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Thu Nov 22, 2012, 01:00 PM

The heart of the problem is that most People like Walmart

Last edited Thu Nov 22, 2012, 05:27 PM - Edit history (3)

Analysis of Walmart America ought not overlook the preferences of real people. The people are not merely cattle forced into Walmart. The biggest single reason Walmart is able to do what it does is that many people like Walmart. Their perception, based on experience, is that access to a walmart makes their lives much easier and increases their standard of living.

The malignant effects of Walmart wouldn't pose any threat if Walmart were not very popular, and Walmart is popular because customers would, on average, rather go to Walmart. (It's like crystal meth... terrible long term problems, but there's no doubt that people like it. A lot.)

Outside of large cities, Amazon.com has destroyed the category of book store, music store and movie store. How? Because people who loved books and music and movies preferred shopping at Amazon even though doing so would inevitably make the world worse for people who love books and music and movies.

The great majority of people prefer convenience and lower prices over paying a surcharge to maintain a real-world sense of community.


In economic terms, Walmart cannot be separated from Walmart customers. It is emotionally satisfying to blame a villain (Walmart), but if Walmart were destroyed another Walmart would take its place because our economic ecology almost mandates Walmart.

It's the ecology, not the creatures within it. Our current economic ecology has a whopping walmart niche in it.

And it doesn't help to say that Walmart imports inferior Chinese goods. That is a customer choice. If there was the same level of demand for some more expensive high quality American goods then Walmart would sell those, and would co-opt the manufacturer, demanding lower prices than other stores get in exchange for the huge sales volume Walmart can provide, and would force all small stores selling expensive high quality American goods out of business.

The modern monopolist model works for goods in general, not just Chinese goods.

And this modern explosion of de facto monopolism is due to computers... born from the productivity boom of the 1990s.

A perfectly efficient market will price compete itself into oblivion. This is the paradox of wage slavery applied to retail. Hourly "wage slaves" are cheaper than real slaves because the real slave has a baseline subsistence wage. You have to feed the slave enough to keep the slave alive.

The wage slave, however, will work for below subsistence if that is where the market sets the wage. A starving man will work for a crust of bread. And when he eventually becomes to sick and weak to work, another worker takes his place.

Similarly, a business will operate at a loss before finally closing its doors, and will price compete to a small loss if that is the only way to get customers. (If you cannot find an item below cost on the internet you probably aren't looking hard enough.) A business will take inventory on credit to maintain cash-flow, even while actually losing money on each transaction. (And the supplier extends that credit to maintain their flow of goods out of the warehouse.)

In the incredibly price competitive world of the internet and computer-assisted inventory and delivery the only way to having an pricing power is an effective monopoly.

Hence Walmart. Hence Amazon.

The modern environment has the sweet spot, the attraction-point, of the carnivorous de facto monopoly and that environmental niche will be filled.

I don't know what the solution is, but I know what the problem is not. The problem is not villains—not a few people with moral aberrations. The ecology demands the rise of the predatory mega-retailer.

And only government can change the ecology. The individual players cannot.

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Arrow 65 replies Author Time Post
Reply The heart of the problem is that most People like Walmart (Original post)
cthulu2016 Nov 2012 OP
lunatica Nov 2012 #1
cthulu2016 Nov 2012 #2
iemitsu Nov 2012 #18
leveymg Nov 2012 #38
iemitsu Nov 2012 #60
HiPointDem Nov 2012 #45
rsmith6621 Nov 2012 #3
HiPointDem Nov 2012 #47
Little Star Nov 2012 #4
cthulu2016 Nov 2012 #5
cyclezealot Nov 2012 #30
Scuba Nov 2012 #6
cthulu2016 Nov 2012 #11
Scuba Nov 2012 #13
tularetom Nov 2012 #40
BuelahWitch Nov 2012 #41
FarCenter Nov 2012 #48
OneMoreDemocrat Nov 2012 #49
nadinbrzezinski Nov 2012 #7
Democracyinkind Nov 2012 #8
Laochtine Nov 2012 #9
Democracyinkind Nov 2012 #10
leftyohiolib Nov 2012 #12
Democracyinkind Nov 2012 #16
cthulu2016 Nov 2012 #17
iemitsu Nov 2012 #14
Democracyinkind Nov 2012 #15
cthulu2016 Nov 2012 #19
iemitsu Nov 2012 #26
laundry_queen Nov 2012 #50
iemitsu Nov 2012 #59
cthulu2016 Nov 2012 #63
Bombtrack Nov 2012 #20
underthematrix Nov 2012 #21
ancianita Nov 2012 #22
snappyturtle Nov 2012 #39
BeyondGeography Nov 2012 #23
GoCubsGo Nov 2012 #24
cthulu2016 Nov 2012 #28
GoCubsGo Nov 2012 #33
rrneck Nov 2012 #25
brewens Nov 2012 #27
Lionessa Nov 2012 #29
cthulu2016 Nov 2012 #31
coalition_unwilling Nov 2012 #32
cthulu2016 Nov 2012 #35
CheapShotArtist Nov 2012 #34
99Forever Nov 2012 #36
bhikkhu Nov 2012 #37
johnd83 Nov 2012 #42
Iggy Nov 2012 #43
cthulu2016 Nov 2012 #64
Iggy Nov 2012 #65
HiPointDem Nov 2012 #44
PETRUS Nov 2012 #46
SheilaT Nov 2012 #51
marybourg Nov 2012 #52
sigmasix Nov 2012 #53
nadinbrzezinski Nov 2012 #54
lbrtbell Nov 2012 #55
0rganism Nov 2012 #56
rDigital Nov 2012 #57
AlexSatan Nov 2012 #58
bluestate10 Nov 2012 #61
Manifestor_of_Light Nov 2012 #62

Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 01:03 PM

1. Paying starving wages isn't villainous?

I will never work for you.

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Response to lunatica (Reply #1)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 01:11 PM

2. Unless one is expecting a hero to set things right, villainous is not a useful category

The solution to below-subsistence wages was not the moral improvement of capitalists. It was the institution of the minimum wage.

If the economy has an ecological niche for villains then villains will be created to meet the demand for villainy.

The point being that there is no point on focusing on villainy unless one thinks the human race can be purged of all real and potential villains. If not, the problem is the ecology, not the creatures within it.

The only way to change an economic ecology is to change the environment.

Because if we are going to blame people then the Walmart customer is as culpable as the Walmart owner. The whole horrible thing operates from the collisions of human nature and material reality.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Reply #2)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 01:53 PM

18. "The whole horrible thing operates from the collisions of human nature and material reality"

in the context of government policy.
We do not have to live in a place where capitalism dictates the conditions of human existence and we don't have to lose the benefits of capitalist investment to create a better world. We just need to regulate how businesses operate in the geopolitical world.
Only in America do CEOs expect to make 500 times what their highest paid employees make. Only in America do CEOs justify destroying worker's earned pensions in order to compensate themselves more richly. If these practices were illegal, as they ought to be, we would not be subject to that sort of abuse.
It is too simplistic to just accept that Walmart supplies what customers demand. And since Walmart enjoys huge government subsidies, which allow it to bring low priced goods to the customer, it cannot be said that "market-place laws" inevitably bring Walmart like stores to our communities.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Reply #2)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 02:29 PM

38. Classic Blame the Victims post. If you don't like villain, try predator. That's quantifiable,

particularly where wages paid are so low as to require large numbers of employees to rely on public benefits. The cost of that to taxpayers is tangible, and is estimated to be $1.57 billion a year. http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=439x1063143

Add predatory antitrust practices and the cost of killing off smaller competitors, overseas sourcing, offshoring profits, and the overall costs to American society of tolerating Wal*Mart operations are in the tens of billions per annum.

What are people supposed to do about this if governmental authorities won't? Unfortunately, it's not in our political economy for people to take direct actions, other than to withhold purchases. That much, at least, should be encouraged.

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Response to leveymg (Reply #38)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 01:34 AM

60. Thanks for pointing out so many truths about Walmart's business plan.

They go to great lengths to insure that they are not subject to the same "laws of the Market-Place" that rule the rest of us.
For Walmart, the "laws of the market-place" dictate that we (tax-paying, non-corporate citizens) subsidize the building of their stores by paying for the area's needed infrastructural upgrades, by providing access roads to the stores, by covering the costs of employee health care, and usually by covering lost county or city tax revenues, resulting from tax breaks offered as enticement, to locate a store in the community.
And, as you mention, there are other costs a community must shoulder to host a Walmart.

I have never been inside of one and so can easily and gladly withhold purchases.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Reply #2)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 03:54 PM

45. "the walmart customer is equally culpable" = false equivalency because of the

 

different power relations between the two and the entire 'ecology' of power.

comparing the culpability of the walton family to the culpability of an individual customer is so much rationalizing horseshit.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 01:11 PM

3. Walmart Would Be Able To Sell USA


....products but they strong armed low balled USA manufactures to the point they either went out of business or said HELL NO to WM... In that the customer and WM are to blame.


