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Walmart

AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
edited June 2007 in Debate and/or Discourse
jacobkosh wrote: »
I think most of the problem (aside from the little "l" word that shall not be named, lest we give it power) is the show was designed with a certain freewheeling approach in mind, and it worked great in the first 1.5 or so seasons, when they were gleefully steamrolling psychic surgeons, feng shui consultants, spirit mediums, and end-times fundies, but is suddenly less funny when it's turned on a genuine issue.
I think that's the core issue - it's easy to argue against someone who is basically peddling bunk, but when you go against someone who has a solid position, you can't just steamroll without looking like an ignorant punk. To me, the Walmart episode really sums up the flaws - the end result is that Penn & Teller really come off not as truth tellers, but as corporate apologists.

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Posts

  • MuttnikMuttnik Registered User regular
    edited June 2007
    I think it is hilarious that being a member the Cato Institute, of which the late, great economist Friedrich Hayek has the honor, is being talked about like it is in the category of being a contributor to 911truth.org.

    So.... they are both members of an organization that has relatively strong economic credentials and thus they are moonbats, 'corporate apologists', and exploiters?

    Muttnik on
  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    edited June 2007
    Muttnik wrote: »
    I think it is hilarious that being a member the Cato Institute, of which the late, great economist Friedrich Hayek has the honor, is being talked about like it is in the category of being a contributor to 911truth.org.

    So.... they are both members of an organization that has relatively strong economic credentials and thus they are moonbats, 'corporate apologists', and exploiters?
    Cato gave Steve Milloy a regular paycheck (though I'm not sure if they've continued to do so). I don't think I need to say anymore.

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  • MuttnikMuttnik Registered User regular
    edited June 2007
    To damn a whole organization with relatively sound backing and credentials?

    Yes, I think you do have to say more, actually.

    A single mistake does not an evil organization make.

    Muttnik on
  • HamjuHamju Registered User regular
    edited June 2007
    [*]They defend sweatshops. Do I need to say more?

    Uh, yeah actually. They actually specifically say something in the episode to the effect of "Are we defending sweatshops? Of course not." What they were saying in the episode that the laborers in a sweatshop work in a Walmart sweatshop as an alternative to being prostitutes etc. They also made a few other small points about it, which I forget now. It was a very small sidebar on the show in any case.

    They said that there was a large investigation into the Wal-Mart sweatshops and they found that working conditions, while abhorent were better than average working conditions for that country. They also pointed out that Wal-Mart sweatshop working children made more than the average citizen of the country the sweatshop is in.
    [*]They don't speak to any of the major groups countering Walmart, like Wake-Up Walmart or Walmart Watch. Instead, they find a couple that runs an anti-Walmart website out of a t-shirt shop. The result is that they portray the movement as a bunch of elitist loons.
    This is my biggest problem with the show. If ever they are presented with an argument that is in opposition to their own views that is not easily debunked, they have a strong tendency to say, "Well, look at this crazy bitch! She's ugly and wears aluminum hats! She agrees with the opposition, so clearly we're right!"

    Hamju on
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  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    edited June 2007
    Muttnik wrote: »
    To damn a whole organization with relatively sound backing and credentials?

    Yes, I think you do have to say more, actually.

    A single mistake does not an evil organization make.
    Employing a known hack with credibility issues just because he says what you want to hear goes beyond "a single mistake". It strikes at the whole "intellectually honest" thing.

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  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    edited June 2007
    Hamju wrote: »
    [*]They defend sweatshops. Do I need to say more?

    Uh, yeah actually. They actually specifically say something in the episode to the effect of "Are we defending sweatshops? Of course not." What they were saying in the episode that the laborers in a sweatshop work in a Walmart sweatshop as an alternative to being prostitutes etc. They also made a few other small points about it, which I forget now. It was a very small sidebar on the show in any case.

