An excellent article on Walmart being evil or not – a fairly objective seeming overview of the major points of discussion for the different camps on Walmart.
That’s a good thing, right? If a company achieves its lower prices by finding better and smarter ways of doing things, then yes, everybody wins. But if it cuts costs by cutting pay and benefits–or by sending production to China–then not everybody wins. And here’s where the story of Good Wal-Mart starts to falter. Just as its Everyday Low Prices benefit shoppers who’ve never come near a Wal-Mart, there are mounting signs that its Everyday Low Pay (Wal-Mart’s full-time hourly employees average $9.76 an hour) is hurting some workers who have never worked there. For example, unionized supermarkets in California–faced with studies showing a 13% to 16% drop in grocery prices after Wal-Mart enters a market–have been trying to slash labor costs to compete, triggering a protracted strike. The $15 billion in goods that Wal-Mart and its suppliers imported from China in 2003, meanwhile, accounted for nearly 11% of the U.S. total–contributing, some economists argue, to further erosion of U.S. wages.
Where you stand on Wal-Mart, then, seems to depend on where you sit. If you’re a consumer, Wal-Mart is good for you. If you’re a wage earner, there’s a good chance it’s bad. If you’re a Wal-Mart shareholder, you want the company to grow. If you’re a citizen, you probably don’t want it growing in your backyard. So, which one are you?