Carpe Diem

Wal-Mart deserves the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize for improving the lives of millions of low-income consumers globally

Image Credit: Walmart Corporate photostream (Flickr) (CC BY 2.0)

Image Credit: Walmart Corporate photostream (Flickr) (CC BY 2.0)

In the July 12 Washington Post, Princeton University Professor Rebekah Peeples Massengill wrote an article titled “Five Myths About Wal-Mart.” Here’s part of her explanation for Wal-Mart myth No. 3, that “Wal-Mart is [supposedly] great for low-income Americans“:

Prioritizing consumption (what we pay for goods) over production (what workers earn for making goods) means that even low-income families whose economic futures have been jeopardized by the outsourcing of manufacturing jobs can see Wal-Mart as a savior, not a villain. Yet the retail giant’s genius lies in camouflaging its exploitation in terms that frame its relentless cost-cutting as a kind of benevolence. For example, the company in 2006 declared itself “a lifeline” for millions of Americans facing harsh and uncertain economic times, adding that “perhaps more than any single company in America, Walmart is providing the opportunity for a better life for poor and working families.” Still, even if Wal-Mart’s low prices help low-income Americans make ends meet at the cash register, the low wages offered by Wal-Mart do little to help low-income families shoulder the burden of other rising costs, such as health care and housing.

Professor Massengill seems to concede that Wal-Mart’s “everyday low prices” are pretty great for the millions of low-income (and middle-income) Americans who save millions of dollars by shopping at Wal-Marts, so it’s really not a myth after all is it, that Wal-Mart is great for low-income Americans?

But then to salvage the argument that Wal-Mart is maybe not great for all low-income Americans, the professor paints a pretty bleak picture of Wal-Mart’s “low wages” to suggest that Wal-Mart’s significant benefits to the thousands of low-income consumers who shop at a Wal-Mart store are somehow more than offset by the exploitative “low wages” paid to about 300 employees at each store? That seems like a pretty weak argument, and it’s not convincing at all that Wal-Mart is “not great for low-income Americans,” but it’s recycling the persistent myth that “jobs at Wal-Mart are a dead-end cycle that keeps people in poverty.”

Here are some comments about working at Wal-Mart:

1. According to Wal-Mart, its wages are “at or above the retail industry average. In addition to competitive pay, our benefits include a 401K plan with a company match, education assistance, merchandise discounts, and health care. Health care plans are available to eligible hourly associates starting at $17 per pay period. All employees — full and part time — receive quarterly bonus opportunities based on store performance. Last year, these bonuses earned by hourly associates totaled more than $770 million.” Sounds like a pretty good deal for millions of low-income Americans who work for Wal-Mart.

2. When Wal-Mart opens a new store, it’s not uncommon for the retailer to receive 10,000 to 25,000 applications for 300-400 openings, which is a ratio of 25 or more applications per job opening, and an acceptance rate of 1.5% to 4%. If Wal-Mart was such a horrible place to work, why are so many low-income Americans so apparently desperate to work there?

Consider that at Princeton University, where Professor Massengill teaches, the elite Ivy League institution gets “only” about 13 applications for every available freshman opening, and its admit rate is 7.9%. Think about it — Wal-Marts get about twice as many applications per job opening as Princeton gets per opening in its freshman class, and is therefore in a position to be more selective when selecting employees than Princeton when it selects its first-year class! So given their alternatives, thousands of low-skilled, low-income workers must find the job and career opportunities at Wal-Mart extremely attractive since they apply in such large numbers whenever a new Wal-Mart store opens.

3. Why do so many low-income (and middle-income) Americans really, really want to work at Wal-Mart in entry-level jobs? In addition to the generous above-market compensation at Wal-Mart (as demonstrated by the fact that it gets 25 applications per opening), low-income Americans want to work there for the lucrative career opportunities for advancement at the giant retailer. Wal-Mart boasts that “75% of its store management started as entry-level hourly associates, and they earn between $50,000 and $170,000 a year — similar to what firefighters, accountants, and even doctors make.” And similar to what an assistant professor earns at Princeton University — $94,000 — and many Wal-Mart managers make even much more than that.

4. As an example of the career opportunities at Wal-Mart, consider the case of 50-year old Patricia Curran, until recently Wal-Mart’s executive vice president of people, and listed by Fortune Magazine in 2006 as one of the 50 most powerful women in the US. She was also listed by the Wall Street Journal as one of the “The Top 50 Women to Watch 2006.”

At age 20, Ms. Curran started her career at Wal-Mart as an hourly associate in the pet department, and was subsequently promoted to department manager, assistant manager, co-manager, store manager, regional personnel manager, district manager, operations coordinator, regional vice president, divisional merchandise manager, senior vice president of Wal-Mart store operations, executive vice president of Wal-Mart store operations, and was most recently promoted to executive vice-president of people in 2007. Although going from hourly associate to the senior management ranks of Wal-Mart is certainly not typical, it nonetheless illustrates the significant career advancement opportunities available at the world’s largest retailer, and helps explain why more people apply per job opening at Wal-Mart than students apply per opening at Princeton.

Bottom Line: Any neutral observer who looks at the significant economic benefits generated by Wal-Mart in terms of everyday low retail prices for groceries, prescription drugs, clothing, and household items that generate billions of dollars in cost savings for low-income Americans, along with millions of job opportunities in cities across America for low-income Americans with above-market compensation and significant advancement opportunities, could only come to one conclusion: Wal-Mart is truly great for low-income Americans.

Inspired by this Vancouver Sun article and to provide some counterbalance to Professor Massengill’s vilification of Wal-Mart, I hereby nominate Wal-Mart for the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize for its significant contributions to society, for improving the US and world economies, for directly creating more than two million jobs worldwide at its retail outlets and helping to support many thousands of jobs indirectly for all of the thousands of suppliers to Wal-Mart, and for its contributions to improving the lives of millions of lower-income consumers by offering “Everyday Low Prices.”

92 thoughts on “Wal-Mart deserves the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize for improving the lives of millions of low-income consumers globally

  1. Yet another economically ignorant academic.

    It is completely unsurprising that Ms. Massengill’s views curry favor with leftists, and when implemented result in increased poverty and hardship.

    It is getting very hard to explain this ignorance away as anything other than intentional.

  2. ” Think about it – it’s easier to get accepted for admission to Princeton University than it is to get a job at Wal-Mart!”

    i realize this is a bit tongue in cheek, but this is so false and used so disingenuously that it really needs to be said.

    this is a completely bogus comparison. pretty much just to be one of the 13 fighting for spot at princeton, you’d already be one of the 25 that got hired at walmart.

    comparing the 2 applicant pools is absurd.