    They said that there was a large investigation into the Wal-Mart sweatshops and they found that working conditions, while abhorent were better than average working conditions for that country. They also pointed out that Wal-Mart sweatshop working children made more than the average citizen of the country the sweatshop is in.
    And again, that doesn't absolve the owner of exploiting them. There's also more than money involved - read up on the reports. Finally, at the end of that segment, their pet expert claims that sweatshops in the US and UK ended because of technological advancement, conveniently ignoring the whole fucking labor movement!

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  • MuttnikMuttnik Registered User regular
    edited June 2007
    Angel, do you know what economists largely love?

    Walmart.

    And do you know what economists largely do?

    Study money.

    Your average economist is concerned with the enrichment of a economy, which has direct connections with issues of poverty. They are your go to guys when it comes to people not doing so well with money issues, and they are your go to guys when a economic system is not working out so well.

    The problem I have with people like you who are stringently anti-walmart is that the leaders of the pack are largely Journalists who love their big sob stories (like Naomi Klein), and populist politicians quick to blame for their political career. The opposition? Economists. people who know their shit, like Milton Friedman, Hayek, Thomas Sowell and Ludwig Von Mises.

    So, when card carrying members of the Cato institute are pitted against some guy who read No Logo or Jihad Vs. Mcworld, I tend to side with the Cato guys.

    Also, quote: "People who think that they are being "exploited" should ask themselves whether they would be missed if they left, or whether people would say: "Good riddance"?"

    Muttnik on
  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    edited June 2007
    I was going to reply to you, Muttnik. But the more I read your post, the more I realize I don't need to - your post, in of itself, shows very succinctly why so many people think that Cato has more than a few screws loose.

    But here's a hint - what use is money if your life sucks?

    AngelHedgie on
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  • monikermoniker Registered User regular
    edited June 2007
    Actually there are 2 arguments against Wal~Mart. The one that the media and politicians like to hype because it gets sob story points (oh the downtown mom and pop shop is closing) but which has no backing against economic reality given that Wal~Mart is simply performing a new sort of creative destruction. The other is one that most people don't delve into because it's more nuanced and has less weepy grandmothers. That is how Wal~Mart acts as a hegemon and pulls sway over manufacturers essentially forcing them to bend to Wallyworld's will. If you look to Rubbermaid and not a General Store there's a compelling argument to be had against supporting Wal~Mart.

    Plus the whole gamut of human externalities that it pushes on to government and doesn't feel any responsibility to address.

    moniker on
  • YarYar Registered User regular
    edited June 2007
    Start a Wal-mart thread if that's what this needs to be. As it is, I think Penn & Teller are largely correct that most of the popular hatred against Wal-mart is bullshit.

    Yar on
  • MuttnikMuttnik Registered User regular
    edited June 2007
    I want to see evidence of this shiny, happy third world that existed before white people came in and fucked it up. When did life in the third world not suck, relative to now, in the recent past?

    And also, did you really just pull that card? the 'you are not worth it' one? That is hilarious. For fuck's sake, people reply to EntropyKid to tell him he is wrong very succinctly but you don't have the balls to muster a response to me, beyond a vague insinuation of my insanity with no real substance?

    Kid, you are over your head.

    Muttnik on
  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    edited June 2007
    moniker wrote: »
    Actually there are 2 arguments against Wal~Mart. The one that the media and politicians like to hype because it gets sob story points (oh the downtown mom and pop shop is closing) but which has no backing against economic reality given that Wal~Mart is simply performing a new sort of creative destruction. The other is one that most people don't delve into because it's more nuanced and has less weepy grandmothers. That is how Wal~Mart acts as a hegemon and pulls sway over manufacturers essentially forcing them to bend to Wallyworld's will. If you look to Rubbermaid and not a General Store there's a compelling argument to be had against supporting Wal~Mart.

    Plus the whole gamut of human externalities that it pushes on to government and doesn't feel any responsibility to address.
    The thing, though, moniker, is that when I give my money to a local store, the money mostly stays in my community. When I buy from Walmart, though, a good chunk goes straight to Bentonville. Which do you think is healthier for a community?

