PBS' Frontline: Is Wal-Mart Good for America?

Discussion in 'Politics & Current Events' started by DevilDave, Nov 17, 2004.

  1. DevilDave

    DevilDave Member

    West Bromwich Albion/RBNY/PSG/Gamba Osaka/Sac Republic
    United States
    Sep 29, 2001
    Sacramento, CA
    Club:
    West Bromwich Albion FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    The growth of Wal-Mart has been a topic of this board before (and brought up in a number of threads). This evening, I watched a fascinating program on how Wal-Mart has transformed the American economy - in some ways good, in a lot of ways BAD. You can find much of the info on the program's site on PBS.org. And the program will be available online.

    It USED to be that manufacturers were the ones who dictated prices to wholesalers and retailers, based on their costs and their expectation of a reasonable profit. But these days Wal-Mart is the one telling the manufacturers what the prices will be, because of their push for low retail prices for their consumers. Their buyers are telling manufacturers what prices they will pay, or they won't stock the item in their stores. So in order to compete, manufacturers must produce their goods where the cost is lowest. Namely China. And the trade deficit with China is blossoming into hundreds of millions of dollars. Meanwhile, the program highlighted a number of cases where plants have shut down because of foreign competition.

    Apparently. the only American-owned company making TVs here in the United States is in Greenville, Tennessee. And the primary reason that company is still in business is because they filed and won a fair trade suit against Chinese manufacturers. BUT Wal-Mart filed a brief in support of the CHINESE companies. Pretty fishy for an AMERICAN company, right?

    If only American workers could only accept the pittance wages Chinese workers did, didn't need benefits, didn't join unions, then we wouldn't be losing ground to the Chinese economically. :rolleyes:

    This is one of the economic messes we liberals must admit Bill Clinton was (at least partially) responsible for. He's the one who cemented this free trade agreement with China and sold it to the American people under false pretenses... that China would be this massive market for our goods. But instead, we're only sending raw materials there and getting them to make our TVs, computers, clothes etc.

    And it was during Clinton's time in office that the Arkansas-based retailer spread from beyond the South and Midwest to all over the country.

    But this is one mess I can guarantee that Dubya will do absolutely nothing about.
     
  2. Coach_McGuirk

    Coach_McGuirk New Member

    Apr 30, 2002
    Between the Pipes
    I Tivo'd Frontline tonight, but I haven't watched it yet.

    CNBC had a 2 hour special on Wal-Mart and all the controversy. they've rerun it a couple of times and I suggest catching it as it's pretty detailed and they did a good job asking tough questions.
     
  3. DevilDave

    DevilDave Member

    West Bromwich Albion/RBNY/PSG/Gamba Osaka/Sac Republic
    United States
    Sep 29, 2001
    Sacramento, CA
    Club:
    West Bromwich Albion FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I missed the CNBC special, but I will definitely watch out for it.

    The Frontline special was good. I think there was a definite bias to the program, but at least the producer had numerous clips of an interview with one particular Wal-Mart VP, and a store visit with one of the company's top PR people. There was also the gentleman from the Cato Institute who believes that Wal-Mart is beneficial for the American economy.
     
  4. Coach_McGuirk

    Coach_McGuirk New Member

    Apr 30, 2002
    Between the Pipes
    CNBC had an extensive interview with Wal-mart's CEO, and they also had an economics professor from Iowa Stae who had some pretty bad things to say about Wal-Mart in general but, when pressed, said that the good outweighs the bad.

    Wal-Mart is a very interesting company. You have the public image of Sam Walton, the "country boy made good", and the perception right now by large portion of the country that Wal-Mart is the "evil empire".

    The Iowa State prof had one very interesting tidbit on Wal-Mart: when they are prevented from building in a town by the locals, they eventually set up shop no more than 20 miles away. Their proximity allows them to siphon business from the town that rejected them and end up still driving many small stores out of business. The prof called it "Wal-Mart punishment" as they end up doing all the things they are accused of, but since they are in another community it actually makes things worse since the new town sees what little benefits there are for a SuperCenter in their backyard/
     
  5. Alan S

    Alan S Member

    Jun 1, 2001
    Palo Alto, CA
    Club:
    San Jose Earthquakes
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I saw it. Frontline is always good, but this one really hits the mark. Would recommend it to anyone thinking about shopping there.

    I didn't know the extent to which Wal-Mart had driven American manufactures out of business, and even going to court againt (the last) American TV maker and in favor of Chinese firms dumping in the US was incredible.
     
  6. Mel Brennan

    Mel Brennan PLANITARCHIS' BANE

    Paris Saint Germain
    United States
    Apr 8, 2002
    Baltimore
    Club:
    Paris Saint Germain FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Many of the folks who post here have no idea what it is like to own a home in a community and watch that community transform; to participate in it doing so. You come to understand that communities are ALWAYS becoming something, even if that becoming a perpetuation of a myth of perfect sameness.

    The question is, "What is the community becoming?" If any home-owner who has a Wal-Mart in or near their community needs a FRONTLINE to TELL them the effect Wal-Mart is having UPON their community, they weren't paying attention to their community in the first place.

    Get out from in front of the TV, and get down to the local planning board meetings, the town council meetings, the zoning board meetings, the county commissioner meetings.

    The VERY REASON Wal-Mart does the things it does to communities it precisely because it, and it cadre of lawyers, know that you and I are too busy watching MTV to watch our communities transform, and as long as prices are low, we will often take whatever we're given.
     
  7. BenReilly

    BenReilly New Member

    Apr 8, 2002
  8. DoyleG

    DoyleG Moderator
    Staff Member

    FC Edmonton
    Canada
    Jan 11, 2002
    Victoria, BC
    Club:
    FC Edmonton
    Nat'l Team:
    Canada
    Wal-Mart is Satan. :rolleyes:
     
  9. BenReilly

    BenReilly New Member

    Apr 8, 2002
    That would be your hero, wouldn't it?

     
  10. BenReilly

    BenReilly New Member

    Apr 8, 2002
  11. DoyleG

    DoyleG Moderator
    Staff Member

    FC Edmonton
    Canada
    Jan 11, 2002
    Victoria, BC
    Club:
    FC Edmonton
    Nat'l Team:
    Canada
    Read Open World: The Truth About Globalization by Philippe Legrain
     
  12. BenReilly

    BenReilly New Member

    Apr 8, 2002
    I'm not against globalization, but I am disgusted by the evil practices of Wal-Mart, both at home and abroad.
     
  13. DoyleG

    DoyleG Moderator
    Staff Member

    FC Edmonton
    Canada
    Jan 11, 2002
    Victoria, BC
    Club:
    FC Edmonton
    Nat'l Team:
    Canada
    That's on your side of the border.
     

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