every book lately has a section or chapter devoted to "the walmart phenomena" (one actually titled exactly that verbatim) and with the exception of one that i read that was only slightly bias against walmart, each of them states that the impact on small towns is not a good thing for the first few years. (few in their case meaning 10??? wtf? thats some kids entire childhood)

    The one thing all of these books agree on is that the trend to move to more and more of a service based economy is a dangerous and thus far bad thing. (ok so one book didn't say it... It pose a question for debate that was geared toward it being bad.)

    tg2po0.gif Tech reviews, another forum to talk in... w/e.
  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    There's also the fact that Wal-Mart policies have impact outside of the economic sphere. For instance, Wal-Mart demands that any CD it sells must be censored to their standard. More insidious was their company-wide policy to not sell emergency conraception, which took a court ruling to stop. (And even now, Wal-Mart openly supports "conscientious objection" by pharmacists.)

    So when Wal-Mart puts all the local pharmacies out of business, the impact isn't just that local business is impacted, but local womens' health.

    Wal-Mart is a publicly traded corporation, which means it functions amorally. The "contentious objection" and the censorship of its CDs is more of a reflection of the values of its customers than the moral beliefs of the firm.

    So, there's a bridge in Brooklyn I'm looking to unload. Interested?

    I don't buy CDs at Wal-Mart, specifically because they censor, and I know I'm not alone. In fact, choosing to censor probably hurts their profit margin. They also pulled America: The Book, which did very well in sales, on moral objections. In both of these cases, the company would have been better served by not playing the moral card.

    XBL: Nox Aeternum / PSN: NoxAeternum / NN:NoxAeternum
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  • Irond WillIrond Will Dragonmaster Cambridge. MASuper Moderator, Moderator mod
    edited August 2007
    Irond Will wrote: »
    Again, you might not think this is a big deal, since you, along with most Wal-Mart apologists and budding Libertarians don't much see the import of local retail capitalist classes.

    That is a gross oversimplification of werehippy's posts, and is emblematic of the inherent problems of the Wal-Mart opposition. Rather than debate on the rational virtues and villainies of the corporation, it reverts to this David-vs-Goliath story of megalithic antagonists coming to consume the innocent, moral small businesses. It has major cultural resonance, both as the aforementioned Christian metaphor but also as the classic American one of the underdog individual fighting against all odds. In this metaphor, the smaller force is always on the side of good, and the larger entity's intentions can never be described as benign.

    It's generally healthy to watch a giant with a more cautious eye than one would watch a snake. Both may be equally pernicious, but the destructive power of the giant. even inadvertently, is much greater than the snake's.

    And, no, that was not a gross oversimplification of werehippy's posts. His posts have really and honestly not engaged whether having a local competing capitalist class and local suppliers are a good thing for a local community, and have instead punted to consumer prices and "efficiency" as a sole criterion and without justification.

    Wqdwp8l.png
  • captmorgancaptmorgan Registered User
    edited August 2007
    madstork91 wrote: »
    Not a horrible idea... But then again they have centers like that already. They are called shopping centers/districts and "downtown" areas. I am sorry that you find it too difficult to talk the the shop next door after buying something at one place... Or perhaps it is the walk across the street???

    You are prob the type to wait 10 min for the closest parking spot and refuse to go in to a fast food place when the line is 10 cars long too...

    This is response may seem a lil harsh. But this mentality is exactly the problem that makes walmart successful and small business fail.

    Fair enough, so do you rally against internet shopping as well? From my personal experience that has hurt more locall retailers than a hundred walmarts could ever do.

    I`m at at a loss to understand the parking anolagy? I park at the first spot I see get my stuff and leave.
    Is your life so dull that you willing spends hours upon hours wondering around like a lost puppy? Personally I`d rather go play ball hockey but whatever.
    And yes actually I hate waiting in all forms of lines, if I want take out I call ahead on my way, pick it up when I arrive and leave.

  • The Muffin ManThe Muffin Man Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Malkor wrote: »
    I have a friend who's first job was at Wal-Mart. He paid his way through college with money from Wal-mart. He's now the manager for all the stores in either Delaware or Franklin county Ohio. Wal-Mart helped him make his life better than it would have been if he worked for a mom 'n pop store.

