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The Wal-Mart debate thread

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Posts

  • werehippywerehippy Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Jacobkosh wrote: »
    Werehippy, for someone who likes to call people out for not knowing about economics, has a bizarre and very un-economic fixation on "lower prices." Screw prices. Prices are an irrelevancy. Wal-Mart does not save anyone money. I covered this. They "save" money by denying it to their suppliers and the people they employ, and if you follow the chain long enough you find that they ultimately produce no net gain for the consumer. Dig: paying 90 cents for something when I make nine dollars an hour and paying a dollar for something when I make ten an hour are the same thing.

    There's no "efficiency" involved here. Wal-Mart has not figured out a cheaper, faster way to manufacture microwave ovens. They're just buying in bulk. This does not constitute a productivity increase, and as everyone knows, productivity is the real engine of economic growth.

    I seem to have timed my wandering back in pretty well.

    As to this, if I'm guilty of anything it's getting too caught up in the economic details and missing the larger picture of what people are driving at (see irond will and my support of compensating for externalities supported by all of a half dozen pages).

    As to this, you really couldn't be more wrong. I'm not saying this smuggly, or to bitch you out, you simply have this completely wrong.

    Walmart, and any retail store, is by definition a middle man. they connect a consumer and a producer. By getting equivalent labor (the work that goes into selling the good, not the specific work) for a cheaper price and by getting the same goods for a cheaper price they are absolutely "saving people money". Between the producer and the consumer there is least money wasted in transaction costs. That's really the only measure of productivity possible for a retailer: How much it costs to sell the same volume of product. Productivity isn't only a measure of production

    "Taking the money out of the supplier/labors" hide is the entire point, as long as the supplier makes a profit and there is labor willing to do the work at that wage.

  • IncenjucarIncenjucar QA Tester -> Game Producer Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited August 2007
    It doesn't really deserve the vocal abuse it gets.

    The vocal abuse it gets is a matter of 1) it's gi-fricking-normous and 2) illegal and unethical practices.

    Otherwise it's not remarkable.

    freefallagentad_zps635a83ed.png
  • Mithrandir86Mithrandir86 Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Jacobkosh wrote: »
    Oh man, I'm so glad I posted just before you got in.

    Here's the thing: you are free to believe what you want. But in your posts you keep copping this attitude like you've got a monopoly on rationality and everyone who doesn't like Wal-Mart feels that way because of "emotion." That's dishonest. There are plenty of economists, like most of my professors, who take a dim view of the company - just like there are plenty that don't - but presenting it as a settled question and sadly shaking your head at the rabble is smug-arsed nonsense.

    EDIT:
    Well, by that reasoning all Wal-Mart would have to do is offer the same product at 89 cents and you're a winner overall. I think that is what Werehippy is arguing.

    That one cent is still coming out of a supplier's hide. Which is to say, a supplier who might need to buy something from your company. The net difference to the overall economy is zero.

    The increase in efficiency lies in the fact that it costs less, overall, in real terms, to deliver the product than it did before. Regardless of the allocation of profits.

    I suppose that you could argue that the only way it offers lowers prices is because it took it from somewhere else using its market power, but then it would be impossible to account for its prior growth.

    Spoiler:
  • Mithrandir86Mithrandir86 Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    It doesn't really deserve the vocal abuse it gets.

    The vocal abuse it gets is a matter of 1) it's gi-fricking-normous and 2) illegal and unethical practices.

    Otherwise it's not remarkable.

    I don't think we should get angry at something because it is big, and I don't think that we should get angry at the company because of illegal or unethical practices - I think we should get angry at the Government for not enforcing laws and regulations. Because, ultimately, the company is a private entity and is not democratic. The Government is though.

    Spoiler:
  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Super Moderator, Moderator mod
    edited August 2007
    It doesn't really deserve the vocal abuse it gets.

    Sure it does. See, this is what I'm talking about. You're leaping to the defense of this company as if it's somehow shocking and horrible that the people it puts out of business don't like it. Now, you're free to think that it's ultimately "for their own good", but seriously, who's being rational here? Are you really surprised that people don't like being run out of their own businesses, or seeing their towns turned into identikit strip malls? It's like you're acting out in mime fashion one of the biggest arguments against "classical liberal" economics, namely that they keep getting bushwacked by actual, practical human psychology.

    As for the rest of it - big companies will always try to get away with more than the law allows. That's a fact of life. I don't know if Wal-Mart treats its employees any worse than any other company of its size, but when it does engage in dodgy practices - as it has been documented to in the past - it deserves the opprobrium just like anyone else would get. It's not a privileged enterprise.

  • madstork91madstork91 Registered User
    edited August 2007
    I suppose that you could argue that the only way it offers lowers prices is because it took it from somewhere else using its market power, but then it would be impossible to account for its prior growth.

    In 1962, Walton opened the first Wal-Mart store, Wal-Mart Discount City and within five years the company expanded to 24 stores across the state of Arkansas and reached $12.6 million in sales. In 1968, it opened its first stores outside Arkansas, in Sikeston, Missouri and Claremore, Oklahoma.[4]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wal-Mart

    I for one would like to know where the start up capital for 24 stores in 5 years came from.

    I tried to look it up but I have no clue. It says that he founded the first store in 1962... and within 5 years had 24 stores. I know he had to have had money saved up from his previous business venture but enough to open a new store of his own, found his own company, and have 24 stores in 5 years?