    • morg,

      Comparing two different populations is standard and a completely legitimate form of comparison. They aren’t absurd at all.

      • It costs $65 to apply to Princeton. Wal-Mart needs to charge the same amount if we wish to compare the applicant pool numbers.

        • Walt

          It costs $65 to apply to Princeton. Wal-Mart needs to charge the same amount if we wish to compare the applicant pool numbers.

          Hmm. A Walmart help wanted ad might read as follows:

          “Apply now! No application fee – first 1000 applicants. FREE ESTIMATE,… of your ability to be a valuable employee at Walmart.

      • ken-

        oh, come on.

        that’s like saying that 1 in 50 nfl players gets chosen for the all star game but only one in 100 students gets chosen to be a national merit scholar, therefore it’s harder to become a national merit scholar or that only one in 30 Olympians wins a medal and only 1 in 50 cub scouts wins the pinewood derby so it’s easier to win an olympic medal than it is to win the pinewood derby.

        if you fail to control for how difficult it is to even get into the population from which you are selecting a winner, then the comparison is pretty meaningless.

        would you seriously try to argue that it’s easier to get into princeton than to get a job at walmart?

        i would bet that nearly all the princeton applicants could get a job at walmart and that few if any folks who got the job at walmart could get into princeton.

        • ” Think about it – it’s easier to get accepted for admission to Princeton University than it is to get a job at Wal-Mart!”

          I should have pointed out what is fairly obvious (but failed to point out in my first response). You said the above, not Mark. What Mark actually said was “Think about it — Wal-Marts get about twice as many applications per job opening as Princeton gets per opening in its freshman class, and is therefore in a position to be more selective when selecting employees than Princeton when it selects its first-year class!” At no point did he claim it’s “easier” to get into Princeton that to get a job at Walmart. You said that. You are the one being disingenuous. Mark made the obvious, and correct, claim that Walmart is “in a position to be more selective when selecting employees than Princeton when it selects its first-year class” because it has more applicants per job opening, than Princeton has applicants per student opening.

          You should note that what you’ve done is an excellent illustration of a strawman argument. You’ve slightly changed what Mark said, which of course completely changes the meaning of what Mark said, then said that Mark is being “absurd” by claiming he said what you said. He didn’t. Acting like he did doesn’t change this fact at all.

          And you make the remarkably stupid claim that the comparison of two different populations was “absurd”. However, pretty much the entire point of statistics, particularly as it’s used in social science (e.g., economics), is for the comparison of two different populations.

          if you fail to control for how difficult it is to even get into the population

          Of course, Mark did just that what he said that Walmart is “in a position to be more selective when selecting employees than Princeton when it selects its first-year class”.

          I know English can be hard and that you normally can parse it, but you failed pretty badly here. Mark is clearly controlling for the population by restricting his observation to the the population, and said nothing about the ease of getting into either population.

          Additionally, your observation that it is easier for an Olympian to beat out the other 30 Olympians than it is for a cub scout to be out the other 50 cub scouts is in fact correct and does take into account the population, the same way Mark did.

          • um, no.

            “Walmart is “in a position to be more selective when selecting employees than Princeton when it selects its first-year class” because it has more applicants per job opening, than Princeton has applicants per student opening.”

            maybe we are quibbling over what “selective” means here, but when one speaks of a “selective school” they mean one that is hard to get into and acceptance to application ratio is only a part of that picture.

            wal mart is not in a position to be more selective because there has already been an intense selection process among those who would even apply to princeton and this princeton is selecting among the select whereas wal mart is not.

            again, this may be semantic, but claiming that wal mart is more selective in it’s hiring than princeton is in its enrollment seems like a deliberately misleading comparison that obscures more than it reveals.

            “Mark is clearly controlling for the population by restricting his observation to the the population, and said nothing about the ease of getting into either population. ”

            which makes the comparison misleading and meaningless.

            it’s just rhetorical legerdemain.

            by the logic you are pushing, if i have one job opening at my lemonade stand and 50 3rd graders apply, i am more selective than any of these groups.

            does that statement really say anyhting meaningful?

          • just to be clear here:

            saying that wal mart gets 25 applications for every job IS a meaningful statement.

            it shows that lots of people find the proposition attractive.

            as a stand alone fact, this is meaningful and conveys useful information.

            but what meaningful and useful information does comparing that to the acceptance rate at Princeton provide?

            it’s apples and oranges.

            hell, it’s apples and rhinoceroses.

            you speak of parsing language, but what we are really doing here is parsing meaning.

            a comparison should have a purpose and convey meaningful and useful information.

            that comparison does not. just what is it trying to say?

            what useful information does it impart?

            surely you are not going to argue that getting a job at wal mart is harder than getting into princeton or that winning the pinewood derby is harder than winning the gold in the 100 meter dash.

            if we focus just on the Olympics as an example and take the 100m dash, we can show how absurd this line of reasoning is.

            let’s say there are 100 competitors. they run in 10 heats of 10, and the winner of each goes on to a final.

            thus, from the beginning, you have 1 gold per 100, and in the final, one gold per 10. by your reasoning, this makes it easier to win the final than the whole event.

            does that statement actually say anyhting meaningful and useful about how hard or selective things are?

            it’s just a bad comparison.

            winning the final is going to be harder because there was already a previous layer of selection.

            to ignore that leaves out to much inforamtion that is salient to the picture.

            you seem to be the one who language and logic is failing here.

            the purpose of language is to communicate information.

            the effect of that comparison is to obscure it.

          • All right, if you think your “parsing meaning” tell me if you can see any substantive difference between these two statements:

            1. wal mart is more selective in it’s hiring than princeton

            2. Wal-Marts is in a position to be more selective when selecting employees than Princeton

            The only way to say that 1 and 2 are the same is to say that being in a position to perform some task X is actually the same as doing X. If you see no difference, there is nothing left to be said and nothing I say will make a difference.

            However, if you think the statements are different, you have been arguing 1, while Mark argued 2. And by the way, the slight change made to write 1, which has a different meaning that 2, then arguing that 1 is what the person who uttered 2 actually means is, again, the very definition of a straw man argument.

            by the logic you are pushing, if i have one job opening at my lemonade stand and 50 3rd graders apply, i am more selective than any of these groups.

            False.

            You can have the last word. I get bored with people who cannot differentiate between to statements and stubbornly claim those two statements are the same.

