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People long for an American economy in a world that no longer exists, where main streets flourished with mom and pop shops, and a chocolate shake cost 50 cents, but you can’t blame one monolith corporation for the low cost, low goods economic state that the world is in now.
People fondly remember a period after World War II in which America led the world in manufacturing, in which great old American companies made their products right in our hometowns, high quality products that had no rivals. That is no longer what the world looks like. There is global competition, cheap labor and manufacturing overseas, and an insatiable consumer demand for cheap goods with the mentality of “cheap over anything else”. Wal-Mart simply fills that demand for America, and it fills it with an American company that contributes to American productivity, employing American workers and keeping down prices and inflation for 300,000,000 Americans. If Wal-Mart didn’t exist, some other company would fill that need, and it might not be American, so we should count our blessings. The company could be Swedish, like IKEA, or Danish, like Simon Lichtenberg’s Trayton Group. So, you cannot hold this against Wal-Mart on the basis of a claim that says Wal-Mart destroys the old American economy that our parents and grandparents remember affectionately. That economy is dead or dying, and this new world is less predictable. It moves too quickly sometimes for us to keep up, workers have less job security and Main Street is no longer the center of American commerce, but Wal-Mart does its part to help America keep up. Wal-Mart gives the American people somewhere to go to get discount merchandise that they otherwise couldn't afford, and this is the most important thing, to give our nation's people, and therefore our nation, the necessities of life.
Along with raising the standard of living for American families,
Wal-Mart boosts the economy, reduces inflation, and makes the economy more efficient as a whole. According to the Los Angeles Times, “U.S. economists say its tightfistedness has not only boosted its own bottom line, but also helped hold down the inflation rate for the entire country. Consumers reap the benefits every time they push a cart through Wal-Mart's checkout lines,” and “A cartful of groceries is 17% to 39% cheaper at a Wal-Mart Supercenter than at a unionized supermarket, according to a survey last year in Las Vegas, Dallas and Tampa, Florida, by investment bank UBS Warburg.” Also, while most people believe that Wal-Mart destroys America by forcing smaller “mom and pop” shops out of business, I oppose this view of the situation. I think that Wal-Mart only eliminates companies that would fall by the wayside anyway. Those who cannot keep up with the demands of the competitive world economy would be forced to close anyway. Furthermore, Wal-Mart provides an enormous market for U.S manufacturers, and Wal-Mart is directly responsible for their economic success. The consumer makes the decision about which stores to shop at. If they decide that lower prices are more important to them than the charm of older, smaller stores, that is their right. Americans do not value things that they used to value, like Mom and Pop shopping experiences, “Made In America” promises,” etc. If they are not willing to pay for those things, these small stores will fail in the marketplace. CEO Lee Scott said Wal-Mart Stores Inc. raises the standard of living for American families by about $1,250 per year. That amounts to about $100 billion a year that can be reinvested in the community, Scott said, citing research from a professor at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. The fact is, more money saved leads to more people going to college, more necessities, and even more spending and influx of money into the marketplace, boosting our economy. Michael J. Silverstein, a senior vice president at the Boston Consulting Group said, “… many analysts regard Wal-Mart's practices as simply leading the way in the inevitable drive to making the economy more efficient. "Wal-Mart is tough, but totally honest and straightforward in its dealings with vendors," he said. "Wal-Mart has forced manufacturers to get their act together and forced them to compete internationally."

Wal-Mart also creates one and a half millions of jobs for Americans, at a time with a 10% unemployment rate. This provides U.S citizens with stability and a consistent income. Among other good deeds done by the company, the Wal-Mart foundation donates millions of dollars a year to deserving charities. The company’s foundation has been recognized by the Chronicle of Philanthropy as the largest corporate cash contributor in the United States. In 2008, FORBES Magazine recognized Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. as the “number one most generous company overall.” They gave away over $530 million in the fiscal year ’08, and while some may question the motives behind these donations, the fact is that they still do good for the world.
Wal-Mart clearly wields a high amount of power in America’s economy, and has demonstrated that they use this power for the good of the planet. Wal-mart adopted a strong pro-environmental stand and has championed, for example, the sale of energy-efficient fluorescent light bulbs. “Beginning this month, Wal-Mart has launched a massive in-store campaign to educate customers about the benefits of energy-efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL’s),” according to the Motley Fool, which also said, “Lowering the price point on CFL's, however, was just the first barrier to overcome. Consumers also needed to be persuaded that the bulbs were a sound, strategic investment. That's what Wal-Mart's big campaign is all about.” The same website also stated that, "If Wal-Mart achieves its 100-million-bulb goal, the electricity savings will equal the removal of 1.3 million automobiles from the road, or the closure of two-coal powered energy plants.”

Wal-Mart provides stability in a time in which absolutely nothing is guaranteed, and it provides jobs and low cost goods for everyday Americans who might not otherwise have these necessities. We are lucky that an American company like Wal-Mart is the leader in the current economy, and that we get the most benefits out of any country in the world. It’s easy to hate Wal-Mart when you listen to the horror stories, which have likely been embellished to the point of falsification, but I implore you to look on the logical side of an emotional issue, and consider the facts.



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KatsK This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 4, 2012 at 5:26 pm
I highly disagree, but good article.
 
Derek V. said...
Jan. 11, 2012 at 7:28 am
WALMART is the only decent american everythjing store left in america. It is shame we are not like back in the fities. WALLY WORLD!
 
surya1v said...
Jan. 11, 2012 at 7:17 am
You are correct walmart helps many people espacially during an economic crisis. I to use wal mart to buy all my clothes
 
wi234 replied...
Mar. 19, 2012 at 10:13 am
i disagree with this artical. you do not seem to have taken into account that walmart has insalved thousands of children that make their products. but walmart's  "assocates" do little better as they are constantly exploited. 
 
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