    There is no mention of where the money came from.

    tg2po0.gif Tech reviews, another forum to talk in... w/e.
  • IncenjucarIncenjucar QA Tester -> Game Producer Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited August 2007
    I don't think we should get angry at something because it is big,

    Bigger companies have bigger effects and influence future companies.

    Deal with the gator before you deal with the flea.
    and I don't think that we should get angry at the company because of illegal or unethical practices

    I cannot begin to fathom how you can come to this conclusion.

    Cannot even -begin-.
    - I think we should get angry at the Government for not enforcing laws and regulations.

    Certainly. But they're doing illegal and unethical things too, with the same kinds of motives as the companies. A government is only so different from a corporation.
    Because, ultimately, the company is a private entity and is not democratic.

    Wal*Mart isn't publicly traded yet?

    Voting with your wallet won't change policy if done in large enough numbers?
    The Government is though.

    In theory.

    freefallagentad_zps635a83ed.png
  • madstork91madstork91 Registered User
    edited August 2007
    Nvm... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Wal-Mart

    He opened 11 5&dime stores as a franchise and then left the franchise to start his own.

    He was a regular scrooge who has been made into a man who "passed on the savings"

    Edit:

    To clarify:

    They have been doing this small town invasion thing since before the company was even called Walmart. Shutting down mom and pop stores by getting getting lower prices from their suppliers.

    See... Arkansas is a very peculiar state. By the time they closed down just about every small town mom and pop place in state they had enough to go to other states.

    tg2po0.gif Tech reviews, another forum to talk in... w/e.
  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Super Moderator, Moderator mod
    edited August 2007
    werehippy wrote: »
    Walmart, and any retail store, is by definition a middle man. they connect a consumer and a producer. By getting equivalent labor (the work that goes into selling the good, not the specific work) for a cheaper price and by getting the same goods for a cheaper price they are absolutely "saving people money". Between the producer and the consumer there is least money wasted in transaction costs. That's really the only measure of productivity possible for a retailer: How much it costs to sell the same volume of product. Productivity isn't only a measure of production

    "Taking the money out of the supplier/labors" hide is the entire point, as long as the supplier makes a profit and there is labor willing to do the work at that wage.

    You're getting hung up on the "savings" at the point of sale and still not engaging with the fact that the supplier is a consumer too. If Jean in Anytown, USA is paying ten cents less for her kitty litter then some or all of that savings (I'm betting closer to "all", since I am unconvinced that an acre-sized, 24-hour heated and cooled megastore constitutes more efficient retail practice - it's not as if Mom and Pop were paying their employees in gold bricks) is coming at the expense of Bob in Othertown, USA. The money that you're calling "wasted in transaction costs" doesn't disappear; it would have been earned, and spent, and will find its way back to Jean or someone like her.

    The net difference to the overall economy from when mom and pop ruled the earth is zero, or close enough (I will cheerfully concede that being open for business 24 hours may very well lend a boost). The real change is that profits are now centralized. If all the Moms and Pops decided to start sending their money to Arkansas the effect would be roughly the same.

  • Mithrandir86Mithrandir86 Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Jacobkosh wrote: »
    It doesn't really deserve the vocal abuse it gets.

    Sure it does. See, this is what I'm talking about. You're leaping to the defense of this company as if it's somehow shocking and horrible that the people it puts out of business don't like it. Now, you're free to think that it's ultimately "for their own good", but seriously, who's being rational here? Are you really surprised that people don't like being run out of their own businesses, or seeing their towns turned into identikit strip malls? It's like you're acting out in mime fashion one of the biggest arguments against "classical liberal" economics, namely that they keep getting bushwacked by actual, practical human psychology.

    Fuck yeah, if I lost my job because of Wal-Mart, you better believe I'd be pissed. I think that everyone who is adversely affected should be extremely vocal, so those that are better off because of it don't forget about them. And I think that Union members should oppose trade liberalization because it won't help them. Everyone should be vocal for what would be better for them, right now.

    What I find distressing is when people who will be better off because of a new Wal-Mart are told that they won't be. I really don't see how it benefits the urban poor, who pay twice as much for everything, to not have access to a Wal-Mart. I get really, really mad when I see the conditions that the worst off have to live in, and on top of that their purchasing power is cut by altruistic outsiders.

    Spoiler:
  • werehippywerehippy Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Jacobkosh wrote: »
    werehippy wrote: »
    Walmart, and any retail store, is by definition a middle man. they connect a consumer and a producer. By getting equivalent labor (the work that goes into selling the good, not the specific work) for a cheaper price and by getting the same goods for a cheaper price they are absolutely "saving people money". Between the producer and the consumer there is least money wasted in transaction costs. That's really the only measure of productivity possible for a retailer: How much it costs to sell the same volume of product. Productivity isn't only a measure of production

    "Taking the money out of the supplier/labors" hide is the entire point, as long as the supplier makes a profit and there is labor willing to do the work at that wage.

    You're getting hung up on the "savings" at the point of sale and still not engaging with the fact that the supplier is a consumer too. If Jean in Anytown, USA is paying ten cents less for her kitty litter then some or all of that savings (I'm betting closer to "all", since I am unconvinced that an acre-sized, 24-hour heated and cooled megastore constitutes more efficient retail practice - it's not as if Mom and Pop were paying their employees in gold bricks) is coming at the expense of Bob in Othertown, USA. The money that you're calling "wasted in transaction costs" doesn't disappear; it would have been earned, and spent, and will find its way back to Jean or someone like her.

