July 21, 2006
Dialog on Walmart
Posted by Fred Tung

The debate over the merits of Walmart is hardly new (it's been done here at the Glom as well).  But I ran across a good email debate over at Slate entitled "Is Walmart good for the American working class?"  The debate is between economist Jason Furman and author-activist Barbara Ehrenreich, who worked as a new hire at Walmart as part of the research for her book Nickel and Dimed, which portrays life as a low-wage worker in the US.  Of particular interest, they fight about the empirical data--both its quality and meaning. 

Worth a read.

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Comments (2)

1. Posted by Jake on July 22, 2006 @ 15:59 | Permalink

An interesting dialogue indeed. Furman is a capitalist, but of the squishy variety, not to be confused with Smith, Hayek, or Friedman. Ehrenreich appears to be an outright Leninist.

I shop at WalMart from time to time. The employees appear to be considerably better off than I was 35 years ago, doing backbreaking construction labor in 100-degree heat in South Texas for the minimum wage. At the time, I would have welcomed having WalMart around to work for. They do air condition the stores, for starters.


2. Posted by Lisa Fairfax on July 23, 2006 @ 19:37 | Permalink

Interestingly, last week a US District judge overturned the Maryland law that would have required Wal-Mart to spend more money on health care for its workers. Wal-Mart critics had hoped the law could be replicated in other states. While Maryland's actions suggest that states are willing to be pro-active, this decision suggests that critics must look at other measures to impact Wal-Mart's conduct.

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