Ezra Klein

Bangladeshi Garment Fire: Downstream Effect of a WalMart Economy?

One of the things hot on the nets yesterday was Peter Suderman’s pushback against the anti-WalMart action that has been progressing over the last week, culminating in organized protests at numerous stores across the country on Black Friday. Even Alan Grayson got in on the WalMart Thanksgiving protest mix.

But Suderman, loosing followup thoughts after an appearance regarding the subject on Up With Chris Hayes caused a storm. Here is a Storify with all 17 of Suderman’s Tweet thoughts. Suderman, who is a Libertarian and certainly no progressive, nevertheless makes some pretty cogent arguments, and the real gist can be summed up in just a few of the Tweets:

So the benefits of Walmart’s substantially lower prices to the lowest earning cohort are huge, especially on food.
**********
Obama adviser Jason Furman has estimated the welfare boost of Walmart’s low food prices alone is about $50b a year.
**********
Paying Walmart’s workers more would mean the money has to come from somewhere. But where?
**********
Raise prices to pay for increased wages and you cut into the store’s huge low-price benefits for the poor. It’s regressive.

Suderman goes on to note that WalMart workers are effectively within the norm for their business sector as to pay and benefits.

My purpose here is not to get into a who is right and who is wrong, the protesters or Suderman, I actually think there is relative merit to both sides and will leave resolution of that discussion for others.

My point is that the discussion is bigger than than simply the plight of the WalMart retail workers in the US. WalMart is such a huge buyer and seller that it is the avatar of modern low cost retailing and what it does has reverberations not just in the US life and economy, but that of the world. Ezra Klein came close to going there in a reponse piece to Suderman’s take:

But Wal-Mart’s effect on its own employees pales in comparison to its effect on its supply chain’s workers, and its competitors’ workers. As Barry Lynn argued in his Harper’s essay “Breaking the Chain,” and as Charles Fishman demonstrated in his book “The Wal-Mart Effect,” the often unacknowledged consequence of Wal-Mart is that it has reshaped a huge swath of the American, and perhaps even the global, economy.

Not “perhaps” the global economy Ezra, definitively the global economy. WalMart sets the tone for high volume Continue reading

Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz @VICE @radleybalko "author of 'Rise of the Warrior Cop' and noted Tennessee traffic scofflaw"
15mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @shannynmoore Cause they can't reach the pedals?
34mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @OBEYshiba Where to for law school?
36mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @bungdan Hey, if Saudi princes want a divorce, I believe that DOES work. So they can be forgiven for believing the same would work here.
37mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @OBEYshiba Ah, fine cause then.
41mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @granick Me, I jumped right to the "Bates stamping." phase of things. But I'm making progress there: http://t.co/0xEYaCJ7Ak
41mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @granick You engaged in such sustained serious discussion b4 you lapsed into snark: "another tchotchke for your Curio Cabinet of Naïveté."
43mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @OBEYshiba Now you got my curiosity up: why do you care?
57mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @joanneleon Saying blowjob is not DQing for PFIAB. Suggesting someone investigate torture is. @OKnox
1hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @bungdan the Saudis have issued 8 disavowals of ISIS in last 2 weeks. Doesn't that count?
1hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel .@OKnox But I do think it's nifty Jules Genachowski gets to be on PFIAB--FCC rather interesting prep to be on PFIAB.
1hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @TyreJim NVM. It's a bad boyfriend story. But I did pre-infiltrate EFF, years before they were there. @onekade @EFF
1hreplyretweetfavorite
August 2014
S M T W T F S
« Jul    
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31