    Well, yeah...but so does a cure for the cancer. That doesn't mean CANCER made things better, but modern medical science.

    Wal-Mart didn't make your friends life better. Business opportunities and management positions did. Every company has these.
    Replace "Wal-Mart" with "Blockbuster" or "Stop and Shop".
    Everything up to here, minus the emotional spin, is exactly what SHOULD happen. If Walmart is better (in terms of providing what the customers want for less money) then it should replace the two other stores. If it's better than any other store CAN be, it should remain the only store serving that particular need.
    This is not how our economy works.

    The only reason the closest Walmart to me has not shut down nearby shops is because "nearby shops" is the fucking MALL. But if you look AROUND Walmart? There's been a good 5 or 6 stores directly around it, selling things Walmart does individually. None of them have last more than a year except Petsmart, and that's because they actually sell stuff Walmart DOESN'T

    Specialty kids store? Out of business. It didn't just sell toys, either. It sold things your kid would actually use to learn and grow: books, interactive toys, computer games, etc.
    Specialty sports shop? Again, out of business.
    Specialty Halloween store? Well this isn't Walmarts fault, right? I mean, Halloween's only a viable point of sales for a good 3-4 months...
    Oh but wait, they're out of business YEAR ROUND now.
    And these are just the three I remember

    Now, I'm not saying these 3 stores are the be-all end-all of facts that Walmart is taking businesses down. I'm simply saying that it's a bit odd that all three stores were going fine before the store was a Walmart.

    shamanhealingwave.jpgabilitypaladinshieldofv.png
  • werehippywerehippy Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Irond Will wrote: »
    Like I said, you don't see the importance of local retail capitalist classes, and don't regard the fact that what profits might have originally stayed somewhat in the community are instead shipped out to HQ somewhere else. If you're going to champion efficiency as a sole metric to be maximized, you need to justify that this efficiency comes at the cost of things like local wages, local employment, local competition, the preservation of local capitalists and local suppliers.

    You have not demonstrated anywhere that "reality" fails to conform to "my political beliefs". You've simply asserted, over and over and without justification, that consumer prices and "efficiency" are somehow the only things we should concern ourselves with when it comes to capitalism in the US and world. I understand that ruthless maximization of "efficiency" is in vogue in certain schools of economics, but I think it's a reasonable question to ask what purpose it serves and at what cost.

    And that is what this thread is ultimately about.

    No, and again, I don't see what the good of a local retail capitalist class is when you can't provide any benefit beyond the fact their profits stay local when (and note this part, it's coming around for the third time) that is outweighed by extra cost to the consumers.

    You want to increase the funds that stay in a community by keeping profits local? Feel free to find the flaw in my math. Explain to me exactly how the 5.94% of sales Walmart takes out (thanks to Mithrandir86 for the exact number) is greater than the savings Walmart provides to its customers versus Mom and Pops.

    The ONLY way Walmart is taking more money out of the community is if its profits exceed the savings it gives to it's customers. I'm at a lose as to what else to call it but ignoring reality in favor of belief when you see the sentence above over and over and all you get is I'm asserting without providing any reason. If you can't, or are unwilling to, address the point I've made here, then there's nothing else to talk about.


    edit: And, because you keep saying it, efficiency has nothing to do with THIS point. It certainly is why one company can be better than another, or specifically why small stores close when faced with larger, "better" competition, but whether any one entity (Walmart) is a drain or source of wealth in a community has nothing to do with efficiency. If you want to claim it's better to support inefficient (ie more costly) retailers in the face of more efficient (ie cheaper) retailers with something beyond the inherent good of local ownership, I'd love to have the discussion.

  • Mithrandir86Mithrandir86 Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    werehippy wrote: »
    4) If the picture frame factor is "bad", as in it isn't competitive with the other picture frames available, then it is better for it to close. The ONLY thing supporting inefficient businesses does is enrich a small group of people at the expense of others when they aren't doing anything to earn that extra wealth.

    I would like to bring forth a specific, local example - the price of sugar in the United States (due to protectionist policies) is 22.72 cents/pound, whereas the World price is 14.13 cents/pound.

