Archive for September, 2013

The Walmartization of America

September.14. 2013

You’re probably familiar with Walmart, the great American superstore. It’s truly one of capitalism’s great success stories, a tribute to the power of the free market system.

The basic formula behind its astonishing success is simple.

Sell things at ridiculously low prices and undercut your competition.

And it seems to work – ridiculously well.

Go to any Walmart store and it’s bursting at the seams. Not even its closest rival, Target, can match the intensity and fervor of its shoppers. At Walmart, it seems, every day is Black Friday.

At Walmart too, they respect their workers , they call them ‘associates,’ instead of the commonplace term ‘employees.’

That’s corporate respect at its best.

And these days, it seems, more and more, the trend in America is towards the Walmart model.

Companies and organizations across the country are embracing its key tenets.

Which happen to be, in addition to ridiculously low prices, ridiculously low wages and no benefits.

But in order to implement this plan, you have to get rid of the unions first. (Unions do not exist in the Walmart model.)

Once you get rid of unions, you can fire your full-time ‘employees’ and rehire them as part-time ‘associates.’ And voila, instant success – low wages, no benefits, and maximum profits for the organization.

And what do you do with all the extra cash generated by getting rid of all those full time positions?

You give your CEOs and his hatchet men and women a hefty pay raise – they’re responsible for the unexpected windfall and deserve part of the loot.

As the rest of the story goes, everybody lives happily ever after.

The bureaucrats because they got their hefty pay raises, and the workers because now they’re called ‘associates,’ and not by that lowly degrading term, ‘employees.’

So next time, when you read some headlines about some unions being busted in some states by some right-wing politicians, don’t get too alarmed.

It’s just part of the walmartization of America in progress.