Anyone who’s spent a fair amount of time with me will understand my disgust for big box retailers. Buying local is important, and I advocate supporting local businesses whenever possible. Despite this, I do find myself at Best Buy and Target occasionally, usually after local stores have closed (and where can you buy reliable electronics in Philadelphia?).
Wal-Mart is a particularly nasty organization, making enormous profits off of ridiculous subsidizing from local, state and federal governments. The store relies on other services tax-payers pay for: food stamps, social security and Medicaid, all services Wal-Mart can easily afford to provide for their workers, but often do not offer. Wal-mart is the world’s largest retailer, allowing it to control and dominate sales of produce, prescription drugs, CD’s, DVD’s, clothing and electronics. They bully manufacturers and farmers to provide products which are low in price (and typically low in quality), lowering the amount of profits these businesses earn. Control the retail market, control the manufacturing, control the workers.
I highly recommend those new to this issue rent or download a copy of The High Cost of Low Price , which details the many reasons why folks should stop supporting the Walton empire.
Hilary Clinton sat on the board of Wal-Mart for 8 years while first-lady of Arkansas. Many defend her work, for representing women on a male-dominated board, as well as helping the company become more environmentally-sound. In 2008, Wal-mart’s environmental record is less than spectacular, which leads me to ponder how effective she could have been in the late eighties. The Village Voice points out Clinton depended on her work with Wal-Mart for not only income and travel expenses, but also for campaign contributions for her husband.
Clinton has since distanced herself from her Wal-Mart roots, building a more disirable presidential image as champion for workers rights, rather than as supporter of a draconian union-busting, human-rights-violating empire.
I am rather convinced our good-old-boy system of politics will ensure, rather ironically, that our next president will not be a black man, but rather a white female. But then, what about Edwards? I remain reflective.