    The net difference to the overall economy from when mom and pop ruled the earth is zero, or close enough (I will cheerfully concede that being open for business 24 hours may very well lend a boost). The real change is that profits are now centralized. If all the Moms and Pops decided to start sending their money to Arkansas the effect would be roughly the same.

    First, Jean in Anytown is not only saving her 10 cents (which Bob in Othertown is losing) she's giving them some to Craig in Thirdtown who made the same exact thing as Bob for less and she's giving the rest to Dave in Fourthtown. The same amount of resources is spread farther, creating economic growth. The system is making Jean, Craig, and Dave richer while Bob is stopped from doing something he wasn't good (enough) at. And, while there'll be a period where Bob is worse off, it's a given (since we're experiencing full employment and have been there or near there for an extremely long time) that in time he'll be able to find more gainful employment, leaving the whole even better off.

    The net difference is emphatically NOT zero. It's really not a matter of debate, or ambiguity. Now, if you want to argue this gain is offset by other more subjective incidentals, you certainly can, but this part of the discussion really isn't debatable.

  • Mithrandir86Mithrandir86 Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    I don't think we should get angry at something because it is big,

    Bigger companies have bigger effects and influence future companies.

    Deal with the gator before you deal with the flea.

    Well, let's not get angry at something PURELY because its big. That's what I meant.
    and I don't think that we should get angry at the company because of illegal or unethical practices

    I cannot begin to fathom how you can come to this conclusion.

    Cannot even -begin-.

    You probably should have bolded the unethical. Because they exist regardless of the presence of the law. Something things are legal, yet are unethical; like if I advise a client to purchase the stock of a company that my buddy owns without informing the client of my relationship. Even if I don't receive a kickback.

    Some things are illegal that are certainly not morally reprehensible. Like marijuana.

    Anyways, if I found out someone was stealing from the company - I would be pissed at the person, sure. Short of vigilantism I couldn't do anything about it. But I would be more pissed if the police/management did nothing about it after I told them.

    Because, ultimately, the company is a private entity and is not democratic.

    Wal*Mart isn't publicly traded yet?

    Voting with your wallet won't change policy if done in large enough numbers?

    Yeah, but you have to be a shareholder. In other words, you have to own a part of it. People can vote in the United States without having any American assets.
    The Government is though.

    In theory.

    It's not a bad theory.

    Spoiler:
  • madstork91madstork91 Registered User
    edited August 2007
    http://www.jibjab.com/originals/big_box_mart

    If you don't watch it... you really don't deserve to argue against the fact that walmart is bad.

    tg2po0.gif Tech reviews, another forum to talk in... w/e.
  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Super Moderator, Moderator mod
    edited August 2007
    I should clarify that I'm not against sellers using their buying power to bid down prices. That's perfectly natural and commendable. What I'm arguing is that that doesn't actually constitute a "savings" to the overall economy, and it's certainly not a magic panacea.

    What I'm mainly suspicious of is the capital-concentration effect. I don't think one guy in Arkansas making $10 million is better than ten guys in ten communities making $1 million apiece, and I think it may very well be worse. For a couple reasons: the marginal propensity to consume decreases with income, so Mr. Ten Million might spend maybe half his income, whereas all the other dudes might be spending seven or eight hundred thousand of theirs. That's money velocity removed from the economy. Secondly, as I said in my original post, business owners have a stake in their surroundings that mere employees don't, and this translates to real effects in both their communities and the nation at large. We know for a fact that a large middle class is a politically stabilizing, calming influence - their mere existence serves as "infrastructure" that's no less vital to business than roads and contract law. Moving away from small business ownership and entrepreneurship to an economy of employees toiling for distant masters erodes that stability.

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

    And here lies the problem with your argument - you take an assertion and treat it as the gospel truth. So when we break this point down, the rest of your argument tumbles around you.

    And in response, allow me to introduce you to Chicago school economics. When one person is exchanging some good/service for a higher price than is necessary (given costs and an acceptable profit) when another entity could provide the same good/service at a lower price, meaning the community as a whole is spending more on this one good/service than and less on others than they "should" it's a bad thing.

    It's really a fundamental idea, though when people get emotional they tend to lose sight of it.

    Fixed. As much as he may have thought it so, Friedman was not the beginning and end of economic theory.

    Just caught this, and while it's tangential, it's really pretty far off base. The idea that efficiency, barring other negative factors is good is pretty universal. The distinction comes in as what you define as other factors, and for what I was rebutting you don't need to go nearly as far as saying that markets are the sole force of good and should never be interfered with. You may feel Walmart crosses the line of what is or is not acceptable, but I was rebutting the more fundamental idea.

    I've already copped to it, but I'll repeat that I do tend to get stuck on the economic fact (efficiency is good) when people butcher it, as opposed to what people are trying to say (Walmart illegally squeezes efficiency out of its operation). The first is simply wrong and is where I get stuck, while the second is debatable (and I'm decidely unconvinced on it).

