Another themed mixer…another trip to WalMart to buy some accessories. For us, WalMart is just a drive away from campus and an easy way to buy products cheap and rightfully so seeing as WalMart prides itself of its low prices. As management majors about to graduate in two months, there is no doubt that we have all stumbled across some WalMart themed case studies, homework assignments, papers, or projects. WalMart is an incredibly controversial company. Some deem it to be unethical and irresponsible whereas others, particularly, lower class Americans and the company, would say that WalMart is somewhat of a savior.

As a broke college student there is no doubt that I appreciate the low costs that WalMart offers. However, we must ask how can WalMart possible offer such low prices? How does it affect the rest of America and better yet, the rest of the global world?

WalMart is more than just a company. WalMart is like a global force. “If Wal-Mart were an individual economy, it would rank as China’s eighth-biggest trading partner, ahead of Russia, Australia, and Canada.” Like Nike and many other successful companies, WalMart has been scrutinized and under the eye of the media. While claiming it is again slave labor, there have been many stories of some of its Chine clothing factories forcing workers to work in poor conditions with long hours and little pay. Like Nike, WalMart must find the balance between outsourcing (particularly from China) while also employing those in America.

As Global Exchange, a human rights organization, stated, WalMart “is the biggest corporation in the world and the poster child for corporate globalization gone awry.” Global Exchange continues by stating, “its business model has a huge influence on workers, businesses and communities around the world; so far WalMart has used that influence to ruthlessly drive down costs as a means of making profit, violating a vast array of human rights and labor rights along the way.”

Again we come at a crossroads. On one hand I understand the power that WalMart has and the temptation to use that power to make the company even more successful than it already is. It is expensive to employ people in America and as it is they are already employing over 1 million people. Perhaps WalMart is not the monster it is made out to be. On the other hand, there is a considerably strong case made against WalMart making it out to be an evil corporation. In your opinion, do you believe that WalMart really is the monster it is made out to be or do you think that WalMart is right in doing what it is?


6 responses »

  1. Zach says:

    Wal-Mart is certainly a polarizing company. Like you said, there are many critics out there who chastise the company for the methods they use to keep prices so low. But I would argue that a company like Wal-Mart is necessary to keep low income households afloat. If a company like Wal-Mart didn’t exist, think about the repercussions. College students would have to buy more expensive togas(!), but more importantly, the millions of families that rely on them for food, clothing, and other necessities would be forced to devote more of their already small income to the goods that they use the most frequently. I completely understand the negatives that Wal-Mart brings, but I think in the long run, they do more good than bad.

  2. Hannah says:

    I just see WalMart as the Nike of Supercenters. Nike is larger than any of its competitors (Adidas, UnderArmour, Reebok, etc.) and WalMart is clearly larger than their competitors as well. Even if they claim to be against slave labor, for some reason (and this could just be a personal bias that I can’t really explain), I don’t buy it. I think that of all companies, WalMart is an instigator for the negative effects that globalization can result it. WalMart sells essentially everything you need. If they are to say that they don’t have some sort of sweatshop factory or slave labor employed to make their bagillion items they carry in their store, I woud like to see that factory. As you said in your post from the Global Exchange, they are driving down costs in order to make a profit, violating human rights along the way. With WalMart constantly “rolling back prices,” it is a wonder that they are able to make a substantial profit at all, unless they pay next to nothing for their labor. I think that WalMart is just another example of the negative effects that globalization can have on the modern world.

  3. Jordi says:

    In answer to your question: yes.

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