Thursday, April 7, 2005

Walmart - Always Low Wages, Ethics, Etc.!

There's a superb article posted on Alternet by Jonathan Tasini. Tasini is president of the Economic Future Group and writes his "Working In America" columns for TomPaine.com on an occasional basis. Tasini will be participating in an April 6 nationally broadcast debate on the question "What's Good for Wal-Mart is Good for America?"

Here's an excerpt from "Wal-Mart's Culture of Crime and Greed":
And, to top it off, the Beast's business model could not operate without the connivance of the authoritarian regime in China. You probably never heard of a guy named Wang Jun, but he's one of Wal-Mart's main men in China. Aside from being involved in a company called Poly Technology, which is the weapons-trading arm of the People's Liberation Army, Jun runs a Chinese state-sponsored investment company and ensures that Wal-Mart's wishes are known and satisfied by those running the Communist Party. In China, Wal-Mart has a ready supply of underage children and under-waged adults to produce its products. The point here is that Wal-Mart is no free-market miracle: Its profits are a result of an artificial suppression of wages. Wal-Mart could not operate in a truly free market--if such a thing even existed. Instead, Wal-Mart is in cahoots with the Chinese government, raking in profits by condoning the violation of basic international labor standards.

Greed is a theme with the Wal-Mart family. The family, worth a combined $95 billion, has given a stingy one percent of its wealth to charity. By comparison, Business Week, writing about Bill and Melinda Gates in a November cover story on the country's philanthropists, observed that the Gates made "history this year by giving their estimated $3 billion Microsoft Corp. dividend to their foundation. It's one of the largest donations in history by a living donor. To put it into perspective, that one gift is three times bigger than the amount that America's richest family, the descendants of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. founder Sam Walton, has given during their entire lifetimes."

To read the entire article, go here.

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