    As far as my personal beliefs, since I'm already rambling, I'm pretty far from a free market, laissez faire capitalist. The market needs to be controlled in some cases, people are stupid and need to be protected to some extent from themselves, and a social safety net is good. The problem is all that isn't to say the free market is bad, or that we should intervene unless we have real evidence what we're trying to do is better than what the market has done.

  • corcorigancorcorigan Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    In the UK, Wal-Mart (under the guise of the chain 'Asda') tried to get the monopoly commission to investigate Tesco, their biggest competitor. Oh, the giggles.

    Ad Astra Per Aspera
  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Super Moderator, Moderator mod
    edited August 2007
    werehippy wrote: »
    First, Jean in Anytown is not only saving her 10 cents (which Bob in Othertown is losing) she's giving them some to Craig in Thirdtown who made the same exact thing as Bob for less and she's giving the rest to Dave in Fourthtown.

    You're making the assumption that Jean has the same amount of money to spend regardless. If she works for a business that depends for some of its income on Bob, Dave, or Craig, that isn't going to be true.
    The net difference is emphatically NOT zero. It's really not a matter of debate, or ambiguity.

    :facepalms: It absolutely is a matter of debate, because there is a debate going on about it right now. Not here, but among people who have considerably more reading in the subject than you. Like I said to Mithrandir, your presenting it as a settled question is the opposite of honest.

  • werehippywerehippy Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Jacobkosh wrote: »
    I should clarify that I'm not against sellers using their buying power to bid down prices. That's perfectly natural and commendable. What I'm arguing is that that doesn't actually constitute a "savings" to the overall economy, and it's certainly not a magic panacea.

    What I'm mainly suspicious of is the capital-concentration effect. I don't think one guy in Arkansas making $10 million is better than ten guys in ten communities making $1 million apiece, and I think it may very well be worse. For a couple reasons: the marginal propensity to consume decreases with income, so Mr. Ten Million might spend maybe half his income, whereas all the other dudes might be spending seven or eight hundred thousand of theirs. That's money velocity removed from the economy. Secondly, as I said in my original post, business owners have a stake in their surroundings that mere employees don't, and this translates to real effects in both their communities and the nation at large. We know for a fact that a large middle class is a politically stabilizing, calming influence - their mere existence serves as "infrastructure" that's no less vital to business than roads and contract law. Moving away from small business ownership and entrepreneurship to an economy of employees toiling for distant masters erodes that stability.

    The things I think a lot of people miss (and I'm dealing purely with the concentration part here, the other factors fall under externalities and are sadly more subjective than debatable) is you're focusing only on the one side of the equation, the corporate profit. While it's true 10 people with $1 million is better than 1 person with $10 million, all other things being equal, that isn't the case here. It's 1 person with $10 million and 100,000 people with $100. Injections of cash into the lowest levels of the economy are significantly better are creating economic growth and overall prosperity.

    All this is leaving aside the fact that this whole cycle is fantastic for the third world where production is moving. It's one of the few things that actually doing anything to help the vast swathes of the humanity that don't live in the first world.

  • Mithrandir86Mithrandir86 Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Jacobkosh wrote: »
    I should clarify that I'm not against sellers using their buying power to bid down prices. That's perfectly natural and commendable. What I'm arguing is that that doesn't actually constitute a "savings" to the overall economy, and it's certainly not a magic panacea.

    What I'm mainly suspicious of is the capital-concentration effect. I don't think one guy in Arkansas making $10 million is better than ten guys in ten communities making $1 million apiece, and I think it may very well be worse. For a couple reasons: the marginal propensity to consume decreases with income, so Mr. Ten Million might spend maybe half his income, whereas all the other dudes might be spending seven or eight hundred thousand of theirs. That's money velocity removed from the economy. Secondly, as I said in my original post, business owners have a stake in their surroundings that mere employees don't, and this translates to real effects in both their communities and the nation at large. We know for a fact that a large middle class is a politically stabilizing, calming influence - their mere existence serves as "infrastructure" that's no less vital to business than roads and contract law. Moving away from small business ownership and entrepreneurship to an economy of employees toiling for distant masters erodes that stability.

    I don't think that Wal-Mart has an effect on small businesses or entrepreneurship. I've certainly found, from my personal experience, that employment from small businesses in the United States is higher than other OCED countries, historically and presently. (I don't have the numbers; and if I'm wrong I apologize). It seems that whenever I travel (Europe and Canada) everyone either works for the Government or a large conglomerate.

    I'm definitely suspicious of power-concentration. All the time. But until the public sector stops accounting for 50% of spending, I'll be wary of the Government before I'm worried about Bill Gates or the Waltons.

    Wealthy individuals do spend a less % of their income on consumption - this is true. But they don't just throw that money in a mattress. They invest it (though sometimes in foreign firms). Private equity in the United States is booming.

    That having been said, this new richest man, whose name I can't recall, frightens me. He controls far too much of a % of Mexico's GDP than should ever happen to private individual.

    Spoiler:
  • werehippywerehippy Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Jacobkosh wrote: »
    werehippy wrote: »
    First, Jean in Anytown is not only saving her 10 cents (which Bob in Othertown is losing) she's giving them some to Craig in Thirdtown who made the same exact thing as Bob for less and she's giving the rest to Dave in Fourthtown.

    You're making the assumption that Jean has the same amount of money to spend regardless. If she works for a business that depends for some of its income on Bob, Dave, or Craig, that isn't going to be true.

