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Wal-Mart « Previous | |Next »
December 29, 2004

The discount retailer Wal-Mart is Fortune's most admired corporation. It has taken advantage of the rise of information technology and utilized the explosion of the global economy to outsource its supplies and gained control of the supply chain.

Wal-Mart's low-wage model, technologically efficiency and global reach has changed the balance of power in the business world. It has become the template of American capitalism in the 21st century. It has become one of the most profitable companies in the world and the darling of Wall Street.

Does Wal-Mart represent the future of retailing in Australia? One in which the mass global retailer is the center of economic power?

When Wal-Mart moves into a community, other, smaller retailers get pushed out, because Wal-Mart can undercut their prices 20, 30 percent. Wal-Mart can stay there. Other retailers leave. On the supply side Wal-Mart squeezes its suppliers. They cannot pass higher costs on to Wal-Mart, because Wal-Mart is so big. The suppliers can't make profits and they are finding that they can't meet Wal-Mart prices. So Wal-Mart goes offshore to China and the suppliers go out of business if they aren't able to go offshore to set up low cost production.

Wal-Mart is a world of low wages and poor benefits, sex discrimination against women, tough conformity, a rigid hierarchy and authoritarianism.

It is a new world of the working poor spent scraping by on the poverty line, anti-union company, corporate welfare and exploitation of the working poor as central to its business strategy. This is a workforce which rapidly turns over because the technology means that you can just slot one person into the job with no training and no sort of background.

Is this new American model for employment the future of Australian capitalism, rather than an innovation model based on higher wages, new products and good benefits for Australian workers?

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:27 AM | | Comments (1)
Comments

Comments

Who this may concern,last week I gone on line to find Bernstein bears,I visit one of your store, it was like a zoo. I ask a cleck in the toy dept.were are the Bernstein bears.They had no clue!! So I when to the customer service desk ask the same question, the clerk checks her computer.She reply stating they are not in at this time.Your employee's should be better train in the dept. which they work.I will never visit your stores on a Friday evening,it's a mad house.
I still haven't gotten a Bernstein bears for my grand child.This bear is made in U.S.A hand made.
Your store did have a large section of bears that are made in China.