American Economy

Review From User :

Having a family in the grocery business (and being a product of one of the most economically distraught states in the country-Michigan) of course likely aroused my interest in this book more than most. But, as the book so thoughtfully and throughly puts forward, Wal-Mart truly affects us all, whether we shop there or not. Now don't think that this book was simply one big stoning fest at Wal-Mart, it's not. The author covers the positive and the negative of this the largest company in the country. I was pleased to hear how Wal-Mart has actually stream lined the methods of product distribution and prompted the cut down in unnecessary product packaging. Beyond the more publicized stories of how Wal-Mart has facilitated the exportation of jobs and closing of mom and pop stores, I found it really interesting to read about the more hidden and at times subtle influences of Wal-Mart. Most of all how they have really changed our expectations of products; how products are more cheaply made, and that is what we expect. So we aren't surprised when our toasters last only one or two years and we have to get a new one. We don't complain because it was inexpensive to begin with, what's so big about buying another one (except that adds volume to our landfills). But you know a better toaster can be made, shoot I think my mom is still using the one she got in the early '60s.
It's overwhelming to try and summarize how the volume and dominance of Wal-Mart as a retailer and it's low pricing philosophy affects the environment, Wal-Mart employees, medicare, manufacturers, harvesters, factory workers, fisherman, farmers, everyone all the way down the production food/product chain. And with that the ultimate potential that Wal-Mart has to change and improve how we produce goods.

The book was written in 2006. There was an afterward that addressed Wal-Mart's response to the book. It did seem to prompt some ideas of change in their policies, ok, we'll see.


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