    If she depends on Bob (since Dave and Craig are "winning" she comes out ahead if she counts on them) to generate her income, then in our increasingly silly example she's not a Jean, she's a Bob. That doesn't change the fact that in anything but the most rare, inbreed (for lack of a better word) economies the Jeans, Craigs, and Daves will outnumber Bob by large margin.
    The net difference is emphatically NOT zero. It's really not a matter of debate, or ambiguity.

    :facepalms: It absolutely is a matter of debate, because there is a debate going on about it right now. Not here, but among people who have considerably more reading in the subject than you. Like I said to Mithrandir, your presenting it as a settled question is the opposite of honest.

    I'm admittedly not an expert on everything going on in modern economics, I've yet to hear anything substantive to say Walmart's legitimate business model (economies of scale, solid negotiating and operations, etc) is inherently bad, as opposed to their illegal actions or shadier dealings, which are certainly undesirable.

    If someone wants to actually put something forward I legitimately would like to see it simply because I'd like to learn I don't know.

  • IncenjucarIncenjucar QA Tester -> Game Producer Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited August 2007
    You probably should have bolded the unethical.

    Not really. Ethics are a much more debatable thing than legality. Laws, however, are written down on paper and official until made otherwise, so they are, at least so far as enforcement goes, not up for debate. So there is every reason to be upset that someone, a company, is breaking the law and therefor engaging in criminal activity.
    Because they exist regardless of the presence of the law. Something things are legal, yet are unethical; like if I advise a client to purchase the stock of a company that my buddy owns without informing the client of my relationship. Even if I don't receive a kickback.

    Yes. However, laws are not up for individual company debate and opinion.
    Some things are illegal that are certainly not morally reprehensible. Like marijuana.

    These are laws that should be changed/removed. A different topic, however.
    Anyways, if I found out someone was stealing from the company - I would be pissed at the person, sure.

    Right.

    Short of vigilantism I couldn't do anything about it.

    There are legal ways to hurt a company. Several of them.
    But I would be more pissed if the police/management did nothing about it after I told them.

    There are legal ways to hurt the police/management. Several of them.

    They all just require effort.
    Yeah, but you have to be a shareholder. In other words, you have to own a part of it. People can vote in the United States without having any American assets.

    Shareholders are often publically-known, and potentially influencable.

    Voting with your wallet also still works.
    It's not a bad theory.

    lol Electoral College lol :P

    But back to the topic at hand. :P

    freefallagentad_zps635a83ed.png
  • DukiDuki Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Kalkino wrote: »
    Duki wrote: »
    Malkor wrote: »
    I think in England they have little stickers showing how far any goods needed to travel to get to your store. That's a damn good idea.

    In theory, but a lot of the time it's just used to fuck non-EU trading partners out of exporting more goods to England.

    "Oh, you're from New Zealand? Oh my, that's much to far away sir, the transport tanker must be destroying the environment. I'm sorry we can only by this much beef from you now. Quotas? What quotas? No quotas here, free trade, free trade!"

    Never mind the fact that the big boat that transports the meat emits around the same amount of gas as two guys taking a shit, they just want to be protectionist cunts.

    Yes, I'm fucking bitter.


    Speaking of which, a scientist recently won an award for refuting the food miles argument, so far as it related to NZ/Britain.

    Hm, thanks for that.

  • ege02ege02 __BANNED USERS
    edited September 2007
    madstork91 wrote:
    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.

    I don't know where you learned your geography but this is certainly wrong.

    If what you suggested was correct, i.e. if this trend was cyclical and people eventually ended up coming back to rural communities after getting burned out in the big city, we wouldn't be seeing a steady decrease in rural population and a steady increase in the big city population over the past century or so.

    People who get burned out and permanently more back to rural towns are very few in number. For most big city people, the only reason they go back is for temporary stuff, like vacation, or visiting relatives, etc.

    Medopine wrote: »
    Fuck that woman going "oh god oh no!!"

    It's nature, bitch
  • Mr BubblesMr Bubbles David Koresh Superstar Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    corcorigan wrote: »
    In the UK, Wal-Mart (under the guise of the chain 'Asda') tried to get the monopoly commission to investigate Tesco, their biggest competitor. Oh, the giggles.

    I must confess I've never really seen an Asda anywhere near me at all. Is WalMart just not interested in conquering Britain too?

  • electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    werehippy wrote: »
    The net difference is emphatically NOT zero. It's really not a matter of debate, or ambiguity.
    :facepalms: It absolutely is a matter of debate, because there is a debate going on about it right now. Not here, but among people who have considerably more reading in the subject than you. Like I said to Mithrandir, your presenting it as a settled question is the opposite of honest.
    I'm admittedly not an expert on everything going on in modern economics, I've yet to hear anything substantive to say Walmart's legitimate business model (economies of scale, solid negotiating and operations, etc) is inherently bad, as opposed to their illegal actions or shadier dealings, which are certainly undesirable.
    Would I be right in summarizing your position as "I'm not naive enough to believe Walmart as Walmart is the actual problem, and I think you fuckers should be complaining about the lax government regulation and environmental laws that both enable it to get away with some of the things it does and enable some of the (nominally) stupid things that are possible because it is retarded to think that if Walmart wasn't there someone else wouldn't be if the situation was at all beneficial, because in a large enough population there's pretty much always going to be at least one jerk."