And it doesn't help to say that Walmart imports inferior Chinese goods. That is a customer choice. If there was the same level of demand for some more expensive high quality American goods then Walmart would sell those, and would co-opt the manufacturer, demanding lower prices than other stores get in exchange for the huge sales volume Walmart can provide, and would force all small stores selling expensive high quality American goods out of business.


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Response to rsmith6621 (Reply #3)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 04:21 PM

47. oh, baloney. 'customer demand' isn't responsible for walmart's move to foreign

 

suppliers. walmart was using foreign suppliers *even while* touting its wonderful "buy american" policies.

they got exposed, and that was the end of the lying "buy american" campaign.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 01:14 PM

4. A lot of people like Walmart. I'm not sure about most...

Plus some people have no choices but to shop there.

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Response to Little Star (Reply #4)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 01:19 PM

5. Fair enough. Substitute "enough" for most.

There are enough people who like Walmart to enable the Walmart effect.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Reply #5)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 02:14 PM

30. Not us

We do KMart..And we don't do Wal Mart or Amazon..
. Compare employees of both Wal Mart and K Mart.. . If WalMart employees could only speak freely.
The K Mart employees we've met often say, we once worked at Wal Mart and the one's we met are bitter.
Shop K Mart please. Help encourage Wal Mart to have some competition.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 01:21 PM

6. Short-term thinking is cancerous in cases like these. Liking WalMart because you like ...

... a low purchase price ignores later costs (energy consumption, repair/replace, etc.). Few Americans understand the concept of "total cost of ownership over time".

WalMart might get high marks for convenience of cheap crap, but I'l take my built-in-the-USA SpeedQueen washer, thanks. Cheaper to own and operate in the long run, despite costing a bit more up front.

And that doesn't begin to address the societal problems WalMart imposes on us.

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Response to Scuba (Reply #6)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 01:31 PM

11. And the Amazon case is even more pointed

One of the great joys of any book or music lovers' life used to be browsing in real-world stores... feeling a sense of community in your passion. Getting out... exploring.

But the only reason the small store survived was on the sale of Madonna albums, Tom Clancy best-sellers, Harry Potter movies.

And most people wanting those few popular things were happy to buy them for cost at Best Buy.

And then the aficionado turned on the stores also. Listen at Tower, order from Amazon. And since Amazon wasn't a real space it had a bigger selection than any real-world store could.

Next thing we knew, Tower was gone.

People will take a lower price today... they just will. (I should say, we just will.)

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Response to cthulu2016 (Reply #11)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 01:38 PM

13. I've spent more hours in used book stores than I can count. When I die, my ghost will haunt one.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Reply #11)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 02:39 PM

40. IMO amazon didn't kill Tower, iTunes did

Tower Records was able to withstand many changes in the marketing of music from vinyl to tape to CD's but it was unable to compete with digital downloading.

Admittedly Amazon is now in the downloading biz, but they were a relatively latecomer to the show. CD sales were already well down the crapper before Amazon made downloads available.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Reply #11)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 03:06 PM

41. But what about the small sellers who sell on Amazon?

Most products that Amazon offers are also offered new and used by other sellers. I buy a great deal of used textbooks used from small businesses on Amazon (which are not local, but they are small businesses just the same), and have sold books on there as well. There are very few to no non-chain used book stores in my city and that is a shame because I loved the ones I frequented in Salt Lake City.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Reply #11)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 05:21 PM

48. Small bookstores used to be filled with crappy fiction

Many communities didn't have large bookstores unless there was a college bookstore open to the public. The small bookstores had a small inventory of best selling fiction and similar trash, so to get books that you actually wanted to read required ordering them.

When Borders, Waldenbooks, Barnes&Noble came to town they killed the small bookstores by offering a much wider inventory.

But Amazon and other online bookstores offer a much wider selection -- essentially everything in Bowkers. And they provide much more information about the books.

So Amazon and other online bookstores have greatly improved things for the reader.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Reply #11)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 05:46 PM

49. Excellent point...

 

I always try on/out any new hockey gear locally and then buy it online for a much lower price.

Further, good point overall that Walmart exists because the climate is ripe for it to grow and thrive.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 01:22 PM

7. Even that is changing

And many of the people who shop there can't afford other places...or...there s nowhere else.

