Anti Wal-Mart crusaders are all fart and no shit. Consider exhibit A – a guy from down under, a place which apparently does not even have a Wal-Mart, claiming to be an expert on the effects of the imminent arrival of Wal-Mart to India. He ends up writing a purported satire on Desicritics that screams, “Hey I am just trying to be funny and don’t try to tell me the facts because my mind is already made up”.
There are a lot of atrocities in his piece but this one takes the cake (or shit if you will):
We eliminate all competition, which leaves us as the local consumers’ sole alternative.
Really? How do you eliminate competition in a purely market based economy like the US? Did they do it through government favors like Reliance did in India? Did they try to do it through an anti-market national alliance like the European nations tried with Airbus against Boeing? Did they hold the consumers at gun-point forcing them to come to them rather than say a Winn-Dixie, or Target Stores or even the much romanticized mom and pop stores?
Nah! If you care to go through the facts then you’d realized that they did it the old fashioned way – by squeezing every single penny worth of overheads from production to the point of consumption. You think that they squeeze their employees? Too bad if you think that high school graduates are worth more but if the market has determined that they are worth 5 dollars an hour then that is what the market will pay them! You are worried that students are dropping out of schools and colleges to work at Wal-Mart? Well if this is happening at 5 dollars an hour wait and see how many more drop out to join their stores if you had your way and inflate their wages to say 20 dollars an hour. An average high school graduate will have no motivation to go through college if he sees other high school graduates earning good money standing at the checkout counter of Wal-Marts. You set artificial valuations at talent and the market correction comes right back to bite you.
I just came back from Wal-Mart and if it were not for Wal-Mart I’d be paying at least twice as much shopping at mom and pop stores on the main street. My parents in India would go to shop at Wal-Mart in the blink of an eye because I know they are tired of the neighborhood “kirana” store who sells everything at MRP(Maximum Retail Price) keeping a fat profit for himself and his inefficiencies. And the last time I saw the “kirana” guy donating money was in a temple asking god for forgiveness for he had not paid his income tax again that year.
Of course it is easy to satirize, criticize and demonize a behemoth like Wal-Mart without considering the alternatives. The well-off want their exclusive shopping malls while letting the others fend for themselves. If the day laborer earning 100 rupees a day can get 2 extra kgs of flour for the same amount of money from Wal-Mart compared to the “kirana” store then I’d say more power to Wal-Mart and everything else is a fart.