Wednesday, October 26, 2005

 

Is Wal-Mart Good Or Bad For The Economy?

The question in the title has been one that's been hotly debated in recent years. Many of those who believe that strong wages drive economic growth believe, of course, that Wal-Mart has been overwhelmingly bad. Those that feel that low prices rule over all else tend to think the opposite. Economic propellerheads have leaned towards supporting Wal-Mart, especially since those sort of people tend to be globalists and like the fact that WM sources goods from low-labor-cost markets. Folks in the pro-WM group often express feelings that the "antis" are just a bunch of pro-union lefties.

To answer the good-bad question, Wal-Mart is sponsoring a debate of economists, who will present papers on the topic on Nov. 4th. While I'm guessing this was assumed to be a slam-dunk for Wal-Mart, previews of the papers are showing that it's not necessarily the case. Not only are some of the studies looking to knock WM off its "we help more than we hurt" pedestal, but additionally, they might even go so far as to question WM's efficiency advantage over mom-and-pop competitors.

Needless to say, I await further info on this, and will attempt to follow up on this as more becomes available.

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