There are towns in this country where Wally World is it.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 01:27 PM

8. Or it's simply the fact that Walmart's corporate strategy is predatory

Sure, us humans - us Americans especially, are more than willing to trade instant bargains against long term stability... But I remain unconvinced that this is the main reason for Walmart's success.

If what you wrote was the WHOLE truth (no denying it plays a significant part), we'd be selling our organs on every street corner.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 01:28 PM

9. 1 corporation to rule us all

I'd rather die then pay a lower price to enslave humans.

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Response to Laochtine (Reply #9)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 01:28 PM

10. Reminds me of my Sig :)

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 01:35 PM

12. re: walmart's pricing

 

Well it turns out that Walmart's prices are low — but not necessarily lower than everybody else.

Arch-rival Target, who has continued to make gains at Walmart's expense, may actually beat out Walmart when it comes to lower prices, according to recent studies.

Customer Growth Partners, a retail consulting firm, compared the two retail giants' prices on 35 brand-name items across three categories in stores located in Indiana, New York and North Carolina. Based on consolidated results, Target beat Walmart by about two dollars.

The Consumerist blog, owned by the Consumers Union, quotes the president of Customer Growth Partners as saying, "For the first time in four years, our price comparisons between the two has shown that Target has a slight edge over Walmart. Target stepped up its game during the recession... The company caught up with Walmart on making its supply chain more efficient so it could bring down prices on items people frequently buy."

source: http://www.brandchannel.com/home/post/2011/04/27/Target-Walmart-Prices.aspx

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Response to leftyohiolib (Reply #12)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 01:42 PM

16. They are cheaper, though


flipside: Just long enough to run all competition out of town.

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Response to leftyohiolib (Reply #12)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 01:44 PM

17. Yes. A de facto monopoly always has high prices on some things.

The whole point of being the only game in town is to have pricing power, so the prices can't all be low.

So you have enough things priced to appear cheap, while pricing up other things to have profit.

In the case of Target, as a younger business they are probably more competitive. (And being less rural in focus, is probably operating in more competitive areas.)

All Walmart has to do is make your one-stop shopping a little cheaper overall. But they will never be the cheapest for everything.

Amazon is a good example of this. They are so cheap... except when they are not. There is plenty of stuff mixed in at higher than average prices. But if you are only going to shop at one place they are cheaper... and many people like convenience.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 01:39 PM

14. All of your points are correct in a world that assumes

the laws of the market-place (capitalism) are laws of nature, or divinely inspired laws and not the creation of man. You assume that capitalist laws work in a vacuum, without the influence of other variables, when actually all economic systems work within the context of government charters/rules. These are agreements between businesses and a government, whose people the businesses want to access (exploit).
If a government fails to be a good steward for its people and lets capitalists run amok, the conditions you describe prevail, but when governments are good stewards of the public trust, then business is regulated in a fashion which allows both the business and the community to flourish.
We do not have to be the victims of capitalist greed. What are presented as "market-place laws" are nothing more than what a business can get away with legally. As America deregulated business, over the last few decades, we have seen the quality of life for most working Americans decrease. This is not the result of natural market-place processes it is the result of policy decisions.
These can and must be changed if we want a country that is worth living in.

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Response to iemitsu (Reply #14)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 01:42 PM

15. This!


Also, there is currently a thread on Video+Multimedia that touches this topic. Maybe you wanna join in there too? (The Marx thing)

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Response to iemitsu (Reply #14)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 01:55 PM

19. That is almost opposite to what I said

The OP boils down to: Only government regulation can change an environmental ecology. (I think we are in agreement there.)

The moral education of Sam Walton will not change anything because some other Sam Walton will do just the same things if that is what the environment allows/demands.

The "wage slave" problem was addressed with a minimum wage, not with the moral education of employers.

You are incorrect in suggesting that the laws of the marketplace are man-made. Human psychology is a key factor in how humans operate within those laws, but that is not the same thing.

And the fact that government changes the environment is always part of the overall equation. Government changes the environment in response to the effect of our natural market behavior.

(Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations talks about the natural tilt toward monopolies and the need for government to change the playing field to resist that. There has never been capitalism without government except in Ayn Rand novels.)

Basic concepts of supply and demand do not presume any particular environment. They just suggest what will happen in a given environment.

A minimum wage law changes the risk/reward equation in paying people too little money. If such a law had no penalty then it would change nothing. But the law has enough teeth to change the equation of the employer's self interest. Paying $1/hour is less good than going to jail is bad.

That is still a marketplace decision, same as any other.