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  • monikermoniker Registered User regular
    edited June 2007
    moniker wrote: »
    Actually there are 2 arguments against Wal~Mart. The one that the media and politicians like to hype because it gets sob story points (oh the downtown mom and pop shop is closing) but which has no backing against economic reality given that Wal~Mart is simply performing a new sort of creative destruction. The other is one that most people don't delve into because it's more nuanced and has less weepy grandmothers. That is how Wal~Mart acts as a hegemon and pulls sway over manufacturers essentially forcing them to bend to Wallyworld's will. If you look to Rubbermaid and not a General Store there's a compelling argument to be had against supporting Wal~Mart.

    Plus the whole gamut of human externalities that it pushes on to government and doesn't feel any responsibility to address.
    The thing, though, moniker, is that when I give my money to a local store, the money mostly stays in my community. When I buy from Walmart, though, a good chunk goes straight to Bentonville. Which do you think is healthier for a community?

    The latter since the community is going to benefit from the new jobs created from the increase in manufacturing, freight traffic, trade, computer/technical analysts for the various computer systems being involved &c. across the country as a result of Wal~Mart's growth. Look up what creative destruction means. The retail aspect of Wal~Mart is not a net negative for the country, and no town no matter how bumfuck rural it is is a self contained island insulated from the rest of the country or world.

    Also, the town itself zoned the problems of traffic and infrastructural problems when they forced Wal~Mart to the edge of the town and made a new nodal point of commerce to be created there rather than planning things effectively and with their heads out of their asses.

    This is probably going to need a split.

    moniker on
  • SchrodingerSchrodinger Registered User regular
    edited June 2007
    [*]They defend sweatshops. Do I need to say more?

    Uh, yeah actually. They actually specifically say something in the episode to the effect of "Are we defending sweatshops? Of course not." What they were saying in the episode that the laborers in a sweatshop work in a Walmart sweatshop as an alternative to being prostitutes etc. They also made a few other small points about it, which I forget now. It was a very small sidebar on the show in any case.

    Reminds me of the whole "I'm not a racist, but..." rhetoric used by racists in order to offset a racist comment. Just out of curiousity, did they ever say that Wal-Mart shouldn't use sweatshops, or that they should treat their workers more humanly? Or was it simply a matter of, "Well, we're not defending sweatshops, but we will give you some of their good points, without mentioning any of the bad ones."?
    Hamju wrote: »
    [*]They defend sweatshops. Do I need to say more?

    Uh, yeah actually. They actually specifically say something in the episode to the effect of "Are we defending sweatshops? Of course not." What they were saying in the episode that the laborers in a sweatshop work in a Walmart sweatshop as an alternative to being prostitutes etc. They also made a few other small points about it, which I forget now. It was a very small sidebar on the show in any case.

    They said that there was a large investigation into the Wal-Mart sweatshops and they found that working conditions, while abhorent were better than average working conditions for that country. They also pointed out that Wal-Mart sweatshop working children made more than the average citizen of the country the sweatshop is in.

    Did they also address the fact that sweatshops are often notified of investigations and inspections well in advanced, allowing the owners to "dress up" the facillity and prompt all their workers to lie when asked questions in exchange for extra perks? Because that sort of taints the data.
    Muttnik wrote: »
    I think it is hilarious that being a member the Cato Institute, of which the late, great economist Friedrich Hayek has the honor, is being talked about like it is in the category of being a contributor to 911truth.org.

    So.... they are both members of an organization that has relatively strong economic credentials and thus they are moonbats, 'corporate apologists', and exploiters?
    Muttnik wrote: »
    To damn a whole organization with relatively sound backing and credentials?

    Yes, I think you do have to say more, actually.

    A single mistake does not an evil organization make.

    So the fact that the Cato institutes funded Steve Milloy and made him an adjunct scholar right up until recently (Where they were heavily criticized for conflicts of interest, not because they stopped supporting him) isn't enough to damn the Cato members who endorse and believe in Steve Milloy -- but the fact that a dead economist was once a member of the group is enough to make the entire organization in good back and credible?

    Yeah dude, that's called cherry picking. I mean, it's like watching someone who tries to deflect the criticisms being placed on the current GOP, by claiming, "Hey, this is the party of Lincoln we're talking about!"

