Saturday, November 22, 2014

Hourly Wages versus Hourly Houses

Professor Reich explains that WalMart workers are more generous than WalMart owners. Of course, the Waltons make donors of taxpayers who provide an average of $900,000 a year in subsidies to each store. The workers themselves try to close the rest of the earnings gap.

When I viewed this video, the top-rated comment was the following:

Not sure how long people are going to keep pretending that shopping at Walmart isn't hurting everyone. It's a ripple effect. If you shop there, you should be embarrassed. Might as well slap the cashier on the way out.

I agreed, but I also agreed with the comments on the comment that pointed out that many people really have little choice but to shop at WalMart. The cynical geography of the company's locational strategy has been to clear the land of competitors in a complicated but inexorable pattern of pricing strategies and cannibalizing its own stores. I discuss that process in general terms on my "Bad for Business" page and in terms of specific Texas cases on this blog in "Redemption at Alice."

As strongly as I avoid buying at WalMart, I know that for the reasons mentioned above, millions of people do not have that luxury. So we can never change WalMart through boycotts. In "voting with our dollars" these three siblings will "outvote" the rest of us. That is why we need to think of ourselves not as consumers, but as citizens. We need to vote with our votes.

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