    Spoiler:
  • madstork91madstork91 Registered User
    edited August 2007
    werehippy wrote: »

    1) I'm not even sure what this is supposed to rebut? They cause unemployment? If so, it's because the job was "unnecessary" and the benefit to the community as a whole outweighs the lose to one individual (though of course we need a social safety net to help these people out and get them back into productive work).

    2) There is no "fair" in economics the way you're trying to use the word. No one is entitled to hold a high paying job when they can't do enoguh work to be worth it. If the 30K manager of Walmart can provide what the community wants better than the 60K manager of a Mom & Pop, then it's "fair" to the community they not have to support the M&P managers dead weight.

    3) This, while certainly true, is irrelevant to the point. Both the profit leaving back to Walmart's national headquarters and the the community savings on goods are percentages of the same exact number (total sales at Walmart). The only way it's a net negative is if Walmart makes a greater profit than the savings they make their consumers.

    4) If the picture frame factor is "bad", as in it isn't competitive with the other picture frames available, then it is better for it to close. The ONLY thing supporting inefficient businesses does is enrich a small group of people at the expense of others when they aren't doing anything to earn that extra wealth.

    It's a bitch that certain communities are exclusviely based around business, and those businesses might be inefficient. I'd love to see some government intervention to try and create a soft landing and get people transitioned to jobs worth doing, but that isn't the country we live in, and that isn't Walmart's fault. Blame them for their flaws, but don't expect us to consider them the root of all evil (without proof at least).

    5) Nice. The fitting end to a lack of proof IS righteous triumph.

    1) was in reply to the "assumption that there are more people than there are jobs" comment. Re read your post and it would make sense.

    2) Re read my post... cause you missed the entire meaning of this. The point is that he is no longer a manager at all... but possibly a cashier, Who makes significantly less. It is true that no one making money is entitled to still make money, but when walmart moves in and makes it impossible for you to compete and make money... How the hell was he supposed to make any?

    3) is relevant... and if you do not feel so then you are ignorant to the problem and should quit before you make yourself seem like a fool. In reply to the comment, it is still negative because per item may save money but long term does not in several cases. This discounts the "saving money" because quality has dropped. I am losing Utility.

    4) How does a plant in some town in the midwest compete with a plant in malaysia? It doesnt. That can get into many debates. Bottom line, walmart chooses to buy from them. Yes that is good business. No it is not very US or rural/industrial community friendly.

    5) points 1-4 make it clear.

    tg2po0.gif Tech reviews, another forum to talk in... w/e.
  • benz0rsbenz0rs Registered User
    edited August 2007
    I agree, Wal-Mart has its issues. It's just more global than any other store, but every store, product, etc. has issues, too.

    I just entered this thread and the thing I see is that most of you are concerned with money issues. Employment payment, prices of goods, competitive pricing that takes other stores out of business. Money money money.

    Money is the problem with society. If we can get it for cheaper, we'll get it. But the morality question for me is where did the material come from? How far did it travel? Where and how was it made?

    40% of America's imports come from the Long Beach and Los Angeles ports (and I live right in between). Ever f'ing thing is made in China nowadays. My iPod, my Zune, my HP laptop, my mouse, phone, batteries, EVERYTHING. And this is major pollution for us through the unregulated foreign-flagged cargo ships (EPA can't do anything about it), the trucks, the trains, etc. So in the end, we're giving up our health for cheap goods. We're destroying the earth and our bodies so we save a buck or two.

    Now I'm as guilty because, well, I own all these Made in China goods (my brand new Zune, my laptop, etc.) and well you either ride with society and live comfortably OR you don't and live uncomfortably, but maybe make a difference.

    But if you think about it, we all live for comfort, don't we? I know I do.

  • Mithrandir86Mithrandir86 Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    There's also the fact that Wal-Mart policies have impact outside of the economic sphere. For instance, Wal-Mart demands that any CD it sells must be censored to their standard. More insidious was their company-wide policy to not sell emergency conraception, which took a court ruling to stop. (And even now, Wal-Mart openly supports "conscientious objection" by pharmacists.)

    So when Wal-Mart puts all the local pharmacies out of business, the impact isn't just that local business is impacted, but local womens' health.

    Wal-Mart is a publicly traded corporation, which means it functions amorally. The "contentious objection" and the censorship of its CDs is more of a reflection of the values of its customers than the moral beliefs of the firm.

