Saturday, August 02, 2008

Wal-Mart As Predator

Human Rights Watch has long been critical of Wal-Mart which takes full advantage of weak American labor laws which make it virtually impossible for the 1.3 million employees of America's largest retailer to ever hope to unionize. In addition, Wal-Mart continues to use a variety of both legal and illegal means to prevent their workforce from unionizing. It is no wonder that Wal-Mart continues as the biggest retailer in America with $351 billion in revenue in 2007, topping the Fortune 500 list once again, while most Wal-Mart workers struggle to afford rent, gasoline, health care or food for their families on minimum Wal-Mart wage incomes. Many Wal-Mart employees have to accept Food Stamps, public health care or some other government sponsored welfare in order to survive. Taxpayers have to subsidize the low wages and lack of benefits that Wal-Mart pays, while the management of Wal-Mart brings home millions in pay and billions in corporate profits. Wal-Mart exploits the taxpayer by forcing them to pay their labor costs and costs of doing business that they refuse to pay. Wal-Mart is simply not a good public citizen.

The early days of the American Revolution promised upward mobility to workers if they would only move to the cities and become dependent on others for jobs and give up their farms and self-dependent lifestyles. Instead, many workers in America continue to live below the poverty line in a relationship hardly much better than the classic days of the slave and slave owner. Yet, because of a lack of class-conscious struggle by most American workers, many workers are not radicalized like their counterparts in Europe to throw off this oppression and only allow themselves to be continually exploited by their oppressors. But the tactics of Wal-Mart make even unionizing by their employees impossible. This company is expert at wage exploitation of their employees.

Just because the chains of slavery around the necks of many forced into poverty in America in some low paying dead-end minimum wage jobs is invisible doesn't mean that it's not still there hanging around their necks. Wal-Mart is a blowback to the bad old days of the Company Store.

Unlike employers in most other American companies who believe in a fair wages for a fair days work, Wal-Mart's upper management believes that their road to wealth should come from the worst methods of exploitation of their employees to boost profits and continue to open new stores and push out other businesses. Wal-Mart currently has over 4,000 stores, and has plans to go into many more communities and economically destroy their competition and take over the market in those areas, drive down wages in those communities, and become more powerful.

Wal-Mart is like an alien predator, it devours other businesses and ruins the American Dream hopes of anyone caught working there who is not top management and who doesn't share in it's wealth. When other businesses are economically destroyed in some small community, and Wal-Mart becomes the only source of jobs in that community, workers watch their wages cut and freedom of choice of where to shop disappears. Wal-Mart doesn't represent free market economics, it represents one seller control of all business and all wages in some smaller communities. It's the closest thing to a Soviet-era Communist economic system of complete economic control of the lives of all involved in some smaller communities that America will ever witness. No one in their right mind can call this good.


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