          • ken-

            no.

            that’s just more rhetoric to disguise meaning.

            if you have a choice of a pinto, a gremiln, a yugo, a trabi, and a pacer and i have a choice of a bmw 5 series, 911 turbo, or a ford f150 would you seriously argue that you are “in a position to be more selective when selecting” a vehicle than i am?

            by your logic, you are. by any sort of standard or reasonable analysis, you are not.

            neither of the statements you make are true.

            1. wal mart is more selective in it’s hiring than princeton

            2. Wal-Marts is in a position to be more selective when selecting employees than Princeton

            for 2 to be true, the applicant pools would have to be equivalent.

            they are, by your own admission, not.

            if there is an intense selection process for the best architect in the us with each state having a finalist and giving you a choice of 50 or if you go grab 100 random people off the beach, by your logic, the latter provides more opportunity to be selective in choosing who to design your house.

            this is clearly false.

            selective (adj) Relating to or involving the selection of the most suitable or best qualified.

            most suitable and best qualified is the key part of this definition.

            if you have a choice of 50 top architects you can better choose someone most suitable and best qualified to design your home that even 500 random people off the beach.

            the selection that went into the initial pool IS relevant.

            the straw man here is your definition of selective.

            selective does not mean “chosen among the most things” it means best able to choose the best and most qualified.

            so let’s boil this down to the very basics:

            what is it that you think that comparison shows? what valid and useful information is conveyed by it?

            none.

            it’s apples and oranges to make a false point about “selectivity” using a definition that no one uses.

            “by the logic you are pushing, if i have one job opening at my lemonade stand and 50 3rd graders apply, i am more selective than any of these groups.

            False.”

            oh please. for someone who claims to be sick of those who cannot differentiate, you seem painfully unwilling to do so yourself. that’s not an answer, it’s just a silly claim based on professed hair splitting which is not actually even semantically correct.

            no one uses the definition of selective that you do.

            you are twisting the meaning of the word to try to defend a false premise.

          • Sorry Morg, I have to side with Ken and Dr. Perry here.

            Dr. Perry did not say, nor did he even imply, that it was easier to get into Princeton than it was to get a job at Walmart. What he was comparing was the number of applicants for the 2 different positions. Clearly Walmart has more people applying for a job than Princeton has applying for admittance. So his comment on that fact was “Walmart is therefore in a position to be more selective when selecting employees than Princeton when it selects its first-year class!”

            He made no mention of how hard it was to get into Princeton or what the qualifications where for a job at Walmart. He was talking about the selection process that Walmart goes through versus the process Princeton goes through. Walmart can on a relative basis be more selective since they have more applicants per position that does Princeton.

          • at core, what you are doing is trying to claim that more choice is the same as better selection.

            it’s not.

            if there are 100 Olympic runners and you get to pick from the 97 who do not podium and i get to pick from the 3 that do, you have more choices, but i have better ability to select the fasted runner.

            selection is choosing that which is best suited for a task.

            the pool from which you choose has enormous implications for that.

          • Morg,

            I agree with what you are saying, of course for someone with the qualifications to even be considered by Princeton, (or should I say for someone who feels he is qualified to be accepted at Princeton and would then even bother to send in an application to the school), then that person would likely be much more qualified to work at Walmart that most all of the 10,000 applicants that they get when they open a new store.

            The post by Dr. Perry was not meant to compare the quality of the respective pool of applicants, just the quantity.

            Look at it this way, if you are in a line waiting for a job/admissions interview and there are 24 people in front of you, would you think you had a better or worse chance at getting the job or being admitted if there instead 12 people in front of you?

            So now reverse that, if you are the interviewer and you had 25 people in line, would you feel you could be more selective that if you only have 13?

            That is what i think Dr. Perry was getting at.

          • gmf-

            i think you are mistaking “having more choices” with “being more selective”.

            “selective (adj) Relating to or involving the selection of the most suitable or best qualified.”

            so let’s try a thought experiment.

            wal mart currently gets 25 applicant per job.

            let’s say that instead they got 13 per job, but instead of their typical pool of applicants, instead they got a pool of princeton grads.

            to my mind that would given them fewer people to choose between, but a far greater ability to find the “most suitable and best qualified” people for the job.

            that is the definition of selective.

            pure numbers do not indicate anything about selective.

            if you and i seek to hire counter staff for mcdonald’s that we both own and you get 20 applicants, 19 of which are illiterate and have poor work ethics and speak poor english and i get 5 who all speak english, are literate, and have a strong work ethic, you may have more choices, but i am in a position to be more selective.

            the statement mark made is semantically incorrect.

            it assumes more choice = more ability to “select the most suitable or best qualified.”

            if the end result is getting the best qualified folks, then the pool from which you choose and prior selection that took place in assembling that pool are key factors.

          • Morg,

            Can’t argue with that logic, of course the number of applicants does not tell you anything about the quality of those applicants. If all 10,000 applicants that Walmart gets for a new store were completely unqualified to work at the store then they are not in a position to be selective at all.

            I think your definition of selective is too narrow in this instance. If we take your interpretation of selective related to this instance then of course, Walmart would prefer to have Princeton’s applicants (or would they, look at this post: charles platt | July 18, 2013 at 12:47 am …….I went through the Walmart screening process of job applicants (successfully). It is nontrivial. I feel fairly sure that a typical applicant for Princeton would not be accepted at Walmart, and therefore the statement “pretty much just to be one of the 13 fighting for spot at princeton, you’d already be one of the 25 that got hired at walmart.” is almost certainly untrue, and is certainly not based on anything more than a supposition.) But just based on intellect and ability, the Princeton applicants would be better than the Walmart applicants, even if Walmart had 100,000 applicants.

            Lets give Dr. Perry the benefit of the doubt since we both know he is quite intelligent, can we not agree that he meant it more along the lines that if you have more choice you can, all things being equal, be more selective? That is not too much of a stretch.

            We have beat this point to death I think :)

            GMF

    • I went through the Walmart screening process of job applicants (successfully). It is nontrivial. I feel fairly sure that a typical applicant for Princeton would not be accepted at Walmart, and therefore the statement “pretty much just to be one of the 13 fighting for spot at princeton, you’d already be one of the 25 that got hired at walmart.” is almost certainly untrue, and is certainly not based on anything more than a supposition.

      • You are right, it was a supposition. Perhaps I should have said that the 13 princeton applicants likely hand much higher levels of knowledge and ability than the 25 Walmart applicants, but perhaps not ones that would make them a good Walmart employee.

        However my whole point was that it is not about the quality of the two respective applicant pools, it is about the quantity.

  3. come on man, you and I both know the trick to this one.

