New Wal-Mart is an unncessary evil

While the new mall has been a prevalent issue in the community, the addition of a new Super Wal-Mart into our city has been largely ignored. Although the plans to build the store have been finalized, The WEB feels it is important to state our disapproval of this decision. The construction of a Super Wal-Mart is unnecessary and destructive to the Ames community through the dominating presence it would create over local businesses and other competing providers. Furthermore, Wal-Mart is a corporate giant whose thoughtless regards towards workers and monopolistic consequences cause The WEB to feel that it should not be given the chance to accumulate more power in the Ames economy. In 2002, figures showed that 51 of the world’s top 100 economies were corporations (the other 49 are countries). In terms of Gross Domestic Product, Wal-Mart is bigger than the economy of Indonesia, as quoted in Sackrey and Schneider’s Introduction to Political Economy. And the reality is, Wal-Mart keeps on growing. More and more stores are being built, and a few years ago, the chain introduced Super Wal-Mart, which includes a grocery section to its regular departments, thus eliminating any need to make a separate trip to the grocery store. Wal-Mart and other large chains such as Borders or Starbucks use their corporate advantages to drive out competition because smaller or local business simply cannot bear to stay in business. Only these large corporations can afford to sell products at such low prices and offer optimal convenience to customers. To top it all off, Wal-Mart has employed an anti-union policy, in effect sometimes even firing workers or closing down stores or departments that attempt to unionize. quoted figures from 2001, which showed that women earned between five and 15 percent less, on average, than male Wal-Mart employees. Additionally, there have been workers denied legitimate breaks during shifts, workers’ compensation, and health benefits for retirees. These are only some of the problems in the basic Wal-Mart framework. Though the corporation advertises its “always low prices,” large selection, and smiley logo, its practices and effects on other businesses are not healthy for our economy, local and otherwise, or the society at large. The WEB hopes that in the future, greater attention will be given to the less comfortable aspects of large corporations like Wal-Mart before allowing them to expand, and that the potential effects will be examined fairly.