Texas A&M University-San Antonio
The purpose of this paper is to argue either in favor of the proposition that Wal-Mart is good for America, or against the proposition. The great Aristotle said: “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it”. After hearing the quote, I started thinking about different ideas, letting the thoughts roam in my head, and actually considering them without immediately discarding them. I have learned not to accept a concept just because it sounded interesting or because the idea was introduced by a trustworthy person. After careful consideration and research of different viewpoints, I came to the conclusion that Wal-Mart is bad for America for several reasons. Mainly, Wal-Mart has destroyed small businesses and manufacturing jobs in America. Secondly, Wal-Mart is a burden on taxpayers. Thirdly, Wal-Mart does not pay its employees competitive salaries or provide medical insurance to most of their employees. Lastly, Wal-Mart can be viewed as a greedy company that is willing to go the distance in order to cut costs and gain profits. Wal-Mart is slowly destroying America by eliminating small business jobs in America. Sobel (2008) states that Wal-Mart has indeed set prices low enough to drive mom-and-pop stores out of business all over the United States. Small businesses are critical to the United States economy according to Ran (2009). In general, small business is any company that employs less than 100 people. What a lot of Americans do not know, is that small business in America has been the stabilizing force in the economy and small business is what stimulates economic growth as described by (Vedder, 2014).
While researching the topic, I learned that small businesses are currently responsible for employing over half of the country’s economy. Former Secretary of Labor, Robert B. Reich, stated on the NY Times that Wal-Mart will turn “main streets into ghost towns by sucking business away from small retailers” (Sobel, 2008). The article also indicated that Wal-Mart Watch, one of the largest anti-Wal-Mart organizations, claimed that in Iowa, Wal-Mart’s expansion has been responsible for widespread closings of small business stores, including 555 grocery stores, 298 hardware stores, 293 building suppliers, 161 variety shops, 158 women’s stores, and 116 pharmacies. Those numbers are extremely shocking and show the huge impact Wal-Mart has on the economy.
In addition to destroying small business, Wal-Mart has caused a significant reduction in the amount of manufacturing jobs in America. The next time you visit Wal-Mart pick up 10 different products and check the label to see where the products were made at. Ran (2009) describes that Americans are buying billions of goods that are not made in America. The vast majority of merchandise Wal-Mart sells in the United States is manufactured abroad in order to cut costs. In turn, it has caused many other US companies to move their factories overseas (Matusitz, 2013). The influence and power held by Wal-Mart has forced their suppliers, such as Levi’s, to move their manufacturing from the US to abroad in order to meet Wal-Mart’s demand for low prices.
In order to meet Wal-Mart’s demands for low costs, suppliers have been forced to outsource their manufacturing to get cheap labor, which in turn has caused layoffs in the US supply and manufacturing sector. Additionally, cheap manufacturing needs have started to promote the development of domestic sweatshops. According to Sobel (2008), Louisiana Seafood Processor, C.J.’s Seafood, which sells an estimated 85 percent of its processed crawfish to Wal-Mart, has recently come under scrutiny for allegedly abusing employees working in the US on temporary immigrant visas (known as guest worker visas). Suppliers are pressurized to reduce expenses by any means possible to comply with the retail giant’s…