    “Consider that at Princeton University where Professor Massengill teaches, the elite Ivy League institution gets “only” about 13 applications for every available freshman opening, and its admit rate is 7.9%. Think about it – it’s easier to get accepted for admission to Princeton University than it is to get a job at Wal-Mart! So given their alternatives, thousands of low-skilled, low-income workers must find the job and career opportunities at Wal-Mart extremely attractive.”

    anyone can apply for walmart, but many many many know not to even bother applying for princeton.

    ” Last year, these bonuses earned by hourly associates totaled more than $770 million.”…ok

    divide that out by 4 qtrs and the number of employees, then remember not all stores are the same. And not everything isn’t relative. Then realize all workers are not relative either.

    KEEP IN MIND I AM A FREE MARKET GUY, libertarian TYPE minded conservative.

    astonishing in how some people counter themselves with their own talk ” If Wal-Mart was such a horrible place to work, why are so many low-income Americans so apparently desperate to work there?”

    where else will low skilled low income Americans go work? Charles Schwabb?

    things are what they are, so going COMPLETELY OVER THE TOP, isn’t the medicine that is required here.

    reminds me of nancy pelosi rambling about parachuting in, and the parody “they’ll be crying out for walmart”…

    and yes starting at 7.35 an hour is techincally above the average retail starting point if the average is 7.25 an hour. I’m not exactly a calculus dude but somehow I’m missing that average in all of this.

    have you actually studied the ratio of paying into and what you’ll receive in said benefits, primarily revolving around health care. Maybe some experience would help, and You and I know exactly what you’re obvious counter would be. But let me give you a little hint at things. That’s not a safe haven either if you know what I mean.

    I think the free market system is the best system. and that for one to believe in capitalism and property ownership as cores to freedom, as most “conservatives” do, you must be willing to put up with a certain amount of “stuff”. But this over the top nobel nonsense just discredits us, especially in the world of PR FIXATION RACKETS.

    p.s. you aren’t really trying to push the idea that people that make roughly 7.35 an hour starting off are people who are used to making MIDDLE CLASS wages are you? This is my point about, almost this entire article. You’re not making a point of principle, you’re making a point of mostly hocus pocus thus hurting us. that princeton thing was a real screw up.

    • So Chris Whites if you are a free market guy, libertarian type minded conservative as you say, then you should realize some basic facts about Walmart and it’s dealings with employees and customers. To use your capital letters so that you don’t miss it, THEY ARE ALL VOLUNTARY DEALINGS!!!

      The customers are shoppijg there voluntarily, of there own free will. Since any libertarian should know that a contract that is freely entered into by 2 parties only happens if those 2 parties both gain from that transaction, the fact that Walmart outsells any other retailer must mean that they provide more value to customers. The only way to be the market leader in a very competitive industry is to provide the most value and Walmart clearly does that with their low prices.

      The 10,000 to 25,000 applications Walmart gets for 300 to 400 jobs is all you need to know about the value that these hopeful Walmart employees place on a Walmart job. They all applied voluntarily!!!

      If you believe in free markets and freedom of choice, then you can only come to one conclusion, Walmart gives more value to the people that voluntarily enter into contracts with the company, be they purchasing goods or working there, than any other company today, likely than any other company the history of the world.

      Walmart for the Nobel Prize indeed.

      • It is a frequent ploy to claim to be Libertarian, and then write about the virtues of Socialism in regard to Walmart. Part of it is liberal brainwashing, part a paid Union effort to discredit the company.

      • If the alternative to voluntary dealings is starvation, does that still make it a voluntary dealing?

        Too many non-poor people commenting here. Walmart also destroys all small business in the community they move into. That doesn’t seem to be accounted for here.

        Many Walmart employee’s do not make enough money to even buy Walmarts “super cheap” products, if any at all. That sounds like the beginning of a communist system to me.

    • So according to you and the Princeton Prof, not only is Walmart the only place to buy goods it is the only place to work as well. No working at the gas station, the store it yourself places, moving companies. Nope just Walmart.

      It is absolutely true, if Walmart were paying too low wages they would have a shortage of workers. Since they don’t the wage must be correct.

      You need to remember Walmart also has competition on the bottom end from folks who can get more money just sitting on their a$$ getting government subsidies. Free apartment, welfare, food stamps, WIC sure beats working for $10 an hour at Walmart – and then maybe only qualify for the food stamps.

    • Unfortunately this post is full of assumptions that may be untrue. First, individual stores set their rates for compensation, so you can’t generalize. Second, at the store that I am familiar with, I was assured by many people working there that the local Target pays less and is a less pleasant place in which to work. Likewise fast-food franchises. Because of its excellent treatment of employees, Walmart is regarded as a desirable place to work by unskilled people. In addition, the initial basic hourly rate is immediately increased when the new employee completes a self-education program, at company expense. This can be done within a matter of days. Additional increases occur if the employee acquires additional skills such as running a checkout register. And for obvious reasons, promotion is a much more realistic prospect at Walmart than at a mom-and-pop store employing just one or two people.

      The view of Walmart as an exploiter is an elitist view. Talk to the people who work there, and they are quite savvy enough to see that they get a better deal than they can find elsewhere.

      The sad part is that their value as employees is relatively low because of their lack of skills. Too bad the educational system is very little help in this respect.

      • Charles,

        Excellent points, thanks for sharing.

        Maybe this explains why they get 10,000 applications for new store openings.

  4. …I hereby nominate Wal-Mart for the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize for its significant contributions to society, for improving the U.S. and world economies, for directly creating more than two million jobs worldwide at its retail outlets and helping to support many thousands of jobs indirectly for all of the thousands of suppliers to Wal-Mart, and for its contributions to improving the lives of millions of lower-income consumers by offering “Everyday Low Prices.”

    I could not agree more.

  5. This myth could be easily tested. Every week/month, the major chain stores are rated on on how much 100 bucks buys of basic commodities at their stores. Someone of her academic level should also be able find out average pay for each chain. Find the difference between the revenue of the those commodities (as opposed to 60″ TVs) and the payroll between the chains and weight it on market share. If Walmart’s difference is better than the average chain, it’s better the other chains then it is a net benefit.

    Science “builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions” (Wiki), so shouldn’t a sociologist have some actual numbers to support her opinion piece in a national newspaper?

    • We already know that Walmart salaries are comparable to their rival Target. But target has cache amongst the liberal crowd so it gets no complaints.

      • Yes, the information is readily available.

        Sociologists believe they’re scientists, but they don’t like using numbers if it’s against their creed. Princeton should worry how such sloppiness affects its reputation … but prefer the dogma.