    So, there's a bridge in Brooklyn I'm looking to unload. Interested?

    I don't buy CDs at Wal-Mart, specifically because they censor, and I know I'm not alone. In fact, choosing to censor probably hurts their profit margin. They also pulled America: The Book, which did very well in sales, on moral objections. In both of these cases, the company would have been better served by not playing the moral card.

    I would disagree completely with that assertion. Wal-Mart perceives its customers to be suburban, middle-class, white, and Christian. Their core customer base is extremely sensitive to forays that skirt their traditional values.

    It makes these moral choices because they believe it will translate into profit, not for any other reason.

    Wal-Mart would be smart to rebrand itself in more urban, cosmopolitan areas, and would greatly profit from selling different products to different markets. But, on the same side, Wal-Mart is incredibly efficient in an industry that is not typically known for efficiency. In fact, I've seen it argued that most of the productivity gains in the United States are driven purely by Wal-Mart and its imitators.

    Spoiler:
  • madstork91madstork91 Registered User
    edited August 2007
    captmorgan wrote: »
    madstork91 wrote: »
    Not a horrible idea... But then again they have centers like that already. They are called shopping centers/districts and "downtown" areas. I am sorry that you find it too difficult to talk the the shop next door after buying something at one place... Or perhaps it is the walk across the street???

    You are prob the type to wait 10 min for the closest parking spot and refuse to go in to a fast food place when the line is 10 cars long too...

    This is response may seem a lil harsh. But this mentality is exactly the problem that makes walmart successful and small business fail.

    Fair enough, so do you rally against internet shopping as well? From my personal experience that has hurt more locall retailers than a hundred walmarts could ever do.

    I`m at at a loss to understand the parking anolagy? I park at the first spot I see get my stuff and leave.
    Is your life so dull that you willing spends hours upon hours wondering around like a lost puppy? Personally I`d rather go play ball hockey but whatever.
    And yes actually I hate waiting in all forms of lines, if I want take out I call ahead on my way, pick it up when I arrive and leave.

    Some people do, do all of those things i mentioned. It was an attack on tht mentality.

    I do not do those things.

    As for the internet shopping... I cant buy a Trigun DVD at the local video store. I cannot buy a lot of things even at walmart. The internet provides these things. Really if it hurt anyone it would be the coastal importers... But isnt that who I am ordering from? The Internet impack on local stores is still debatable and is still being researched for an answer as to the exact impact.

    tg2po0.gif Tech reviews, another forum to talk in... w/e.
  • IreneDAdlerIreneDAdler Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    You know, I was really surprised to hear people say that Wal-Mart is so huge and having such big impacts on the economy and whatever. I've been to Wal-mart like 3 times in my life, because I was brought up on Target. I haven't done any exhaustive price comparisons but it seems like the prices are comparable, and the quality of product as well. So if people hate Wal-mart so much, why don't they go shop at Target? I suppose Target isn't as wide-spread as Wal-mart, and so people in certain areas have no choice, but it seems like if Wal-mart really was that bad, then they could be easily ousted because, as people have mentioned, consumers are free to shop wherever they like in a free-market economy.

    As for the change being good thing, it's obviously not always true, but sometimes a short-term downturn could just be the transitional effects to a long-term benefit. That is to say, maybe this hypothetical rural economy that Wal-mart is defacing is a local maximum (sorry for the math term, it's the most illustrative I could thing of), and with Wal-mart moving in, people lose their jobs and you move down the utility curve, but after people adapt to the new economic model, they could very well achieve a new local maximum that is higher utility than the previous state.

    Anyway, I'm one of those high-falutin liberals that believe globalization is a good thing. In the simplest case, protectionist/isolationist policies tend to create a sub-optimal equilibrium. We're definitely suffering growing pains into a global economy, what with late-in-life job transitions and whatnot. But there are cultural benefits to globalization that we can see right now, because human interaction on a global scale more often than not enriches local cultures (absent any imperialist tendencies). Moving away from Wal-mart for a second, ClearChannel is another one of those oft-despised conglomerates that are accused of killing off local programming; however, their size also enables more people to listen to a wider variety of programming than previously available. I think that the whole "Small Town, USA" thing is a bit romanticized and vastly overrated.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
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