Sunday, March 8, 2009

On Wal-Mart

A Round Unvarnish'd Tale shares Charles Platt's fascinating apologia for Wal-Mart. I really suggest you read the whole thing. All other things aside, the crux of his argument comes to two points: one, Wal-Mart's business model and treatment of employees are typical of the retail sector in general, and better than any of its competitors; and secondly (emphasis mine)
To my mind, the real scandal is not that a large corporation doesn't pay people more. The scandal is that so many people have so little economic value. Despite (or because of) a free public school system, millions of teenagers enter the work force without marketable skills. So why would anyone expect them to be well paid?"
The truth hurts.

1 comment:

Shane said...

I've long said that the military is the best vehicle into the comfortable middle class. It turns so many unskilled workers into skilled tradesmen, and it's a huge plus for America.

I'd like to see an expansion of the number of personnel in the military for many reasons, but the long term economic stimulus of the training, experience, and the benefits are certainly something to be considered in its own right.

Also - I think an argument could be made for a civilian corps that offers such training/benefits in exchange for a contractual obligation, much like an enlistment. You know, and replace the for-profit contractors in Iraq.