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« No Time for Big-Media Illusions | Main | SBC Trying to Buy AT&T? »

January 26, 2005



I think you're missing something (which means Myerson is too): where was China 10 years ago???? They've come a long way. China's economy is growing at a fast clip and there is no turning back. Compared to almost everyone being poor, a middle class is now being created.

And here, people complain about the US getting more competitive. Well, companies like Wal-Mart are dragging hundreds of companies through efficiency school. In other words, we are getting more competitive. It's just happening without some government program. If we think we have problems here, think of Old Europe with all of the old labor laws. China will eat their lunch.

We should be thanking Wal-Mart for making more and more items affordable for people - especially poor people.

To the point about employee satisfaction that someone mentioned, I've been in Wal-Mart's and the employees seem happy and helpful. I didn't see any arm-twisting or feel like there is any going on.

People pick on Wal-Mart, but there are many companies that are non-union. How many of the top retailers are fully unionized? Finally, the economy is better so if people don't want to work there, then they can leave.

Neil T.

Wal-Mart's UK subsidary, Asda, does allow workers to be part of unions as far as I know, however that dates back to before the time that Wal-Mart bought out Asda. Their influence over the chain has been growing though - recently they have started including "Part of the Wal-Mart family" on their logos and a couple of their larger stores are now called "Asda Wal-Mart". Considering Wal-Mart's record (do a Google search for "boycott walmart"), I'm a little worried about this.

Jozef Imrich

While few people were willing to endorse Soviet Communism openly, particularly after the purges and the exposures of Kruschchev's secret speech, there were plenty who were always willing to make excuses for the communists along the lines of "you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs" and so on. With his characteristic turn of phrase, Lenin called people of this type "fellow travellers" to their faces and "useful idiots" behind their backs.

In Wal-Mart's case fellow outsourcer is proving a useful idiot ... I hope that savvy customers will vote with their feet!

In Australia the government owned corporation Telstra is running ads every with a picture of Lenin asking fellow citizens to join the revolution. Broadband kind by the name Big Pond. What next Hitler being part of an advertising blitz?

These were people who believed everything about the Soviet Union was perfect, but they were bringing their own toilet paper.
- P.J. O'Rourke


The anti-union attitude in this country shows a deplorable lack of understanding of history. How did we get to the point where we get benefits, vacations, 40-hour weeks and overtime? Unions. Anyone who doesn't think so needs spend some time in China where the government is the union. Sure they look after people's rights. Just as the looked after the people's free speech in Tiananmen Square.

We need to have a good economic relationship with China. Less motivation to cause trouble if they become economically tied to our economy. But that doesn't mean we have to put up with their evil ways without saying so.

When I was in college (early 70s) the business students kept repeating the mantra "morality has no place in business." Seems that's certainly come true on many fronts.

Gerald Buckley

Wal-Mart's an awesome company. SWMBO and I don't shop there just cuz it's a friggin mess getting through the lines. But, we DO shop at Sam's Club. Seems like everyone and their younguns from 'round our parts DOES go to W*M 'cept us'ns (it's hard typing like people tawk round here).

Anyway... Wal-Mart the corporation is really fabulous. I dealt with them a LOT as the Director of Internet Marketing at Thrifty Car Rental. GREAT folks to work with. Fierce operators with a clear path ahead of them (and behind). I never once saw or heard of a Wal*Mart employee being neglected.

Look. Corporations don't have to be nice. Was/is General Electric "nice" under Welch? No. Was/is Microsoft "nice" under Gates/Ballmer? No. ((Insert big corporate "success" name here)) They play to win folks! They play to return value to shareholders! That's their reason for being.

When in Rome... do as the Romans do. When in China... well, you get the idea (and so does Wal-Mart). BTW, they're not one of my clients... yet. But they will be. They just don't know it yet.


Dan, "our" US corporations embrace authoritarianism because the corporate structure is authoritarian, and is increasingly becoming more third world in structure. The sad 21st Century fact is that most big US corporations would love a fully fascist government.


Wal-Mart has another exception up North. Two Wal-Mart stores in Quebec have been unionized, one in Jonquiere and one in St-Hyacinthe. You can read this if you read french:
Journal Les Affaires

Cranky Observer

> Wal-Mart's UK subsidary, Asda, does allow workers to
> be part of unions as far as I know, however that
> dates back to before the time that Wal-Mart bought
> out Asda.

Funny how you worded that: in neither the UK nor the US does an employer have the right to not "allow" workers to join a union. And in fact it is against the law to conspire to prevent them from doing so by illegal means. At least for the moment anyway; we will see where things stand by the end of Bush II.2.


M ODonnell

Direct link to the statement in question:

Jozef Imrich

When in China do as Romans do???

History is the torch that is meant to illuminate the past, to guard us against the repetition of our mistakes of other days.

A capitalist democracy necessarily performs a complex straddle when it comes to the role of business. On the one hand, we want business to succeed - to innovate, to create jobs, and to provide a wide choice of consumer products. One the other hand, the whole history of capitalism tells us that business, left to its own devices, commits assaults that are not necessary for commerce to thrive but are merely opportunistic. Corporations poison the air and water, treat workers like throwaway parts, deceive investors, and lobby against the mildest social reforms... The only counterweight is an aroused citizenry and an effective, accountable government. If this be class warfare, so be it.
-Robert Kuttner, 9/3/2000

Steve Rhodes

Frontline did a good show in November, Is Wal-Mart Good for America which investigated what they're doing in China and how that is impacting people here.

SEIU's Purple Ocean online project has started a Wal-Mart Fact Checker site.


Unions fluorish only when management is abusive and government doesn't protect employees health, safety and rights. Unions make little inroads into well-run companies who recognize the value of their employees...and unions can actually hurt their members if they are unenlightened about current market economics and too supportive of marginal workers.

I resent Wal-Mart's tactics for the slash-and-burn community impact of their siting and pricing tactics, and find ironic some reactions to their destructive tactics towards suppliers. But people vote with their pocketbooks, and I vote by supporting local firms; others prefer cheap to value-added. Wal-Mart may not be pretty or their business decisions replete with warm and fuzzy extras...but what they do is a legitimate business efficiency approach. Until people decide they'd rather do business with firms that support the community in old-fashioned ways, you can expect the Wal-Marts to fluorish.

M ODonnell

OK, I guess that makeashorterlink link didn't work,
but this time, FOR SURE...! :-)


On this, I am all for WalMart...

Although I would prefer for them to keep the Tire workers (the people requesting unionization), I would rather they fire them from all of the store to PREVENT the formation of unions... Unions today only are political activists for socialist ideals.

This is a bitter subject for me as I plan on moving to Washington state one day.. However, to work there, I would be forced to join a union. I disagree with this stance. Why not allow those of us who oppose unions and all they stand for the opportunity to work on our own, without their purported benefits. If the majority of the states that currently aren't Right-To-Work become RTW, then WalMart should be compelled to allow unions to form for those who wish them.

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