  6. While I generally agree with Dr. Perry’s postings, this is not one of those times. First of all, Walmart nearly always seeks and gets huge tax abatements that other and smaller retailers NEVER get. This even includes sales taxes in some instances. So, much of their success doesn’t stem from a psychic ability to understand the customer, but rather a low-cost structure that allows Walmart to drive other retailers out of business. So their success has more to do with limiting competition. And once competition has been reduced, Walmart’s prices are not always so great. So they really aren’t much of a help to low income American’s in that regard.

    Additionally, since Walmart doesn’t pay its fair share to the local cities it resides in, the citizens and other businesses are forced to pay more to handle the problems that a Walmart brings into a community, namely more traffic and crime.

    Often, Walmart employees cannot afford to pay their own healthcare costs, so the citizen’s get to pick up the tab for that as well.

    So I wouldn’t hold up Walmart as anything but a ruthless competitor that operates in a similar vein as the robber barons in the 19th century. Certainly not a business that has anything in common with the Nobel prize.

    • So, much of their success doesn’t stem from a psychic ability to understand the customer, but rather a low-cost structure that allows Walmart to drive other retailers out of business.

      Dahveed, it’s all in your hands. If you don’t want other retailers to be driven out of business all you have to do is shop at their stores and shun Walmart. It’s just that simple.

      It’s consumers that allow this horrible, unfair, ruthless monster to stay in business.

      Vote for the other guys (with your dollars) starting right now, and your local Walmart will soon close its doors.

    • David: “This even includes sales taxes in some instances.”

      Where does WalMart get to keep the sales taxes it collects from customers? I’ve seen many cases where cities and towns offered incentives to WalMart – in order to gain the huge sales tax revenue the chain would provide. But I’ve never read anything about the chain having a different sales tax burden than any other retailer. Please provide evidence for your assertion.

      • John, I don’t know about Walmart, but it’s quite common in IL to rebate portions of sales taxes to businesses. I see it most often with car dealerships where one taxing district competes with a neighboring district. I agree with Dahveed’s earlier post however, in that it gives the big players even bigger advantages.

        • I don’t think it is so common, MikeK.

          It is very common for localities to exempt large businesses from property taxes for long periods. They do so in order to both bring jobs and sales tax revenue into the locality.

          Also, many states and localities make use of a concept called “sales tax increment financing”. A developer or a large business is provided below market financing by a locality which anticipates significant sales tax or property tax revenue as a result of the new development or business. This is definitely not the same thing as a sales tax rebate.

          Most states do allow commercial businesses to retain a tiny portion of the sales tax revenues collected from cusomters. The rationale is that those businesses incur costs in collecting sales taxes on behalf of state and local governments.

          For those few cases – and I really think it is few – where large retail businesses are allowed to keep all local sales taxes, the amount of money is really not that large. Localities cannot allow WalMart and other large retail businesses to keep the state portion of sales taxes – and that is almost always the lion’s share of sales taxes.

          A 2008 paper by the subsidy watchdog organization Good Jobs First could only list 16 occurrences of sales tax rebates which were granted to Walmart in the previous 10 years. Walmart opened over a thousand new stores during that period. Yet this national watchdog organization could only find 16 instances of sales tax rebates.

  7. I think, the CEO of Walmart deserves $35 million a year in compensation, top management deserves hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, Walmart deserves billions of dollars a year in profit, and consumers deserve lower prices.

    What about the lowest paid workers? Don’t they deserve something too?

    ABC NEWS Business Unit
    July 2, 2010

    “We’ve seen, over the past three decades, a tenfold-plus increase in the gap between top executives and average American workers.

    CEOs in the country’s S&P 500 companies make, on average, 319 times more than the average American worker…in the 1970s, that ratio was 30 to 1.”

    • It’s great being at the top of the pyramid. However, if you’re at the bottom of the pyramid, which seems to be getting larger, at least you can mooch off your parents and/or government, even with a full-time job.

      • Hmm…facts seem to counter those sentiments considering Professor Perry’s recent post about “the disappearing middle class”.

    • “We’ve seen, over the past three decades, a tenfold-plus increase in the gap between top executives and average American workers.

      CEOs in the country’s S&P 500 companies make, on average, 319 times more than the average American worker…in the 1970s, that ratio was 30 to 1.”

      to put into perspective the problem with the assumption given in all of this, I would ask the poster of this comment to put that in terms of % of the total absolute GDP ANNUALLY of this country. Which, if I’m correct is about 15 TRILLION per year. Remember you didn’t state this as directly applied against each instance in each business. you stated vs, IN TOTAL, the average worker across the nation.

      when you average out your “real numbers” across the entire country to all workers, you start to see the bad joke of the totality of the argument.

      • Chris Whited: “CEOs in the country’s S&P 500 companies make, on average, 319 times more than the average American worker…in the 1970s, that ratio was 30 to 1″

        So what? Are you jealous?

        CEO compensation is approved by the owners of the firm – the shareholders. It is their money which is being given to the CEO’s – not your money, not the government’s money, not the fellow employees’ money. Why are you complaining about the money which shareholders freely decide to give to their most important employee?

        • Pardon me I just realize it was Peak Trader who was posting about CEO salaries. I wouldn’t have wasted my time had I realized that.

        • “$15 trillion/150 million workers (full and part time) = $100,000 per worker.”

          and what is that supposed to mean?

          so we have 100k per worker of gdp.

          so?

          there is no reason to think that such production is evenly distributed.

          surely the chef at nobu produces more that the fry cook at burger barn.

          even if workers are more productive, that still does not mean they deserve more money.

          if you are a ditch digger and own your own shovel, then your production is pretty much yours. if i buy a backhoe for you to use and your production soars as a result, why would you be entitled to that surplus?

          i made your job easier and did it with my capital. i’m going to want a return on that capital. it’s my money and my risk. just because you can dig a bigger ditch now does not mean that you are entitled to anyhting.

          you really ought to run a company sometime peak.

          i’d love to watch you try and put these ideas of yours into practice.

    • don b has a great analogy here:

      You quote minimum-wage supporters who assert that hiking that wage will raise the pay of low-skilled workers if the legislation targets “industries that can afford to increase wages” (“Wal-Mart faceoff with DC fuels minimum wage debate,” July 15).

      You should ask these minimum-wage supporters the following questions: “If government enacts legislation setting the minimum price that people can pay for a new car at $50,000, do you – you confident supporters of government-mandated minimum prices – believe that this legislation will result in people paying $50,000 for the likes of Toyota Corollas and Ford Fiestas? Or do you realize that if government obliges car buyers to pay at least $50,000 for a new vehicle, these buyers will choose to buy no low-end cars and opt (if they buy a new car at all) instead to purchase a new BMW, Lexus, or other luxury model?”

