Should We Admire Walmart

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Professor Westbrook English 111-18B 4 December 2008 Should we Admire Wal-Mart? Should we Admire Wal-Mart?

The article was featured in Fortune magazine. It was part of a compilation called:”2008 America’s Most Admired Companies”. The featured company is the world renowned Wal-Mart and the question was: “Should we Admire Wal-Mart?”(32). The article explored two sides of the company - an evil side and a good side. The evil side is one that exploits its employees by paying low wages and by weakening suppliers and competitors. The good Wal-Mart, the article poses, is one that has reduced prices and improved on productivity. The article highlights what Wal-Mart has bought to the economy. Its employment of 1.4 million makes it the nation’s biggest employer.

I think the Wal-Mart phenomena lies in its history and its founder. Sam Walton was born in March 1918 in the town of Kingfisher, Oklahoma. Graduating from the University of Missouri, Sam enlisted in the Army for the World War II effort. Upon return, he worked for a while at the J.C. Penney group of stores. He began to realize that opportunities existed in the large scale discount retailing business. The idea and business philosophy of Wal-Mart consisted of getting National Brands in bulk at a discount based on volume purchases. The company would then stamp its mark and resell the goods at a slight markup. This philosophy was so successful that it has eventually led to Wal-Mart's becoming the single largest private employer across the USA.

The idea of lower prices at Wal-Mart has been encouraged and influenced by its increase in imports from China. Wal-Mart and its suppliers import $15 billion of goods, almost 12% of the total the United States imports. However while that may mean lower prices for the Wal-Mart shopper, it has also meant lower wages and benefits for Wal-Mart employees which in turn, some argue is having an effect on wages in all sectors of the economy. The latest strikes in California...
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