Thursday, February 10, 2005

"built on the grave of a dozen former jobs"

I'm not anti-union per se, and I certainly don't view 200-odd people losing their jobs as some sort of Haw-haw moment. But there are certain economic realities that are so unavoidable that they might as well be considered laws of nature.

Before you commend or excoriate Wal-Mart for anything, I implore you to read this essay by "liberal capitalist" Evan Kirchhoff. No excerpt can do it justice, but I realize that's the custom:
Which brings us, inevitably, to Wal-Mart. Feel free not to shop at Wal-Mart -- hell, pick a reason: the creepy good 'ol boy corporate culture, the renorming of their media products for an evangelical-Christian pocket universe, the apparent see-no-evil attitude towards abusive local managers -- but don't believe that you're striking a blow for working-class wages by doing so.

I insist you read the whole thing.


At 8:20 a.m., Blogger Jay said...

I'd give it a "haw" moment, but maybe not a "haw-haw" moment.

One of the elephants in the room when dealing with the matter of big boxes is the effect of direct and indirect subsidies on their business model.

Look through the US and you're bound to come across some unsavory "eminent domain" abuse as well as the extension of public services (water, sewer, roads) into their land at bargain prices. As for just in time deliveries and warehousing practices, the public road system (being "free" and all) serves as a massive assembly line onto which they can offload their significant transportation costs.

The Quebec labour board can go bloody hang for all I care, but I'd like to see much less state-capitalism out of the Wal-Marts of the world before I enthusiastically cheer them on.


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