    Even if we accepted your premise that Hayek's association 15 years ago somehow made the group credible today, it would only be in the field of austrian economic theory. It would not be in the fields of nutrition, climatology, forestry, health, etc. If Penn and Teller started doing episodes about "Is the federal reserve a good thing?", then you might have a point. I mean, Alton Brown has plenty of credentials as well, and if he has something to say on food, then I'll listen. But that doesn't mean that I'm about to listen to his opinions on monetary policy. So why should I bother listening to Cato's views on anything else?

    Schrodinger on
  • ElkiElki get busy Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited June 2007
    Walmart talk goes here, because it takes over a discussion faster than it does over an innocent, imaginary American town.

    Elki on
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  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    edited June 2007
    Muttnik wrote: »
    I want to see evidence of this shiny, happy third world that existed before white people came in and fucked it up. When did life in the third world not suck, relative to now, in the recent past?
    Boy, you slaughtered that strawman. Yes, life sucks in the third world - but that is no justification for me to come in and use their desperation as a means of enrichment, playing groups off against each other in a race to the bottom that benefits nobody but me.
    Muttnik wrote: »
    And also, did you really just pull that card? the 'you are not worth it' one? That is hilarious. For fuck's sake, people reply to EntropyKid to tell him he is wrong very succinctly but you don't have the balls to muster a response to me, beyond a vague insinuation of my insanity with no real substance?

    Kid, you are over your head.
    So, how are things in Chile these days?

    I didn't respond to you because your argument consists of "I only listen to people who look at one aspect of reality while ignoring everything else, and not only that, but I only listen to a small subset of those folks who, the one time they got a shot at bringing their concepts to reality, royally fucked things up." Life is not a massive ledger. Stop treating it as if it is.

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  • RoanthRoanth Registered User regular
    edited June 2007
    Hooray! A Wal-Mart thread. It's been like two months since the horse was last beaten. For all the Wal-Mart haters, how do you feel about Target?

    Roanth on
  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    edited June 2007
    Roanth wrote: »
    Hooray! A Wal-Mart thread. It's been like two months since the horse was last beaten. For all the Wal-Mart haters, how do you feel about Target?
    The term "lesser of two evils" comes to mind, personally.

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  • GooeyGooey (\/)┌¶─¶┐(\/) pinch pinchRegistered User regular
    edited June 2007
    I hate Wal-Mart because I do not understand economics, capitalism, and corporate America in general, along with various other things. Also, I hate oil companies for the same reasons.

    Gooey on
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  • SchrodingerSchrodinger Registered User regular
    edited June 2007
    Muttnik wrote: »
    I want to see evidence of this shiny, happy third world that existed before white people came in and fucked it up. When did life in the third world not suck, relative to now, in the recent past?

    Based on the testimony of people I've actually known who've actually been to the third world, the main difference is that once industry comes in, they start transforming the territory in ways where you need to make money in order to survive, where as previously you didn't.

    For instance, before you lived off the land and grew food crops, and so you always got what you needed. You didn't make any money and you didn't make any profits, but then, you didn't need any either. That's how things worked in Madagascar. Then industry came in and decided to "improve" everything by converting everyone to growing cash crops on the world market, and use the money to buy food, rather than growing the food directly. Unfortunately, by flooding the market with cash crops, what they ended up doing was frequently cause the market to collaspe, resulting in mass famine because people no longer had enough money for food. Oh, that, plus the environmental degradation and soil depletion.

    That's one example. Western colonization doesn't just come in and pump in some money into the economy -- it changes the entire game.

    Schrodinger on
  • RoanthRoanth Registered User regular
    edited June 2007
    moniker wrote: »
    Actually there are 2 arguments against Wal~Mart. The one that the media and politicians like to hype because it gets sob story points (oh the downtown mom and pop shop is closing) but which has no backing against economic reality given that Wal~Mart is simply performing a new sort of creative destruction. The other is one that most people don't delve into because it's more nuanced and has less weepy grandmothers. That is how Wal~Mart acts as a hegemon and pulls sway over manufacturers essentially forcing them to bend to Wallyworld's will. If you look to Rubbermaid and not a General Store there's a compelling argument to be had against supporting Wal~Mart.