The government changes the economic environment for all players and the optimal economic behavior changes.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Reply #19)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 02:07 PM

26. Where do you think the laws of the market-place come from if not from mankind?

"You are incorrect in suggesting that the laws of the marketplace are man-made. Human psychology is a key factor in how humans operate within those laws, but that is not the same thing".
Market-place laws are not natural laws, they are determined by policy.

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Response to iemitsu (Reply #14)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 06:02 PM

50. Excellent post

Spot on analysis of how economics works in the real world. Although I must state that even my econ textbooks, when looked at critically, explains all of this.

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Response to laundry_queen (Reply #50)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 12:57 AM

59. Thank you. It really drives me when

people act as if "the laws of the market-place" are anything other than rules, that any given country designs, to regulate or control its economy. These rules can be whatever those in charge want them to be. They are not written in stone and weren't delivered from heaven on golden tablets. The rules are different from place to place and they change over time.
Sure, there are human dynamics or responses to economic conditions that can be tracked, and quantified, and ultimately be labeled "laws", when enough like responses are counted to suggest that specific economic conditions elicit certain human responses, but the conditions are still created by governing bodies, not by some magic, unchangeable, "Laws of the Market-Place".
Capitalism was devised in modern times to aid in the growth of industry and the distribution and trade of manufactured items. It has worked pretty well to achieve that end. But in the process of sponsoring industrial wealth it also sponsored horrific poverty and misery.
Capital is an invention of human beings, to convert wealth into portable and safe notes-of-exchange, designed to make the trading of goods and services easier. Money is a promise, created out of thin air, with inconstant value. It's ephemeral. Nothing about capital (money) is constant, including the laws that govern it.
The "laws of the market-place" are the rules that the monied/business/government elites use to justify the huge inequities and human suffering that their policy decisions sponsor. By referring to these decisions as "laws" they hope to avoid personal responsibility for who benefits and who is harmed by their choices.

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Response to iemitsu (Reply #59)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 02:51 AM

63. Sorry, but you are mistaken about the nature of markets.

The error is so fundamental that it is hard to know where to start.

It really drives me when people act as if "the laws of the market-place" are anything other than rules, that any given country designs, to regulate or control its economy.


The nature of the marketplace is that thing which is regulated by rules, "that any given country designs, to regulate or control its economy."

Don't you recognize that the regulations you refer to wouldn't do a thing if there was not a natural state to regulate?

Government obviously does not create the base conditions of the marketplace. If it did then there could be not marketplace without government, which would mean evolution doesn't work and none of us even exist.

Have you asked yourself, regarding your picture of the matter, "What would the world be like if this was true?"

Have you ever wondered why all mass transit systems that charge a fee to ride have mechanisms to deal with people wanting to ride for free? Why aren't there enough people choosing to pay double to off-set the people choosing to pay zero?

Where did the tragedy of the commons come from? It quite obviously is not a government invention.

Most people prefer the most in exchange for the least... intrinsically. That is the raw material that economic rules shape.

A cat will take greater risks to get meat the hungrier the cat is. That is an economic risk/reward decision the cat makes.

What government created the first human act of barter?

Natural laws dictate that given our particular set of rules and our particular environment, the action of natural laws within our economy, within our regulatory constrains, or lack of restraints, something(s) Walmart will tend to exist.

Start torturing everyone who owns a chain with more than five stores and Walmart will be much less likely to exist. Did the government create our human aversion to being tortured? Was everyone fine with pain until government came along?

We might as well say that gravity is something created by elevators.


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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 01:58 PM

20. The ones who don't work there

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 02:01 PM

21. I don't like WALMART

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 02:03 PM

22. The solution is that they need to grow the fuck up, face that they're feeding the predator...

and shop elsewhere. Be disciplined. Change shopping habits. Make the right choices. Make local choices. We get the country we're willing to pay for. Seriously -- and no disrespect to how you see this -- no matter how tight people's budget, this is really not a complicated decision for those who spend according to their consciences and not expedience. This country needs to end its walmart addiction.

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Response to ancianita (Reply #22)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 02:36 PM

39. Amen and hallelujah! I urge all to comparison shop. I say this because I've

done so and was amazed. Not only can buy closer to home but I can avoid poorer grade fresh vegetables/fruit and meat. I don't have to subject myself to the downsizing my local Wal-Mart has undergone both in product selection and fewer associates (longer check out times) and unhappy employees. I live with very little income and I am better off avoiding W-M. We've been conditioned to this "live better" shop W-Mm meme.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 02:03 PM

23. Reading "To Serve God and Wal-Mart" right now

Can't help but think the Republican Party is Wal-Mart, Democrats are Target, and that Wal-Mart's best days are behind it.