      And here’s a follow-up question that you should ask: “Do your answers to the above questions change if the minimum-car-price legislation applies only to high-income people? That is, do you think that merely because an attorney or surgeon earns, say, an annual salary of one million dollars – and, hence, can “afford” to pay $50,000 for a Corolla or Fiesta – that that wealthy car buyer will be prompted by minimum-car-price legislation to fork out $50,000 for the likes of a Corolla or Fiesta, especially given that he or she can buy the likes of a BMW or Lexus for the same money?”

      Unless you find a minimum-wage supporter who can plausibly explain why a legislated minimum price for cars will not reduce the income earned by sellers of low-end cars, you should be more skeptical of the analytical abilities of those who insist that a legislated minimum wage will not reduce the income earned by sellers of low-skilled labor.

      Sincerely,
      Donald J. Boudreaux
      Professor of Economics
      and
      Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
      George Mason University
      Fairfax, VA 22030

      • Some people confuse prices with wages.

        Also, I may add, the $15 trillion is national output in a year. Some people consume more than produce, while other people produce more than consume, in a year.

        A low-wage earner may sometimes be late making monthly payments and has below average credit. So, he pays higher interest on borrowing. He may decide to attend college and buy goods that exceed his income. So, he borrows.

        A high-wage earner can afford to make monthly payments on time and has above average credit. So, he pays lower interest on borrowing. He can choose to save, e.g. in the stock market, or invest, e.g. building a store and buying supplies.

        • wages ARE prices peak. they are the price of labor.

          the rest of your argument is just the Keynesian fallacy that all we need to do is force everyone to consume and everything is great.

          it’s one period thinking. to do so reduces investment, which reduces future output and and productivity.

          to coercively take money away from investment to fuel consumption is not the way to maximize long term growth or income.

          • Morganovich, I’ve shown you many mechanisms in wages not found in prices many times before. Yet, you completely ignored them.

            Also, I may add, a weak firm may not be able to afford a high school graduate, who’s twice as productive as a high school drop-out, who smokes marijuana (the high school graduate will refuse to work for low pay).

            I’d like to see the weak firm fail, and a strong firm take its market share, to hire the high school graduate at a higher wage. The strong firm will not only gain from taking market share, it’ll also gain from the increased demand of the higher wage.

          • peak-

            this is just another of your empty claims to having shown something that you have not.

            wages are a price, pure and simple. reservation wage is just the same as reservation price. there is a price beneath which i would, at the margin, not sell my labor just as there is a price at which i would not sell my car or my house.

            the rest of your argument is mostly nonsense.

            stop and listen to what you are saying:

            so if i arbitrarily pay my workers more, i benefit from the extra demand from their higher wages?

            not on a net basis i don’t.

            even if they spend ALL their extra pay with me, it’s a push.

            i have no idea where you get this stuff.

          • peak-

            “Wages and prices are as different as input and output.”

            in a long line of hilarious statements, that one may take the cake.

            one mans output IS another man’s input.

            if i make mufflers, that’s an output.

            if gm used them to make cars, they are an input.

            so what, they magically change their nature somewhere on the trip over?

            labor is my output. i get a price for it. the input is effort, education, intelligence, etc. it may be an input to wal mart sales, but it is also the output of an individual.

            both inputs and outputs have prices and those prices work the same way.

            you are lost deep in the weeds peak.

            seriously, where do you get this stuff?

          • Morganovich, I sure hope you don’t start a business, like a donut shop. Who knows what’ll be in those donuts (maybe, a little marijuana from the employees too).

          • Some people confuse prices with wages.

            There you have it. I have posted many times here that min. wage is a price control and like all other price controls it does not work. Little did I know until Peak pointed it out that wages are not prices!!

            With that revelation, I now see the error in my thinking. Wages are not the price of labor at all. They are something different, something that acts differently than just plain prices. The market for labor does not have the same properties as other markets, demand curves slope differently, people make different buy/sell decisions when it comes to labor than they do for other markets. Wages are more important to the lives of people than say the market for gasoline, so of course price controls will work for labor and not for gasoline.

            How foolish of me, I now stand correct.

            Give me a break Peak, that wages are different from prices is one of the stupidest things you have ever said. And that bar is very high because you have said some incredibly stupid things in the past.

          • “Morganovich, I sure hope you don’t start a business, like a donut shop. Who knows what’ll be in those donuts (maybe, a little marijuana from the employees too).”

            translation:

            you have no response and have realized what glaring holes exist in your ludicrous argument.

            fwiw, i have started and helped start quite a number of businesses, several of which are extremely successful. so, i don’t think that’s an line of argument you want to pursue with me.

            further, what’s with all these weird accusations about my smoking pot. for the record, i don’t.

            i realize you may have difficulty wrapping your brain around the notion that i might support the rights of someone else even if it’s not a right i would personally exercise, but that’s called having principles.

            you should try it some time.

          • So, income has little to do with paying bills? High wages or low wages makes no significant difference in the ability to pay bills?

            That’s what I wrote, and that’s correct.

            Probably only a tine number of people ever receive bills for things they didn’t agree to be billed for, and that’s a different issue.

            If you know what your income is, you know how much you can afford to spend. That some people spend more than they have isn’t related to high or low income, but to impulse control and self discipline.

            One could argue that those with higher incomes and manageable payments are those that exhibit those qualities.

            Also, you may not be aware, but there’s a direct causal relationship between the late payments and below average credit you mentioned.

            You must not realize that high earners are just as prone to overspending and over borrowing. It’s just bigger numbers.

          • peak trader: “Wages and prices are as different as input and output.”

            Have you even taken one economics class, peak? Did your economics teacher or professor not tell you that the wage rate is the price of labor? If you do not even know this basic economic concept, why are you wasting everyone’s time by commenting on an economics blog?

        • A low-wage earner may sometimes be late making monthly payments and has below average credit. So, he pays higher interest on borrowing. He may decide to attend college and buy goods that exceed his income. So, he borrows.

          A high-wage earner can afford to make monthly payments on time and has above average credit. So, he pays lower interest on borrowing. He can choose to save, e.g. in the stock market, or invest, e.g. building a store and buying supplies.”

          You have this cause and effect exactly backwards as is usual with you.

          What do you suppose the difference is between a low income worker and a high income worker, other than their incomes? Perhaps the difference is the ability of the high income worker to make good choices, exercise self discipline and manage their lives so they don’t spend more than they earn, and pay their bills on time, thus ensuring better opportunities for themselves.

          This may be another example of Reynold’s law.

          Why do you believe a low income worker would have more trouble paying their bills than a high income worker? Don’t they both assume obligations and debt voluntarily?

