Walmart’s explosive growth has gutted two key pillars of the American middle class: small businesses and well-paying manufacturing jobs.
Between 2001 and 2007, some 40,000 U.S. factories closed, eliminating millions of jobs. While Walmart’s ceaseless search for lower costs wasn’t the only factor that drove production overseas, it was a major one. During these six years, Walmart’s imports from China tripled in value from $9 billion to $27 billion.
Small, family-owned retail businesses likewise closed in droves as Walmart grew. Between 1992 and 2007, the number of independent retailers fell by over 60,000, according to the U.S. Census.
Their demise triggered a cascade of losses elsewhere. As communities lost their local retailers, there was less demand for services like accounting and graphic design, less advertising revenue for local media outlets, and fewer accounts for local banks. As Walmart moved into communities, the volume of money circulating from business to business declined. More dollars flowed into Walmart’s tills and out of the local economy.
In exchange for the many middle-income jobs Walmart eliminated, all we got in return were low-wage jobs for the workers who now toil in its stores. To get by, many Walmart employees have no choice but to rely on food stamps and other public assistance.
Walmart’s history is the story of what has gone wrong in the American economy. Wages have stagnated. The middle class has shrunk. The ranks of the working poor have swelled. Whatever we may have saved shopping at Walmart, we’ve more than paid for it in diminished opportunities and declining income.
I was having a conversation with someone one day about Wal-Mart and I made a point that Wal-Mart destroyed the Mom & Pop store and also destroyed jobs. I was told that jobs, had in fact, been created. But the above does a good job of understanding what those job creations meant…A lot more jobs were lost than what were gained.
In one of my business classes, we were discussing Wal-Mart and about how they essentially bully businesses in to giving them what they want because they buy in such large amounts.
I hate Wal-Mart. And you shouldn’t support them. Just as you shouldn’t support any corporation that doesn’t want to take care of people.
I am broke and yes, it might make sense financially to shop there, but I hate it. It doesn’t make sense morally to shop there.