Wal-Mart is not just fundy-soaked with red state roots, it has benefited mightily from Big Gov't from the get-go. The Ozarks as a retirement destination happened because of dams and man-made lakes built by the Army Corps of Engineers; the first real Wal-Mart was built near a military base because Sam realized the shopping alternatives were so bad people bought everything at the exchange (henceforth Sam kept a close eye on defense spending, which really took off under Reagan, when choosing
locations); retirees cruising around in RV's in guaranteed economic security were another key constituency, etc.

Against that backdrop, it's cruelly ironic that a company that owes so much to Big Gov't essentially uses the safety net to underpay its employees and pad its
profits.

I find this company to be a big lie, and I hope it eventually drowns in its own contradictions, like the double-dealing conservatives who love them so. If there ever was a retailer that was tailor-made for the keep your Gov't hands off my Medicare crowd, it's Wal-Mart.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 02:05 PM

24. Most people I know can't stand to shop there.

The vast majority of them shop there on a regular basis. They hate the crowds. They hate the cheaply-made products. They hate the cluttered aisles. They hate the long checkout lines. The real problem is that an awful lot of people put up with that crap because they have been convinced that Walmart has the best prices on everything. So, they automatically go there, without bothering to check out all the sale papers, couponing web sites, etc.

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Response to GoCubsGo (Reply #24)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 02:08 PM

28. I have only shopped there once in my life, and my friends

don't shop there. It gives me the creeps.

But I and my friends are not representative of everyone.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Reply #28)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 02:22 PM

33. Just about everyone I know shops there.

Family, friends, casual acquaintances. But, whenever I point out web sites to them, such as couponmom.com or southernsavers.com, their Walmart visits become less frequent. As soon as they find out they can get much better deals elsewhere, they don't automatically run to Squallmart. Shopping around has gotten a whole lot easier with the Internet.

About the only time I go there is for craft supplies. The only other nearby option for that is Hobby Lobby. While Walmart gives me the creeps, too, it doesn't even come close to the level of creepiness at Hobby Lobby.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 02:05 PM

25. What would a Wal Mart look like

if you got rid of all the unnecessary crap they sell? People need stuff to live, but nobody needs half the stuff Wall Mart sells. Their primary product is the illusion of wealth through the accumulation of stuff. The more stuff people have, the richer they feel. It's a sort of "retail therapy".

Wall Mart's business model exploits consumerism in it's lowest form. They are the biggest disaster capitalists of the lot.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 02:08 PM

27. If these corporations were making use of overseas labor but still allowing us to maintain

a high standard of living, I suspect we wouldn't mind so much. Say unions were strong and worked things to make a 30 hours a week at good wages the norm. There is enough wealth being generated to do that IMO. The only thing is that we'd be relying on exploiting slave labor to maintain that.

I have to admit that as long as the corporations are abusing people overseas, I'd go along with their kicking part of that my way. Wrong yes, but if that were the case, I'd probably fall for ignoring the plight of the workers like the 1% does now.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 02:13 PM

29. But those low prices and the "lack" of profit thereby caused

 

should be shared by all involved, instead it falls almost exclusively on the lowest 97% of workers at Wal-mart and at their related suppliers.

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Response to Lionessa (Reply #29)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 02:19 PM

31. I agree. But that is because of the system, not because of Walmart.

If wolves keep coming to eat your chickens you would put up a fence. Whether the wolf is evil is kind of irrelevant.

With single payer health care and a higher minimum wage the effect of Walmart would be less bad without changing the moral quality of Walmart management in any way.

That's what the OP is about... Walmart is not a unique evil, it is an inevitable product of a set of economic realities.

Only changing the environment can change the creatures in it.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 02:22 PM

32. George McGovern, ca. 1972, propsoed a Guaranteed Annual Income (aka

 

"Negative Income Tax") that all citizens and permanent residents would qualify for, irrespective of the person's employment status. This proposal would constitute a true safety net and serve as a floor to force employers like WalMart to pay a living wage. Why? Because if every person received a Guaranteed Annual Income without working at WalMart, only the promise of greater compensation would lure them off unemployment to staff WalMart's aisles. (Functions for labor in the same manner as agricultural price supports function for agricultural commodities.)

I've often wondered why the Democratic Party has not pursued this as the next logical extension of the New Deal and Great Society.

