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April 17, 2004

A Study in Corporate Abuse

The largest company in the US in the mid-20th century?

General Motors- a company paying high wages and pioneering pensions and health care for its employees

The largest company today?

Wal-Mart- a company pioneering new lows in violations of minimum wage, overtime and discrimination laws, all while busting labor unions at every chance.

But there's more, as an academic conference of 250 schollars found.

Wal-Mart has essentially hijacked control of global manufacturing:

Wal-Mart's in-depth knowledge of what consumers want, coupled with its immense size, has given the company huge power over its suppliers, effectively changing the traditional relationship between manufacturer and retailer. It usually knows more than manufacturers do about what shoppers want this week and will want next year. With some suppliers complaining that the company has bullied them, Wal-Mart has caused factories from South Texas to Shanghai to increase efficiencies continually and to lower their costs and prices.
Sounds about what the national office of any manufacturing firm does to its subcontractors, doesn't it?

Which is the point.

Wal-Mart is not a retail store. It's is de facto the head of a massive global manufacturing empire. It is a force driving down wages not only in the United States but in poor countries around the world.

Those everyday low prices? They're bought by pushing down the income of poor families around the world. If Wal-Mart sold their goods at a few pennies more, they could improve the lives of millions of people around the globe.

Posted by Nathan at April 17, 2004 06:55 AM