Tazreen Fashions

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 @Javakev He could have kept his sorry ass out of it after years of pretending he was the salve on the American wound he was not
8mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @dkmich I think we're using road funding to pay for @SchuetteOnDuty's stupid serial national lawsuits.
16mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @RustBeltRebel Peaceful brown people being killed by white men with dogs. You know, peaceful.
28mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz And, with nothing more as substance in a time of obvious turmoil, Obama has proven what a hollow shell of a Dem leader he really is+has been
35mreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV RT @barbaraslavin1: .@lrozen has a more optimistic take: Last days of #Iran talks showed signs of promise http://t.co/M1bxOQ4mhe via @AlMon
37mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz For a man who supposedly made his bones as a "civil rights scholar", Obama's bleating statement on Ferguson was some pissant weak sauce.
40mreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV End this tyranny! https://t.co/qI6mZb9iOm Help us, Florida #Gators
41mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @JoeSudbay I studied it, I think when I was making fun of Cowan and Obama both being BIFFOs. And yes, I'm quite proud of it.
59mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @JoeSudbay Admit it. You take great pride in being able to spell Taoiseach w/o peeking. @EndaKennyTD
1hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel RT @RudyHavenstein: I saw this picture of some of the looters. #Ferguson http://t.co/j1QoXnBTZP
2hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @johnson_carrie I just think not enough people noticed how absolutely outrageous FBI is being on these re-declassifications.
2hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @johnson_carrie Thank @charlie_savage who (as I said) did the work of flagging all changes. How's it feel to be SECRET/NOFORN?
2hreplyretweetfavorite
November 2014
S M T W T F S
« Oct    
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30