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Response to coalition_unwilling (Reply #32)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 02:23 PM

35. +1

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 02:22 PM

34. Love them or hate them,

Wal-Mart's business strategy is pretty clever. The owner knows that there are a ton of people out there who are struggling to make ends meet, and he knows that less affluent people are willing to buy more shit from him. That's why he sells some of everything in his stores and he makes his prices lower than his competitors, so all the dollars come flowing in. It's just like the situation where 5 people own 90% of the media. It's about eliminating the competition so that people have nowhere else to turn to.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 02:24 PM

36. Cheap prices for shitty products.

What a fucking bargain, eh?

Wallyworld apologists make me want to

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 02:28 PM

37. The same could be said of the entire "corporate culture" market dominance

If you look at your dollars as votes, every day the majority of people vote for the corporations that dominate the consumer landscape. If they didn't, things would change immediately according to their different choices, so in a way "corporate dominance" is a very democratic expression. It gets voted back into power every day.

For the record, I do like to think of my money as a vote, and I spend it carefully. Its one of the few ways I have of making any difference anywhere, and I choose to use it as a means of keeping local businesses that treat their employees well healthy, of rewarding people who do good work, of rewarding care and fairness, and so forth. I haven't spent a dime at Walmart in over a decade.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 03:07 PM

42. Local stores don't carry the variety of amazon or other online stores

I wind up doing most of my shopping online not because of liking online stores but because they are the only people who carry the stuff I want to buy. I don't shop at walmart much for the same reason.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 03:48 PM

43. You're Forgetting: Our Economy Stinks in General

 

if MORE people were employed, and if more people were making the income they should be-- people would have MORE disposable income, and we wouldn't need cheap ass wal-mart stores to begin with.

Not sure why this causality gets lost in the equation.

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Response to Iggy (Reply #43)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 03:04 AM

64. Walmart took off during the best economy since the 1960s.

The explosion of Walmart was the single most dramatic example of the productivity gains of the 1990s.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Reply #64)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 06:33 AM

65. Correct, However, New Businesses Survive Due to Specific

 

reasons. plus, Wal Mart has changed significantly since the 1960's- for the worse

Are you implying if people made more money, they would still shop at cheap ass, poor-service Wal Mart? that may be true, but they couldn't do so based on not being able to afford shopping someplace more upscale.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 03:51 PM

44. "like"? compared to what? most people earn less than $16/hour, that's why they

 

"like" walmart.

they'd "like" saks 5th avenue too, if they could afford it.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 03:55 PM

46. I'm wondering

Is Walmart a manifestation of the liberal paradox?

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 06:21 PM

51. I am often dismayed that I cannot convince otherwise

liberal/progressive/Democrats not to shop at WalMart. They will hold on to the claim that the prices there are cheaper.

I have not been to one in about a decade. A year or so ago I wound up inside a Sam's Club with a friend who was looking to buy some specific things. The store did not have the specific kind of coffee filters needed. There was something else she wanted that they did not have. I checked on the prices of two or three other items, and when we went to a local grocery store, all of the things were cheaper at the grocery store.

I have also heard many complaints about the crappy quality of goods there. I often remind people that "You get what you pay for" is always valid.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 06:44 PM

52. I grew up in suburban NY, but in many small towns and rural

places in this country, there was little or no selection, quality or variety available to consumers. Walmart was a boon to them when one opened near them. The best shopping they ever had. Difficult for us big city folk to appreciate and some of us are too young to even remember when there were no Walmarts. I don't shop there at all, but I understand why others do.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 07:25 PM

53. OP is pretty close

But it sounds to me an awful lot like the arguments in favor of rational government regulations applied to corporate citizens within a capitalist economy.
I agree.
Any person with an open mind should recognize the need to protect employers from being their own worst enemy by using regulations (rules of the game) to stifle the worst abuses represented by monolithic retail operations. We used to have protections for workers that wanted to help the employer to function as a good citizen by joining a trade union. Americans were smart enough to understand that empowering the workers to ensure that their voice is heard when the employer makes decisions that affect the daily environment of the work-place and the future of the workers and the surrounding comunity, was just a necessary application of American pragmatism.
The OP makes the point very clear that corporate citizens like Walmart will never choose what is best for America, unless they are forced to by regulations and powerful unions.
High national rates of unionization, a return to labor rights and powerful regulations are the only way to force bad corporate ciitizens to do what is right. The black friday strikes are just the begining of the push to re-establish common sense and fairness to the employment and economic landscape of America.
I'm typing all this on a phone, so please be patient with my entries if you happen to notice a couple run-on sentences or other grammatical mistakes. I would hope that here at DU, content is more important than form.