    Plus the whole gamut of human externalities that it pushes on to government and doesn't feel any responsibility to address.

    Good points. Wal-Mart's channel power (and occasional abuse) is nothing new in retail. Target is just as bad if not worse in that regards. In fact, when it comes to direct sourcing, going around vendors, and then fucking them to death once you learn who their manufacturers are, it is really tough to beat Target. In any retail relationship there is always going to be one party that has more channel power. When the retailer has it, consumers are usually better off because the retailer is able to use its influence to obtain lower prices which are almost entirely passed through to customers given the insanely competitive nature of retail. When vendors have it goods are generally more expensive and the consumer pays more to fatten the purses of vendors.

    Wal-Mart is by no means an ideal company but the fact remains that many Americans have benefited and continue to benefit from the competitive pressures (primarily through lower prices) that Wal-Mart has introduced to the market. Whether this offsets business practices domestic and abroad is a subjective judgement.

    Roanth on
  • SchrodingerSchrodinger Registered User regular
    edited June 2007
    Roanth wrote: »
    Hooray! A Wal-Mart thread. It's been like two months since the horse was last beaten. For all the Wal-Mart haters, how do you feel about Target?

    Sort of like asking, "For all the Bush Haters, how do you feel about Dennis Hastert"?

    One target at a time.

    Schrodinger on
  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    edited June 2007
    Roanth wrote: »
    Hooray! A Wal-Mart thread. It's been like two months since the horse was last beaten. For all the Wal-Mart haters, how do you feel about Target?

    Sort of like asking, "For all the Bush Haters, how do you feel about Dennis Hastert"?

    One target at a time.
    Which is hard to do in a Target-rich environment.

    Pun fully intended.

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  • Capt HowdyCapt Howdy Registered User regular
    edited June 2007
    At least Target alawys has enough cashiers open. Oh, and their employees smile.

    You know a person is working at Wal Mart because they have that miserable "Fuck I work at Walmart" look on their face.

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  • RoanthRoanth Registered User regular
    edited June 2007
    Roanth wrote: »
    Hooray! A Wal-Mart thread. It's been like two months since the horse was last beaten. For all the Wal-Mart haters, how do you feel about Target?
    The term "lesser of two evils" comes to mind, personally.

    Perfectly valid answer. People who feel that way should keep it in mind before launching into a diatribe on how Wal-Mart is a retail evil that is unmatched in the market. The days of mom & pop retail stores are gone. The American consumer is insanely price sensitive, so any successful retailer that operates in a competitive market (i.e. one that contains more than a single retail outlet) is basically going to half to adopt many of the same business strategies Wal-Mart has to be successful. If Wal-Mart disappeared tomorrow, someone like Kroeger, Target, etc. would step in and do basically the exact same thing. These businesses operate the way they do because we, the American consumer, demand low prices, wide selection, and constant availability of goods. You can rail against the evil business practices of Wal-Mart and their ilk but all you are doing is pissing in the wind. Instead, turn your anger to the American greedy, price sensitive, American consumer who is not willing to pay more so that Vietnamese factory worker can live in more comfort.

    Roanth on
  • MuttnikMuttnik Registered User regular
    edited June 2007
    Excellent points, Schodinger.

    On the Cato Institute's credibility:
    I find them credible mostly on the grounds that the positions they take, at least on economic issues, are largely backed by mainstream economists. Generalization? Sure, but I challenge others to find many esteemed mainstream economists who are Anti-Globalization or Anti-Privatization. They are certainly not a 'moonbat' organization, and I was primarily attacking the sentiment in this thread that they have the honor of being part of a greater problem of moonbattery. It is not that I find them extraordinarily credible, just that the very idea that someones association with the organization makes their credibility suspect is ludicrous in the extreme.

    And in this particular argument, the way it is being used as putting them in the camp of 'corporate whore' is even more ridiculous as it feels to me the underlying assumption in anti-walmart sentiment is that people are not benefiting economically from wal-mart, which is not a terribly popular opinion among economists.

