Walmart: a critique




Walmart: a critique

Walmart may be the worst company on earth.  That may be a harsh statement but it is how I feel.   I believe this for a number of reasons.  They treat their average associates like shit by not giving them full-time work, not paying them overtime, and not giving them benefits like basic health insurance.  Recent events in Bangladesh have only reinforced this inner disdain for the (Walmart On Bangladesh: We’re Open To Improving Worker Safety Conditions).  Recent reports have the death toll at 430 people with an unknown amount of people still missing.  This also comes as my local Walmart is expanding into a Walmart Super-center.

They are winning the race, to the bottom.  And I feel that they are taking the world down with them.  Walmart is exploiting the communities their store inhabit, the counties that make their products, and the environment for which they have no concern.  Walmart’s greenhouse gas emissions have risen 14 percent, reaching 21 million metric tons per year, according to data the company has filed with the CDP, formerlly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project.

“We believe every company has a responsibility to reduce greenhouse gases as quickly as it can.” -Former Walmart CEO Lee Scott

Walmart rapes local businesses by selling what they have for cheaper.  They are able to do this because of the above-mentioned atrocities.  They have created the ploy that they care about the community yet have left many main streets as ghost towns.  They say that they are a family of workers yet wont allow its workers to unionize and fight for livable wages and hours. Walmart says that its workers are entering a system which allows for upward social mobility yet pays them only enough to shop at the Walmart that they work at.  Walmart’s employees receive $2.66 billion in government help every year, or about $420,000 per store.

“Not paying fairly, not giving a job because you are only looking at balance sheets, only looking at how to make a profit. That goes against God!” -Pope Francis

What makes me most sad is that in this time of economic trouble for many Americans, Walmart is thriving.   Not its workers however but, rather, the shareholders are the ones seeing the profits.  This shareholder beholden business model leaves the workingman in the hole, slaving away, trying to live.  What happened to corporate social responsibility?  Do companies have an obligation to respect workers rights both domestically and abroad?  Walmart is the perfect example of how a Neoliberal economic system leads to extreme exploitation of the working class.  Walmart’s record profits have sadly not enhanced the well-being of its associates or the communities they have invaded.

It comes down to two things.  Either the government imposes stricter labor, environment, and outsourcing regulation on businesses or the consumer makes a choice.  What makes the latter option difficult is that in many areas people can only afford Walmart products.  And the problem with the first option is that Walmart has a significant influence in Washington.

In conclusions, I implore you all to reexamine your purchase.  If you have the choice of a more socially responsible company, take it.  I also hope that Washington starts looking to protect the working class from these enormous companies.

Thoughts? Agree? Disagree?


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