    EDIT: As you might guess this is my position.

  • Mithrandir86Mithrandir86 Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    werehippy wrote: »
    The net difference is emphatically NOT zero. It's really not a matter of debate, or ambiguity.
    :facepalms: It absolutely is a matter of debate, because there is a debate going on about it right now. Not here, but among people who have considerably more reading in the subject than you. Like I said to Mithrandir, your presenting it as a settled question is the opposite of honest.
    I'm admittedly not an expert on everything going on in modern economics, I've yet to hear anything substantive to say Walmart's legitimate business model (economies of scale, solid negotiating and operations, etc) is inherently bad, as opposed to their illegal actions or shadier dealings, which are certainly undesirable.
    Would I be right in summarizing your position as "I'm not naive enough to believe Walmart as Walmart is the actual problem, and I think you fuckers should be complaining about the lax government regulation and environmental laws that both enable it to get away with some of the things it does and enable some of the (nominally) stupid things that are possible because it is retarded to think that if Walmart wasn't there someone else wouldn't be if the situation was at all beneficial, because in a large enough population there's pretty much always going to be at least one jerk."

    EDIT: As you might guess this is my position.

    He is arguing, I believe, that Wal-Mart depresses wages and supplier income at least as much as it saves consumers, so the net effect of Wal-Mart is at best zero.

    (EDIT: I disagree with this, as it does not account for Wal-Mart's growth. The arguement would have some merit if Wal-Mart was always this big, because it could abuse its oligopsony power - but (!) it was not always this large.)

    Spoiler:
  • ShintoShinto __BANNED USERS
    edited September 2007
    I think the studies show that there is some relationship between Walmart market share in an area and higher medicaid enrollment. Something like for every 2% Walmart, 1% growth medicaid. Seems like a substantial externality.

  • werehippywerehippy Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    werehippy wrote: »
    The net difference is emphatically NOT zero. It's really not a matter of debate, or ambiguity.
    :facepalms: It absolutely is a matter of debate, because there is a debate going on about it right now. Not here, but among people who have considerably more reading in the subject than you. Like I said to Mithrandir, your presenting it as a settled question is the opposite of honest.
    I'm admittedly not an expert on everything going on in modern economics, I've yet to hear anything substantive to say Walmart's legitimate business model (economies of scale, solid negotiating and operations, etc) is inherently bad, as opposed to their illegal actions or shadier dealings, which are certainly undesirable.
    Would I be right in summarizing your position as "I'm not naive enough to believe Walmart as Walmart is the actual problem, and I think you fuckers should be complaining about the lax government regulation and environmental laws that both enable it to get away with some of the things it does and enable some of the (nominally) stupid things that are possible because it is retarded to think that if Walmart wasn't there someone else wouldn't be if the situation was at all beneficial, because in a large enough population there's pretty much always going to be at least one jerk."

    EDIT: As you might guess this is my position.

    He is arguing, I believe, that Wal-Mart depresses wages and supplier income almost certainly less than it saves consumers, so the net effect of Wal-Mart is at positive if we ignore externalities which society shouldn't but Walmart should.

    Basically, Walmart (given it acts legally) is the best we can hope for given the current economic system. Their getting the most out of the resources they consume and transfer a significant amount of wealth from inefficient (and unfortunately often domestic) producers to consumers, which is good.

    I'd love to see society enforce the costs of externalities on producers and consumers, and a better safety net to smooth the transition from the close of inefficient businesses to the creation of new efficient work, but given we don't have those and aren't likely to anytime soon, Walmart is fine assuming it plays by the rules we do have.

  • werehippywerehippy Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    Shinto wrote: »
    I think the studies show that there is some relationship between Walmart market share in an area and higher medicaid enrollment. Something like for every 2% Walmart, 1% growth medicaid. Seems like a substantial externality.

    That's actually a great paper, though it's quoted out of context a lot. Walmart raises the cost to programs like medicaid exactly as much as you'd expect any company that employs low paid workers to. Again, the theme being it's not great, but it's not worse than anything else and there are benefits.

  • ShintoShinto __BANNED USERS
    edited September 2007
    werehippy wrote: »
    Shinto wrote: »
    I think the studies show that there is some relationship between Walmart market share in an area and higher medicaid enrollment. Something like for every 2% Walmart, 1% growth medicaid. Seems like a substantial externality.

    That's actually a great paper, though it's quoted out of context a lot. Walmart raises the cost to programs like medicaid exactly as much as you'd expect any company that employs low paid workers to. Again, the theme being it's not great, but it's not worse than anything else and there are benefits.

    Yes, one would assume that Walmart has the same effect as other stores that are like Walmart.

    And if there is a change when Walmart moves in, one would have to conclude that it isn't a situation where you just shrug and mumble that without Walmart it would be the same. Obviously it wouldn't, because there was a change.

  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    werehippy wrote: »
    Shinto wrote: »
    I think the studies show that there is some relationship between Walmart market share in an area and higher medicaid enrollment. Something like for every 2% Walmart, 1% growth medicaid. Seems like a substantial externality.

    That's actually a great paper, though it's quoted out of context a lot. Walmart raises the cost to programs like medicaid exactly as much as you'd expect any company that employs low paid workers to. Again, the theme being it's not great, but it's not worse than anything else and there are benefits.

    Except there was that whole thing where one of the top Wal-Mart execs actually said that Wal-Mart workers should go on Medicaid.