    I brought up Hayek to make a point, his association is not the only reason I defend the institution.

    Also, life in chile is pretty good, actually.

    Muttnik on
  • SchrodingerSchrodinger Registered User regular
    edited June 2007
    Roanth wrote: »
    You can rail against the evil business practices of Wal-Mart and their ilk but all you are doing is pissing in the wind. Instead, turn your anger to the American greedy, price sensitive, American consumer who is not willing to pay more so that Vietnamese factory worker can live in more comfort.

    Yeah, and how well has that worked out?

    Schrodinger on
  • Loren MichaelLoren Michael Registered User regular
    edited June 2007
    Dammit, Muttnik already said most of what I wanted to say.

    Loren Michael on
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  • GorakGorak Registered User regular
    edited June 2007
    I just started watching the Bullshit episode about Walmart. They're interviewing Robert Greenwald (saying that they pay theie workers little more than min wage) and saying that he neglects to mention that they pay their full-time workers about twice the min wage.

    I may be wrong, but I seem to remember that one of the points that Greenwald makes in his documentary is that Walmart does it's level best to ensure as many as possible of it's workers are part-time.

    Gorak on
  • RoanthRoanth Registered User regular
    edited June 2007
    Roanth wrote: »
    You can rail against the evil business practices of Wal-Mart and their ilk but all you are doing is pissing in the wind. Instead, turn your anger to the American greedy, price sensitive, American consumer who is not willing to pay more so that Vietnamese factory worker can live in more comfort.

    Yeah, and how well has that worked out?

    In my opinion, fine. I think that sweatshop jobs beat the altneratives those workers have (otherwise they wouldn't be there) and that over time conditions and wages in those nations will improve. Others don't feel the same and my suggestion is that they focus on the cause of the problems they perceive in the marketplace, i.e. American consumers, because until there is a fundamental shift in customer mentality all the screaming in the world at Wal-Mart and their ilk is going to mean jack shit. I would also ask them if they are okay with American consumers (including the poor) paying considerably more for their basic goods so workers in another country can lead a better lifestyle. No right or wrong answer but I would like to see if these people are willing to put their money where their mouth is.

    Roanth on
  • RoanthRoanth Registered User regular
    edited June 2007
    Gorak wrote: »
    I just started watching the Bullshit episode about Walmart. They're interviewing Robert Greenwald (saying that they pay theie workers little more than min wage) and saying that he neglects to mention that they pay their full-time workers about twice the min wage.

    I may be wrong, but I seem to remember that one of the points that Greenwald makes in his documentary is that Walmart does it's level best to ensure as many as possible of it's workers are part-time.

    Hard to find exact numbers. Here is an exerpt from an International Herald Times article that suggests its 80/20 full-time to part time, with the Company making shifts to move it to 40% part-time (which they deny).
    Investment analysts and store managers say Wal-Mart executives have told them that the company wants to transform its work force to 40 percent part-time from 20 percent, a claim that the company disputes

    http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/10/02/business/walmart.php

    Roanth on
  • sdrawkcaB emaNsdrawkcaB emaN regular
    edited June 2007
    Muttnik wrote: »

    That was one of the best-spent 20 minutes of my life.

    Seriously, that was only about three notches below sex.

    sdrawkcaB emaN on
  • MuttnikMuttnik Registered User regular
    edited June 2007
    Muttnik wrote: »
    I want to see evidence of this shiny, happy third world that existed before white people came in and fucked it up. When did life in the third world not suck, relative to now, in the recent past?
    Boy, you slaughtered that strawman. Yes, life sucks in the third world - but that is no justification for me to come in and use their desperation as a means of enrichment, playing groups off against each other in a race to the bottom that benefits nobody but me.
    Muttnik wrote: »
    And also, did you really just pull that card? the 'you are not worth it' one? That is hilarious. For fuck's sake, people reply to EntropyKid to tell him he is wrong very succinctly but you don't have the balls to muster a response to me, beyond a vague insinuation of my insanity with no real substance?

