Sunday, December 18, 2005

The Beast From Bennington

Wal Mart isn’t just expanding in the US, but is muscling their way into overseas markets as well. In Latin America, they have become one of the top five retailers.
This is dream come true for Wal Mart. That part of the world has little middle class to speak of, and the rights of both unions and consumers is next to zero. This is the perfect environment for a company which will do anything, regardless how underhanded, to make the greatest profit.
It’s also no wonder Wal Mart has such a cosy relationship with the totalitarian state of China. After all,"uppity" workers who live in a democracy where unions are allowed is very bad for a low-end discount chain.
And the shameful fact is that this low-end discounter is now the top employer in the US. Most of their employees work only part time, have few benefits and tend to have a very high turnover.
What we have in this country seems to be vicious cycle. As many working people see there wages stagnate, workers from well paying jobs outsourced and benefits and pensions are being slashed.
And, as a result, many more people are shopping at discount chains like Wal-Mart. They are virtually being "forced" by social-economic conditions to do so.
The more people shop at such places, the more well paying jobs will be outsourced in the quest for ever lower prices. And so and so on.
Of course, there is a limit to how far this trend can go. If workers are payed too little, they won’t be able to buy products even at a low-end discount chain. But, Wal-Mart and its ilk do have a stake in relatively low wages for the populous. Because people who are of greater means generally don’t shop at such places. If there were no "lower class", Wal-Mart and similar stores might very well go out of business.


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