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  • madstork91madstork91 Registered User
    edited September 2007
    ege02 wrote: »
    madstork91 wrote:
    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.

    I don't know where you learned your geography but this is certainly wrong.

    If what you suggested was correct, i.e. if this trend was cyclical and people eventually ended up coming back to rural communities after getting burned out in the big city, we wouldn't be seeing a steady decrease in rural population and a steady increase in the big city population over the past century or so.

    People who get burned out and permanently more back to rural towns are very few in number. For most big city people, the only reason they go back is for temporary stuff, like vacation, or visiting relatives, etc.

    Ratios will change... why? Because 1million before expanding at the current birth rate vastly out does a few thousand multiplied by the current birth rate.

    The cyclical nature of population migration is a theory that has held up quite well over the past hundred or so years.

    so in short 10:1 X 5 = 50:5... Yeah the big city sure expanded a lot there.

    P.s. The introduction of things like Walmart to these small town has created a barrier of entry for small town entrepreneurship, that is LITERALLY why there has been little to no growth in some small towns while others have been growing immensely.

    -stork

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  • DukiDuki Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    ege02 wrote: »
    madstork91 wrote:
    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.

    I don't know where you learned your geography but this is certainly wrong.

    If what you suggested was correct, i.e. if this trend was cyclical and people eventually ended up coming back to rural communities after getting burned out in the big city, we wouldn't be seeing a steady decrease in rural population and a steady increase in the big city population over the past century or so.

    People who get burned out and permanently more back to rural towns are very few in number. For most big city people, the only reason they go back is for temporary stuff, like vacation, or visiting relatives, etc.

    No, it definitely happens. It's quite well documented. I think it even has a fancy name. He just exaggerated the scale of the phenomenon. Or at least, his words implied that it's bigger at present than it actually is, and then you took it to mean that people in large numbers are leaving cities, when they aren't.

    So it happens less than he is saying it does, and more than you think it does. Basically, you're all wrong, MORAWNS.

  • madstork91madstork91 Registered User
    edited September 2007
    Duki wrote: »
    ege02 wrote: »
    madstork91 wrote:
    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.

    I don't know where you learned your geography but this is certainly wrong.

    If what you suggested was correct, i.e. if this trend was cyclical and people eventually ended up coming back to rural communities after getting burned out in the big city, we wouldn't be seeing a steady decrease in rural population and a steady increase in the big city population over the past century or so.

    People who get burned out and permanently more back to rural towns are very few in number. For most big city people, the only reason they go back is for temporary stuff, like vacation, or visiting relatives, etc.

    No, it definitely happens. It's quite well documented. I think it even has a fancy name. He just exaggerated the scale of the phenomenon. Or at least, his words implied that it's bigger at present than it actually is, and then you took it to mean that people in large numbers are leaving cities, when they aren't.

    So it happens less than he is saying it does, and more than you think it does. Basically, you're all wrong, MORAWNS.

    When did I ever give the cycle a quantitative allotment? I didn't.

    Nor did I ever say that the movement was based upon a % of each population.

    Do not presume to state that I am of a moronic nature.

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  • werehippywerehippy Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    Shinto wrote: »
    werehippy wrote: »
    Shinto wrote: »
    I think the studies show that there is some relationship between Walmart market share in an area and higher medicaid enrollment. Something like for every 2% Walmart, 1% growth medicaid. Seems like a substantial externality.

    That's actually a great paper, though it's quoted out of context a lot. Walmart raises the cost to programs like medicaid exactly as much as you'd expect any company that employs low paid workers to. Again, the theme being it's not great, but it's not worse than anything else and there are benefits.

    Yes, one would assume that Walmart has the same effect as other stores that are like Walmart.

    And if there is a change when Walmart moves in, one would have to conclude that it isn't a situation where you just shrug and mumble that without Walmart it would be the same. Obviously it wouldn't, because there was a change.

    Again, referring back to the paper we're talking about (and I wish I had the link, it might be in the last Walmart thread). The change comes because Walmart is drawing previously unemployed people into a minimum wage position, not pushing those who were previously higher up on the employment ladder down (at least that was the result found, I can't speak universally).

    And I'm not shrugging the situation off, I'm just saying economic realities being what they are, and every other thing taken into consideration, the fact Walmart is operating the way it does is a nut boon to society. That isn't to say I wouldn't be first in line to put some of those externalities back into the costs Walmart, and in turn the consummer bears, I'm just saying that a Walmart that operates in a purely legal fashion is the best thing for that sector of the retailer. They do what they do as well as it can possibly be done. WE way want to change what's possible, and what's required, but there's not point bitching they aren't making those changes before society says they should (which vocal minority here aside, the majority seem not to want).
    Except there was that whole thing where one of the top Wal-Mart execs actually said that Wal-Mart workers should go on Medicaid.

    This ties into the reply above, but what you SHOULD be mad at is the government for making a minimum wage where you can work full time and still need medicaid, not Walmart for paying people that wage. If Walmart only needs to pay a salary that draws minimum wage to get the people they need and met regulations then they should. Arguing that a company should pay more than they should just because you think it would make them "nicer" or "better" is an rightly an exercise in futility; you want change - change the system.

  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    werehippy wrote: »
    Except there was that whole thing where one of the top Wal-Mart execs actually said that Wal-Mart workers should go on Medicaid.

