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 The Feds Feds targeted Denny Hastert, and then looked for the crime. Not exactly the proper use if US criminal law http://t.co/mkh3qMsedr
6mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz And how is Bahlul coming along? https://t.co/5zCPReJhNl
9mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @walterwkatz Russia has more reason than just their own significant corruption to be pissed, bc of that precedent. @ScottGreenfield
18mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @walterwkatz One big reason for EDNY, I think, is bc of JFK precedents like Bout. @ScottGreenfield
18mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz This is spot on: https://t.co/9drOYgC0ZJ
30mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @Taniel Liberals can't stand Kyrsten Sinema either, but she has far better statewide recognition+is a light years better campaigner than AK
31mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @Taniel I don't think Kirkpatrick can beat either McCain or Salmon. She has no statewide recognition, and most liberals don't care for her.
34mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz Dissembling security+foreign policy stooge inadvertently proves in @WSJ why Edward Snowden is an international hero http://t.co/7agRcYSkHN
48mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz RT @chriswnews: Plenty of extra security eyes outside #Phoenix Islamic ctr w/ a protest planned here later. #12News http://t.co/xM4y4C0iWd
52mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @ThePeoplesBacon Adelson = Hillary's oligarchs: Adelson's trained seals = Hillary @zappin_liberals @AaronMDellutri
1hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @zappin_liberals You geniuses forget that every trained seal Adelson bought for Bibi was also in office. @ThePeoplesBacon @AaronMDellutri
1hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel .@ScottGreenfield rightly warns abt jurisdictional and venue issues in the FIFA prosecution. http://t.co/I2aug6TfD3
2hreplyretweetfavorite
May 2015
S M T W T F S
« Apr    
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31