A wall divides our Left from our Right, symbolized perfectly by Wal-Mart. The world’s most successful retailer pleases the Right by supplying multitudes of the poor with low-cost products they otherwise would find unavailable, while hiring multitudes of not very qualified workers who otherwise, might not find employment. The Right calls this a triumph of the free market.
The Left, noting that low-wage Wal-Mart workers are not unionized (and scandalized by that) complain that the low prices come out of worker’s being underpaid and accuse the retail giant of destroying local mom-and-pop retailers. These are of course, politicized positions, not honest economics. And plenty of emotion accompanies them.
A reasonably representative Left picture concludes that Wal-Mart is really no advantage to a local economy. We prefer out own analysis:
We like the Socratic method, asking questions. First, do you believe that those few little Mom and Pop retailers that cannot compete with the giant because their prices are too high, hire more workers at higher wages than does Wal-Mart?
Next, do those little, higher-priced retailers provide more people more goods than does the evil giant?
It seems self-evident to us (feel free to disagree) that the larger numbers of both jobs and cheaper goods brought by Wal-Mart contribute more to an economy than the efforts of those who have been unable to compete. That’s after all, Econ 101, isn’t it? And isn’t that just another way of saying: “Reality?” We think so, but again, feel free to disagree. If you elect to disagree though, kindly explain your reasons so that we can correct any errors we have made. A price we pay for devotion to reality, is the need to correct perceived errors…