    This ties into the reply above, but what you SHOULD be mad at is the government for making a minimum wage where you can work full time and still need medicaid, not Walmart for paying people that wage. If Walmart only needs to pay a salary that draws minimum wage to get the people they need and met regulations then they should. Arguing that a company should pay more than they should just because you think it would make them "nicer" or "better" is an rightly an exercise in futility; you want change - change the system.

    I hate saying this, but you just don't get it. Wal-Mart ruthlessly externalizes its costs of operation onto society. The result is that Wal-Mart - really, it's upper tier of management - takes money out of society and transfers it to themselves. Should the government get involved? Probably. But at the same time, we should not condone companies who leech off of the rest of us!

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  • werehippywerehippy Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    werehippy wrote: »
    Except there was that whole thing where one of the top Wal-Mart execs actually said that Wal-Mart workers should go on Medicaid.

    This ties into the reply above, but what you SHOULD be mad at is the government for making a minimum wage where you can work full time and still need medicaid, not Walmart for paying people that wage. If Walmart only needs to pay a salary that draws minimum wage to get the people they need and met regulations then they should. Arguing that a company should pay more than they should just because you think it would make them "nicer" or "better" is an rightly an exercise in futility; you want change - change the system.

    I hate saying this, but you just don't get it. Wal-Mart ruthlessly externalizes its costs of operation onto society. The result is that Wal-Mart - really, it's upper tier of management - takes money out of society and transfers it to themselves. Should the government get involved? Probably. But at the same time, we should not condone companies who leech off of the rest of us!

    The definition of externalities is that it's a cost that isn't (directly) incurred by either the buyer or the seller. There is no "ruthless leeching" when either party ignores the externality. It's one of the major reasons for government intervention in the market (ensuring a level playing field and maintaining the socail safety net are others).

    Walmart isn't evil for ignoring the externalities of their transactions, because frankly they have no reason to care about them exactly until the majority of society says they have to. Companies aren't bound to follow unwritten codes of morality, especially those that only a minority of society hold.

  • electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    werehippy wrote: »
    werehippy wrote: »
    Except there was that whole thing where one of the top Wal-Mart execs actually said that Wal-Mart workers should go on Medicaid.

    This ties into the reply above, but what you SHOULD be mad at is the government for making a minimum wage where you can work full time and still need medicaid, not Walmart for paying people that wage. If Walmart only needs to pay a salary that draws minimum wage to get the people they need and met regulations then they should. Arguing that a company should pay more than they should just because you think it would make them "nicer" or "better" is an rightly an exercise in futility; you want change - change the system.

    I hate saying this, but you just don't get it. Wal-Mart ruthlessly externalizes its costs of operation onto society. The result is that Wal-Mart - really, it's upper tier of management - takes money out of society and transfers it to themselves. Should the government get involved? Probably. But at the same time, we should not condone companies who leech off of the rest of us!

    The definition of externalities is that it's a cost that isn't (directly) incurred by either the buyer or the seller. There is no "ruthless leeching" when either party ignores the externality. It's one of the major reasons for government intervention in the market (ensuring a level playing field and maintaining the socail safety net are others).

    Walmart isn't evil for ignoring the externalities of their transactions, because frankly they have no reason to care about them exactly until the majority of society says they have to. Companies aren't bound to follow unwritten codes of morality, especially those that only a minority of society hold.

    To add to what werehippy wrote:
    However no matter which way you slice it they are however bound to provide a return to their stockholders, who are the people they are beholden to by virtue of needing to raise capital etc. I'm also struggling to see where Walmart should be expected to pay more the minimum wage to a checkout attendant, when, let's face it, it's fairly unskilled labor that you can teach just about anyone to do. There's no incentive.

    Now of course, if you wanted to talk about whether government should mandate the provision of a health-plan by large companies in general for low skilled positions, then I'd be interested because it would sound more like you (not werehippy - he's on the level here I'm being figurative) were interested in understanding the full interplay of market forces and trying to design an alternative. "Rar Walmart are immoral" just sounds retarded.

    Or in other words: the left isn't nearly as smart as they think they are.

  • PicardathonPicardathon Registered User
    edited September 2007
    Shinto wrote: »
    I think the studies show that there is some relationship between Walmart market share in an area and higher medicaid enrollment. Something like for every 2% Walmart, 1% growth medicaid. Seems like a substantial externality.

    That makes quite a bit of sense.
    Wal-Mart increases marketshare.
    Wal-Mart: "Oh shit, we need more employees."
    Wal-Mart hires employees.
    Wal-Mart screws employees out of healthcare.
    Employees go on medicare.

  • madstork91madstork91 Registered User
    edited September 2007
    Shinto wrote: »
    I think the studies show that there is some relationship between Walmart market share in an area and higher medicaid enrollment. Something like for every 2% Walmart, 1% growth medicaid. Seems like a substantial externality.

    That makes quite a bit of sense.
    Wal-Mart increases marketshare.
    Wal-Mart: "Oh shit, we need more employees."
    Wal-Mart hires employees.
    Wal-Mart screws employees out of healthcare.
    Employees go on medicare.

    A bit off topic... but...

    There is also a correlation between levels of serial killer activity and the amount of ice cream sold during a summer.

    I don't trust stats, but they can provide useful data sometimes.

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