          • So, income has little to do with paying bills? High wages or low wages makes no significant difference in the ability to pay bills?

          • actually, a great deal of the ability to “pay bills” would seem related to spending.

            if you earn $25k or $50k, paying bills is about matching expenditure to income.

            if you earn $25 and spend like your earn $50, well, yeah, you’re going to have a hard time paying bills.

            but this is just as true if you earn $1 million and spend like you earn 2.

            ron has a valid point here.

            there is likely a great deal of causal link between being irresponsible and undisciplined and earning a low wage as well as to spending more than you take in.

            i have lived on far less income than i currently have. probably 90 or 95% less. i did not have problems paying bills. what i had was less ability to spend. i was not able to do all the things i wanted to and consume everyhting i wanted, but because it mattered to me to pay bills, i lived more frugally.

            i now spend far more in a year that i used to earn in 5, but, as it was modulated to income, this still poses no issue with bills.

            i realize that keynesians seem to have disdain for the concept of “spend less than you earn”, but it’s a pretty sound basis for running your life.

            if only we could get the us government to see that.

          • So, income has little to do with paying bills? High wages or low wages makes no significant difference in the ability to pay bills?

            That’s what I wrote, and that’s correct.

            Probably only a tine number of people ever receive bills for things they didn’t agree to be billed for, and that’s a different issue.

            If you know what your income is, you know how much you can afford to spend. That some people spend more than they have isn’t related to high or low income, but to impulse control and self discipline.

            One could argue that those with higher incomes and manageable payments are those that exhibit those qualities.

            Also, you may not be aware, but there’s a direct causal relationship between the late payments and below average credit you mentioned.

            You must not realize that high earners are just as prone to overspending and over borrowing. It’s just bigger numbers.

            (Please ignore an identical comment that appears up-thread.)

        • Also, I may add, the $15 trillion is national output in a year. Some people consume more than produce, while other people produce more than consume, in a year.

          Yes. Some people borrow and some people save, but I suspect you thought you were making some other point.

          Could it be that, in your view, some people are overpaid and some are underpaid? Is so, how could *you* possibly determine that? Wouldn’t it be a judgement that only the parties directly involved could make?

          “I know better than their employers what people I don’t even know should be paid.”

          LOL

  8. hey mark, just wanted to apologize for possibly coming across a bit harsh on this issue. I know you’re not stupid. Obviously you’re not stupid. Just wanted to make this statement.

  9. as a reward for their tireless service to consumers, i nominate wal mart to be one of the largest and most profitable companies in the world.

    and i further nominate the walton family for the award of “being extremely rich”.

    oh, wait…

    • Yeah, we’ve all already voted to reward them with those things. And, none of us were even coerced. It was entirely voluntary.

  10. Sam Walton had Ten Rules for Wal-Mart(Sam’s spelling) success.

    Rule # 2: “Share your profits with all your associates, and treat them as partners. In turn, they will treat you as a partner, and together you will all perform beyond your wildest expectations.

    But, that was a conflict for the current generation of Waltons and they had to overrule #2 with rule #9:

    “Control your expenses better than your competition. This is where you can always find the competitive advantage. You can make a lot of mistakes and still recover if you run an efficient operation. Or you can be brilliant and still go out of business if you’re too inefficient.”

    Walmart(current) does have a 401K plan with a 6% match, but there is no substitute for the sharing of profits with all the company “partners” as compensation.

  11. If a wage is not the price at which you sell a unit of labor, what is it?

    And if wages and demand for labor do not vary inversely, then doesn’t it follow that you should set that wage much higher than $12.50? Say $25? Or $50?

    • The economic implications of a wage are much more than the price of labor (I explained a couple of examples above, along with others before).

      A wage of $12.50 may facilitate economic growth. However, a wage of $25 or $50 may cause a severe contraction. There are constraints.

      • Hmm. And how is it you know exactly what the right wage is? Is it $12.50? $14.85? And why would you know that better than the people who are buying and selling labor?

        • How is it you know exactly what the the right speed limit is on the freeway? Is it 20 MPH or 100 MPH? And why would you know better than the people driving?

          Or, how does the Fed know how many bonds it should buy each month? Should it be $85 billion a month? $92.5 billion per month? $35.6 billion? Or should quantitative easing even exist, e.g. in a liquidity trap, in the U.S. or Japan.

          • wow.

            those are some truly foolish arguments.

            highways are owned by the state. they can set such rules as they like.

            a company is not. it’s PRIVATE property. it exists for its shareholders, not to maximize some febrile fantasy of economic optimality.

            the fed has NO IDEA how many bonds it should be buying.

            it’s a complete stab in the dark based on trying (erroneously) to prop up markets and the economy based on a laughably dated notion of credit creation.

            QE does FAR more harm than good.

            for every dollar pumped into banks or the federal government from buying a t-bond, 3 are sucked out of the repo market by starving it of collateral.

            this is what you get when you put an academic in the fed: 30′s style samuelson monetarism with 30′s style results.

            the fact that you would even trot it out as an argument based on some sort of actual factual data is hilarious.

            is there any form of top down coercion/planning you do not support peak?

            you just flat out do not believe in liberty or markets, do you?

          • I’m glad you chose the speed limit as an example. You’ve assumed that you have to choose exactly ONE speed limit that is the best one for all traffic and road conditions. You’re starting to see more and more highways where the speed limit is variable and posted electronically. Why? Because picking ONE speed is inefficient. Variable speed matches to the conditions at that moment. The same things happens with tolling. When I go across the 520 bridge to Seattle, the toll I pay is adjusted constantly to keep traffic flowing and the bridge full. If it weren’t, there would be too much demand for the road at certain times and not enough at others.

            Fixed pricing for labor is similarly inefficient. It simply ensures that tasks that have a value less than the price you have fixed don’t get done, and those whose labor value is below that price don’t get hired. I suspect that’s the outcome you’re really looking for, but it’s not an economic one.

          • How is it you know exactly what the the right speed limit is on the freeway? Is it 20 MPH or 100 MPH? And why would you know better than the people driving?

            At the moment it appears that the correct speed on this particular freeway is about 15mph because that’s how fast everyone is driving. If I go any faster I will collide with the car ahead of me.

            I don’t presume to know better than the people actually driving what the optimal speed should be based on their observations and calculations as competent, experienced drivers. to do so would be incredibly arrogant and elitist.

            However, When I’m one of those drivers, I do appreciate the helpful suggestions the state posts along the roadway that I assume are based on engineering studies and road design limits. If I had no prior experience of that particular stretch of roadway, I could use those suggestions as handy guidelines until I gained the experience to make that determination for myself.