    Kid, you are over your head.
    So, how are things in Chile these days?

    I didn't respond to you because your argument consists of "I only listen to people who look at one aspect of reality while ignoring everything else, and not only that, but I only listen to a small subset of those folks who, the one time they got a shot at bringing their concepts to reality, royally fucked things up." Life is not a massive ledger. Stop treating it as if it is.

    Fine, I will bite.

    Strawman? Perhaps. But my whole point is that if you are going to argue about quality of life, you must have some sort of standard or relative measure for progress. And all across the board, countries of the third world that have lifted trade barriers and let evil walmart into their domains have largely progressed, not regressed.

    GDP? Better.

    Life expectancy at birth? Got that one too.

    Per capita income? Hell yea.

    Child mortality? Yep, have that too.

    Gap between rich and poor? Even though this is the big one brought up on the anti-globalization crowd, the numbers back up the pro-globalization crowd more. More people are being brought out of poverty.

    How about political liberalism? I think it is plain to see that the richer a country gets, especially countries with heavily globalized economies like Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore, in most cases the government is less authoritarian and less likely to have constant civil strife like we see in much of the poorer third world.

    On most measurable levels of life quality, the third world is increasing and increasing hard despite all this mean, nasty "exploitation".

    What is your qualifier for a better life? Are you going to pull a Bhutan and make a Gross National Happiness ? What are the parameters for a better quality of life that somehow walmart is crushing? Despite improving numbers, who is getting crushed?

    And secondly, discounting an entire field of study, not to mention a field of study very intimate with matters of poverty and power, is fucking insane. Life may not be a ledger, but a ledger is a good part of life, especially if you are starving.

    Being pro-putting food in your mouth and disgesting it, and being pro-not getting shot in the mouth, I support globalization because it has largely been good at stopping people not eating and people getting shot in the mouth.

    And like I said, chile is swell this time of year.

    PS - Loren, we should talk about religion before we get too touchy-feely and spoon or something.

    Muttnik on
  • SchrodingerSchrodinger Registered User regular
    edited June 2007
    Gorak wrote: »
    I just started watching the Bullshit episode about Walmart. They're interviewing Robert Greenwald (saying that they pay theie workers little more than min wage) and saying that he neglects to mention that they pay their full-time workers about twice the min wage.

    I may be wrong, but I seem to remember that one of the points that Greenwald makes in his documentary is that Walmart does it's level best to ensure as many as possible of it's workers are part-time.

    Yep. There's also the fact that Wal-Mart also forces their employees to work off the clock.
    Roanth wrote: »
    Roanth wrote: »
    You can rail against the evil business practices of Wal-Mart and their ilk but all you are doing is pissing in the wind. Instead, turn your anger to the American greedy, price sensitive, American consumer who is not willing to pay more so that Vietnamese factory worker can live in more comfort.

    Yeah, and how well has that worked out?

    In my opinion, fine. I think that sweatshop jobs beat the altneratives those workers have (otherwise they wouldn't be there)

    Syphillus is better than AIDS. What's your point?

    And again, it's easy to be better than the alternative, when you can drastically shift or remove what the alternative is. If the alternative was to live off the land, and then a corporation comes in and says, "Yeah, you can't do that anymore, we just bought the deeds to this property," then you can't really argue that they're doing a good thing. The same goes for if they destroy local industry (thus making it harder for people to subside off each other), pollute the local environment (thus making it harder for people to live off the land), etc. Basically, it's an assumption of perfect competition, where all other alternatives are equally viable.

    It's also an assumption of perfect rationality, which is easily disproven in game theory and psychological models. Just because people choose X, doesn't mean that X is better. Maybe they simply got swindled. Maybe they saw all their neighbors doing it, and succumbed to peer pressure. Maybe they're focusing on short term gain while ignoring long term loss. (For instance, in Vietnam, a lot of rice farmers are converting their farms to grow jumbo shrimp for the jumbo shrimp industry, in order to put their kids through school. Unfortunately, this also infects their farms with parasites, which makes them completely unusable after a few years.).

