People fondly remember a period after World War II in which America led the world in manufacturing, in which great old American companies made their products right in our hometowns, high quality products that had no rivals. That is no longer what the world looks like. There is global competition, cheap labor and manufacturing overseas, and an insatiable consumer demand for cheap goods with the mentality of “cheap over anything else”. Wal-Mart simply fills that demand for America, and it fills it with an American company that contributes to American productivity, employing American workers and keeping down prices and inflation for 300,000,000 Americans. If Wal-Mart didn’t exist, some other company would fill that need, and it might not be American, so we should count our blessings. The company could be Swedish, like IKEA, or Danish, like Simon Lichtenberg’s Trayton Group. So, you cannot hold this against Wal-Mart on the basis of a claim that says Wal-Mart destroys the old American economy that our parents and grandparents remember affectionately. That economy is dead or dying, and this new world is less predictable. It moves too quickly sometimes for us to keep up, workers have less job security and Main Street is no longer the center of American commerce, but Wal-Mart does its part to help America keep up. Wal-Mart gives the American people somewhere to go to get discount merchandise that they otherwise couldn't afford, and this is the most important thing, to give our nation's people, and therefore our nation, the necessities of life.
Along with raising the standard of living for American families,
Wal-Mart boosts the economy, reduces inflation, and makes the economy more efficient as a whole. According to the Los Angeles Times, “U.S. economists say its tightfistedness has not only boosted its own bottom line, but also helped hold down the inflation rate for the entire country. Consumers reap the benefits every time they push a cart through Wal-Mart's checkout lines,” and “A cartful of groceries is 17% to 39% cheaper at a Wal-Mart Supercenter than at a unionized supermarket, according to a survey last year in Las Vegas, Dallas and Tampa, Florida, by investment bank UBS Warburg.” Also, while most people believe that Wal-Mart destroys America by forcing smaller “mom and pop” shops out of business, I oppose this view of the situation. I think that Wal-Mart only eliminates companies that would fall by the wayside anyway. Those who cannot keep up with the demands of the competitive world economy would be forced to close anyway. Furthermore, Wal-Mart provides an enormous market for U.S manufacturers, and Wal-Mart is directly responsible for their economic success. The consumer makes the decision about which stores to shop at. If they decide that lower prices are more important to them than the charm of older, smaller stores, that is their right. Americans do not value things that they used to value, like Mom and Pop shopping experiences, “Made In America” promises,” etc. If they are not willing to pay for those things, these small stores will fail in the marketplace. CEO Lee Scott said Wal-Mart Stores Inc. raises the standard of living for American families by about $1,250 per year. That amounts to about $100 billion a year that can be reinvested in the community, Scott said, citing research from a professor at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. The fact is, more money saved leads to more people going to college, more necessities, and even more spending and influx of money into the marketplace, boosting our economy. Michael J. Silverstein, a senior vice president at the Boston Consulting Group said, “… many analysts regard Wal-Mart's practices