Some people love to bash Wal-Mart. This article is from 2003 but I suspect a lot of current critics would like it very much.
If you want to make money by far the best way is to go into a field where government legislation restricts competition – become a doctor or a teacher or something with patent and copyright legislation.
There probably isn’t much legislation to restrict competition in retail sales so firms in that business have to sharpen their pencils or use marketing tactics. Reading this article it is clear that Wal-mart is or has been very good with the pencil. I am more opposed to legislation that restricts competition and marketing tactics than I am to firms that use sharp pencils.
On the theory that firms relying on legislation to restrict competition would be heavy into lobbying, I googled “Wal-Mart lobbying.” It appears Wal-mart has not put much effort into lobbying although it is now starting to campaign for online retailers to be required to collect sales tax.
The issue appears to be that offshore competition, showing up in Wal-mart, is forcing some American manufacturers to go out of business putting their employees out of work. Firms going out of business is a normal, and sometimes necessary thing. The way to deal with that is a universal income scheme such as the negative income tax proposed by Milton Friedman or my own proposal for universal subsistence payments.
We should not feel guilty about buying things made in other countries. Trade is a social activity and we want other countries to buy things from us.
I’m not a fan of Wal-Mart but I do occasionally go there. I pride myself that most of the time I leave the store with only those items I had planned on buying. I also know from experience they don’t always have the lowest prices and I can’t recall ever seeing Wal-Mart advertise quality.
In the retail segment of our economy there are lots of firms and lots of competition. They all use marketing tactics to give them an edge. Therefore we should remember the old saying: “Buyer beware.”
If you liked this post your are invited to comment, press the like button and/or click one of the share buttons. If you disagree you are invited to say why in a comment. While I like the idea of sharing this platform, my personality is such that I don’t reply to many comments.