    Most drug dealers make less than the minimum wage, and have a 25% mortality rate. Is drug dealing better than the alternative? I mean, otherwise, they wouldn't do it, right?
    and that over time conditions and wages in those nations will improve.

    Any evidence of this that the QUALITY OF LIFE has drastically improved as a direct result of Wal-mart? Not wages -- wages are relative. But actual quality.

    And when I say "as a direct result of Wal-Mart," I don't mean, "Life expectancy went up during the same time Wal-Mart was around, correlation = causation."
    Others don't feel the same and my suggestion is that they focus on the cause of the problems they perceive in the marketplace, i.e. American consumers, because until there is a fundamental shift in customer mentality all the screaming in the world at Wal-Mart and their ilk is going to mean jack shit.

    Well, it could enact leglislation, like what happened in our own labor industries.

    Schrodinger on
  • sdrawkcaB emaNsdrawkcaB emaN regular
    edited June 2007
    Two things, Schro:

    (1) What's so fucking great about living off the land? I really hope you're not pulling that stale horseshit about how awesome everything was before technology and olololz Ludditism. Living off the land is generally extremely difficult and labor intensive, unreliable, and if everyone's doing it, then your society never goes anywhere. That's why civilization began as soon as some people were able to stop subsistence living, and specialize.

    The thing about the early, nasty throes of industrialization is that they lead somewhere. In case you don't remember, early industrialization in the West fucking sucked, too. Why would it be different in the third world? Why would adjusting to a massive change in the functioning of your society be easy? Thing is, though, subsistence living sucks too, but industrialization leads to greater quality of life down the road. People living off the land is stagnation.

    (2) You seem to resent the idea that something is merely "better than the alternative." I don't understand this. What are you getting at? That we should only pursue perfect solutions? I hope not, becuase that wouldn't make sense.

    sdrawkcaB emaN on
  • SliverSliver Registered User regular
    edited June 2007
    Gorak wrote: »
    I just started watching the Bullshit episode about Walmart. They're interviewing Robert Greenwald (saying that they pay theie workers little more than min wage) and saying that he neglects to mention that they pay their full-time workers about twice the min wage.

    I may be wrong, but I seem to remember that one of the points that Greenwald makes in his documentary is that Walmart does it's level best to ensure as many as possible of it's workers are part-time.
    72% of Wallmart employees work full time. Of course, Wallmart qualifies full time to only be 28 hours a week.

    edit: Anyone here seen Wallmart: The high cost of low prices?

    Sliver on
  • Loren MichaelLoren Michael Registered User regular
    edited June 2007
    Aemilius wrote: »
    Muttnik wrote: »

    That was one of the best-spent 20 minutes of my life.

    Seriously, that was only about three notches below sex.

    That was extremely good. If you want to fuck around with a similar graph system to what he was using, Google has an excellent tool.

    Loren Michael on
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  • klokklok Registered User regular
    edited June 2007
    If it wasn't for walmarts people wouldn't have good places to give away free kittens!

    klok on
  • sdrawkcaB emaNsdrawkcaB emaN regular
    edited June 2007
    Aemilius wrote: »
    Muttnik wrote: »

    That was one of the best-spent 20 minutes of my life.

    Seriously, that was only about three notches below sex.

    That was extremely good. If you want to fuck around with a similar graph system to what he was using, Google has an excellent tool.

    Dude, it's not similar, it's the same system. Google bought his shit and wants to make it widely availble for all sorts of shit. So now we have that vision plus Google money. Score. Gim totally posted that in the [chat] thread.

    sdrawkcaB emaN on
  • GorakGorak Registered User regular
    edited June 2007
    Aemilius wrote: »
    I really hope you're not pulling that stale horseshit about how awesome everything was before technology and olololz Ludditism.

    Luddites weren't anti-technology. They were against industrialism because they didn't want to see their jobs disappear and have themselves reduced to wage slavery in factories.

    In case you don't remember, early industrialization in the West fucking sucked, too. Why would it be different in the third world?

    The question to ask is, "Why have we not found a way to make it not suck?"

    Gorak on
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