The heading above is the title of a recently-released book that I have just been reading — a title that rather obviously mocks Leftist talk about revolutions but which is pretty accurate nonetheless. One of the authors is an economist so he brings to the subject the sort of cool rationality that is sadly missing from the standard Leftist boilerplate about Wal-Mart. The book gives you in detail all the facts you need to dismiss every single one of the Leftist criticisms. I liked the following paragraphs:
“We reject the idea that Wal-Mart destroys communities and adds to urban sprawl. Downtowns were declining long before Wal-Mart became an important retailmg force, and the big-box retail revolution is but one additional factor in thc demise of retailing in central business districts where parking is typicaLl relatively scarce. While it is true that some stores go out of business when Wal-Mart enters a community, the opening and closing of stores in response to changing tastes and technology has been part of the retail landscape literally for centuries. Wal-Mart does not force stores out of business. Customers do, by voting with their feet and going to Wal-Mart with its lower prices and greater choices than the local alternatives. People prefer Wal-Mart and, in exercising their preferences, they are enhancing their own welfare, and thus that of the communities the stores serve.
Wal-Mart serves customers at all income levels and walks of life, as do Target, Home Depot, Best Buy and other big-box stores. They appeal to consumers at all income levels — but Wal-Mart disproportionately serves the poor. Wal-Mart stores are more often located in areas with below-average incomes, and surveys show that a larger proportion of lower-income people shop at Wal-Mart than people from affluent families. So the store’s consumer welfare benefits particularly aid the poor — and consequently, attempts to keep it out of communities hurt the poor far more than the rich….
Wal-Mart has not been particularly adroit in handling criticism. It has mounted a campaign to appease organized labor and environmental groups, tinkering with health care plans and entering the organic fish business, among other things. It strikes us that it may be abandoning its principles of everyday low prices to pander to its opponents, many of whom probably do not represent mainstream American thinking. We wonder whether Wal-Mart is trying to “appease the unappeasable”.
I think the authors have hit on the crux of the matter in their phrase “appease the unappeasable”. Leftist opposition to Wal-Mart is based on hatred of other people’s success and all the PR efforts of Wal-Mart and all the detailed information in the book about it will not quench that hate. Wal-Mart’s sin is the same sin that Leftists see in America as a whole and in Israel: Success.
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