          • “How is it you know exactly what the the right speed limit is on the freeway? Is it 20 MPH or 100 MPH? And why would you know better than the people driving?”

            the more i think about this, the more absurd it gets.

            how would you even define “right”?

            what are the right criteria for determining right and how could you demonstrate that?

            further, you do realize that the majority of driers do not obey these limits, right?

            try driving 65 on a major highway and this will become painfully obvious.

            people drive 70-80.

            so which is “right”? the posted limit or driver behavior.

            many highways were built with design speeds well above posted limits. which is right? the design or the law? and shouldn’t that change as cars and tires change?

            the safe speed on the same road would seem to vary based on what you are driving. why would safe speed for a 911 turbo be the same as a peterbuilt truck or a ford f-150 or a 1957 chevy?

          • ” that I assume are based on engineering studies and road design limits”

            actually, they are nothing of the sort.

            my father used to be on the federal highway board and spent much of his career selling products into the highway safety industry.

            ever see the movable jersey barriers with the ton top that you can shift from lane to lane with a big tractor with an s curve under it? (named coolest machine by richard scary) that was his company. he ran all their sales.

            posted limits have little to do with any studies or design. they tend to be based on arbitrary codes set by cities, states, and the feds.

            most highways have a design speed of 80mph, and that was for the sort of cars we had in the 50′s.

        • Sam,

          Peak does not beleive in freedom. He much prefers having government dictate what we can and can’t do. So you are wasting your time.

          It is obvious to any thinking person that those rates are all arbritary. But in his world they are better than market determined rates because they are a “living wage”. Who can work for $8 or $9 an hour and survive? That is slave wages. These arguments are so repetitive with him it has become extremely tedious.

      • “The economic implications of a wage are much more than the price of labor (I explained a couple of examples above, along with others before).”

        more false claims to have shown somehting you have not.

        what happened earlier is that your argument got shredded, you demonstrated that you have no idea what input and output are and that one mans output is often another’s input (including labor) and then you flung some bizarre and baseless accusations and slunk off.

        par for the course for you.

      • The economic implications of a wage are much more than the price of labor (I explained a couple of examples above, along with others before).

        I know I’m wasting my time with you, but it’s just this simple:

        The exact amount of the total additional income for min wage earners is the exact amount that directly or indirectly comes from someone else’s income. So, the higher demand from those workers is exactly offset by the lower demand from others.

        There is no possible argument for this leading to a sustained increase in production, unless you believe minimum wage workers make more efficient use of that income than the people who previously had it to spend, and there’s very little evidence for that.

  12. Seattle Sam, I’ll respond to your statement about speed limits here, away from the flakes (normal people know who they are).

    I’m glad you finally see some light, i.e. one optimal speed limit, given traffic or weather conditions, and one optimal minimum wage, given economic conditions.

    • was that even supposed to make sense?

      and why would there even BE one optimal minumum wage?

      why would the same minimum wage be optimal in new york and DC?

      why would it even be the same between 2 different businesses in DC?

      that’s a preposterous and unfounded supposition.

      if all businesses have to have one minimum wage, then sure, there is one that would be best, but there is absolutely no reason to presume that such a wage would be better than letting each business set it’s own wages.

      this is so basic i’m astounded you could argue otherwise.

      but then, you do not thing that wages are prices and do not even know if labor is an input or an output (hint: it’s both) so i guess i should get used to being astounded by your bizarre cornucopia of fallacious totalitarian economic doctrine.

    • LOL

      On top of everything else he’s wrong about Peak believes he can have a private conversation on a blog comments section.

  13. Unbelievable! Did no one see the forest for the trees before going off on their academic tirades? Hint: read the title then try using your brains the address the issues presented. (Clearly America needs to start teaching reading skills.)

  14. Really?

    In economics, a monopsony is a market form in which only one buyer faces many sellers.

    In the microeconomic theory of imperfect competition, the monopsonist is assumed to be able to dictate terms to its suppliers, as the only purchaser of a good or service, much in the same manner that a monopolist is said to control the market for its buyers in a monopoly, in which only one seller faces many buyers.

    The lower employment and wages caused by monopsony power have two distinct effects on the economic welfare of the people involved. First, it redistributes welfare away from workers and to their employer(s). Secondly, it reduces the aggregate (or social) welfare enjoyed by both groups taken together, as the employers’ net gain is smaller than the loss inflicted on workers.

    Walmart exploits not only its workers for meaningless profits, it also exploits the workers of every company that produces for Walmart.

  15. To be more accurate, I think Capitalism is responsible for creating and distributing wealth as well as contributing to World Peace (by redistributing power to individuals). Walmart is just one of many to create value for shareholders.

  16. Lmao yeah, I know plenty of people who either work or have worked for a Walmart and between the constant hour cuts, and overly market pay wages that are so great(was the funniest part of all), most of them had to get on food stamps and move in with their parents because they couldn’t even afford to love on their own, even with their great awesome wages that were so high over the market lololol haha minimum wage is 7.25$ here in ga. Anybody I’ve known who works at one starts out at minimum wage and gets like a couple pennies to a nickel raise once a year.. Lol ur practically Forbes top 100 ready in no time

  17. This is a horrible article in which everyone of those statements can be easily refuted. Anyone with a shred of understanding of economics can understand why walmart low prices and low wages are horrible for western civilization but great for the rest of the world. Please go back to school or stop taking walmarts bribe money.

  18. They should take down that american flag in the picture as their values are not representative of America. They should replace it with a Chinese flag, much better fitting.

  19. HOURLY employees are blessed with 401k plans, not the millions of workers world wide. Hard working high school students would die to go to Harvard. This is so wrong on so many levels. I am hoping it is a mistake, that somehow I am reading this wrong. I think this professor should take a sabbatical and work for Walmart for a year. He would then learn the myths of his thinking. The CEO of Walmart just received a bonus of 2B, yet in talking to an employee they (part timers) did not received holiday pay. It’s not a myth employees have died working at Walmart and go on hunger strikes.

  20. I wouldn’t go so far as a nobel peace price, sure the thing doesn’t mean much anymore and sure Wal-Mart does just as much good as most capitalists… but let’s not exaggerate.

  21. What I want to know is, why is Walmart the object of choice for the two-minute hate?

    Are Target, K-mart, and other big chain general merchandise stores really better to their workers? How do Walmart employees compare to those in the ubiquitous dollar discount stores?

    Or is there a broad effort aiming to take down Walmart? This certainly isn’t uncommon. Frequently, “grass roots” activism against a business is funded by competitors.
    Or perhaps it is perceived as more vulnerable?

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