As many of you will recall, Wal-Mart was a central focus of my recent weekly piece titled Where Food Stamps Go to Die. Well the article below looks at Wal-Mart from another angle, one that I am quite sympathetic towards. Of the many negative things the dominance of Wal-Mart in American retail leads to, I think the most destructive is how it drives smaller mom and pop retail shops out of business. We really need to ask ourselves as a society: What is preferable consumer goods prices 25% cheaper than they would otherwise be or healthy, dynamic, local, middle class communities? Of course it is not a black and white issue, but I think we have allowed things to swing much too far in one direction. The bottom line is that many small retailers mean many more independent and wealthy entrepreneurs with a bond to their local areas, as opposed to a behemoth like Wal-Mart, which enriches very, very few people and sucks the lifeblood out of community businesses. I think that we need to adjust the entire tax code to penalize companies as they get beyond a certain size, while doing everything in our power to incentivize risk-takers and start-ups as they are the ones that create the new technologies that change the world rather than engaging in parasitic behavior to protect egregious markets shares.
See the list of Wal-Mart facts here.