With over 5000 stores worldwide and 100 million shoppers per week in the United States alone, Wal-Mart is one of the largest corporations in the world. And with its astounding efficiency, profit margin, and customer base, it is also an extreme example of the free market system, and for that reason, is frequently cited as being, simply, “too big.”
It is big. So big, in fact, that it has almost single-handedly changed the way the market system works—no longer does the manufacturer control prices; now, it is the retailer. That shift, I believe, is as a whole, good for America, because the retailer is an arm of the consumer. Retailers like Wal-Mart respond only to what customers wish to buy, which increases production efficiency—that is, all products are made to be bought, so nothing is made that will be wasted (by virtue of it not being bought). Wal-Mart is also efficient in the sense that it is a one-stop-shop. It provides nearly everything an average household could need; from groceries, to clothes, to luxury electronics like televisions and videogames. It even sells cell phones. And the prices of these items are far less than they would be if Wal-Mart did not exist.
[...] Wal-Mart buys from manufacturing plants which set standards for themselves. Workers in these factories are suffering, yes, but without Wal-Mart buying products from their factories, the workers wouldn't have jobs, at all. Many point to the millions of private-sector jobs that have been lost since America's economy peaked in 2000. However, this drop in employment can be explained by many factors other than outsourcing, such as the September 11 attacks, the bursting of the housing and credit bubbles and their disastrous effects on Wall Street and the technological advances that have made many jobs obsolete. Wal-Mart is operating completely legitimately in a capitalist system. [...]
[...] It is said that consumers who save at Wal-Mart use their saved money to buy goods elsewhere, which creates greater demand for higher-end goods and thus, encourages job creation. It is a good evolutionary step that America focuses more on higher-end products, which she still has the upper-hand in. Really, Wal-Mart isn't the problem. If it weren't Wal-Mart, it would be something else. Furthermore, it is only a matter of time before Chinese companies become retailers themselves, as well as manufacturers, and start selling directly to Americans, rather than through a middleman like Wal- Mart. [...]
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