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Response to sigmasix (Reply #53)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 07:37 PM

54. Some will attack you on grammer

but I will say just this. Labor unrest is growing. I am covering more and more of those stories.

Yes, tomorrow will be at a local Wallmart to cover this.

But there is also one thing that is happening (part of the pressure by the way), there is a significant group of people who will not shop at Wally World and dislike them highly... they are also part of the pressure.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 11:41 PM

55. The heart of the problem

Is that many people have no place else to shop.

People in rural areas aren't given a lot of choices. The only option would be to drive much farther, which causes the problem of polluting the air and wasting gas.

Or, in my case, I'm just too disabled to drive that far. I'd be in too much pain to make it home.

The problem isn't with Walmart customers, but with Walmart execs being too greedy to pay their employees well and give good benefits.

I think the Black Friday walkout/boycott is a good start. Another thing that would help, is if other chain stores would stop being even greedier than Walmart, by refusing to build supermarkets in smaller cities, so they could be accessed by rural and small city people who have no "mom and pop" stores in the area.

The problem with Walmart is that it's not JUST an issue of Walmart's greed. It's an issue of all corporations being greedy.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 11:59 PM

56. OP nicely states the premise of the South Park episode

which is quite hilarious, imho, if you like that kind of thing, not that there's anything wrong with that.

http://www.southparkstudios.com/full-episodes/s08e09-something-wall-mart-this-way-comes

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 12:08 AM

57. It's a race to the bottom until we unionize Wal-Mart. nt

 

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 12:34 AM

58. On the other hand, with Amazon

 

it has allowed me to buy books I otherwise would not have. For example, at the beginning of each school year, we buy used copies of each of our kids' textbooks (often under $10 each) so they can have a copy at home and one at school so they do not have to lug a heavy backpack back and forth.

I would not have done that if not for places like Amazon. And a book gets more use that it otherwise likely would not have,

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 02:24 AM

61. Some items can't be purchased online efficiently and high volume sellers can't handle

their sale. Such items are small in number, but they exist. My concern is that some classes of labor will be under pressure forever. Before modern transportation, laborers and semi-skilled workers were isolated for competition with cheaper labor and semi-skilled workers in other parts of the world. Faster, efficient transportation reduced the isolation, creating situations where companies could move some types of labor to locations of the world where that labor was cheaper. The manufacturers would in turn sell the less expensive products in wealthier markets for standard prices, creating an enormous profit for them and higher ups in their companies.

The solution being proposed by politicians is to up-skill the population. While this approach will work over a period of a generation, in today's world, it will fail to produce economic stability for those up skilled workers.

One solution, IMO, would be to up-skill workers while applying tariffs on products that are made in inexpensive markets, forcing those products to cost as much as products made in the USA. The problem with that approach is that consumers will be paying more for basic items like clothing, household products and shoes, as well as luxury items such as electronics and electronic games.

A second solution is the stove-piping of manufacturing and consumerism across the world. This approach is one where products are manufactured and sold ONLY in the country that they are manufactured in. In this model, products made in inexpensive labor markets can only be sold to consumers living in the country of those labor markets. More expensive labor markets would consume only products made in those markets, cheaper imports would be banned completely. This model has not been used at any time in the history of humankind. Typically, what has happened is that a labor market that had an advantage over other markets, such as what the USA enjoyed over most of the world for decades, would produce products for it's consumers and export those products to markets that could not make those products. This model would work well for workers all over the world, and since workers are consumers also and taxes are involved, the model would work for consumers and governments. The entities that would be left in the cold would be multinational manufacturers and export/import shipping organizations, since these very groups wield large economic and political power, I don't see this solution working unless political leaders worldwide decide that it is the model that will be used and honor agreements with each other not to import in products made less expensively, or export products out of a labor market if those products are made in the targeted markets.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 02:34 AM

62. I hate Wallyworld too,but I live in a rural area with no choices.

Lots o'destroyed downtowns.
20 miles to wallyworld, kroger or HEB one way for groceries. And a Lowe's.
55 miles to Target, one way--Lufkin.
150 miles to Costco, one way--Houston or Dallas.

My town has no dry cleaner, no florist, a very small hardware store, and a few greasy spoon restaurants I refuse to eat at. The only healthy place is a Subway sandwich store.

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