Bob's Links and Rants

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Friday, March 03, 2006

Why are we letting Wal-Mart destroy the country?

The NY Times has an article about how Wal-Mart is dictating product development and availability to suppliers like Coke and Pepsi. When you read the article, you read about the "demands" Wal-Mart makes of its suppliers. It can only make these demands because of its huge size, which also gives it the power to use its predatory pricing to drive competitors out of business. This isn't the "free market"--it is unrestrained power based mostly on the size of Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart controls what products get made (and are therefore available to consumers), which towns get to keep their downtowns and which don't, which American factories have to move to China, and so on. They weren't elected to have this much power, and anti-trust laws were written specifically to prevent any company from dominating markets to this degree. I don't believe Wal-Mart got to be this big on shear brilliance and hard work--it violated any number of laws and ethical norms to get where it is. But even if it hadn't, principles of freedom and free markets, as well as US law, requires that it be broken up. That it not only isn't being dismantled, but continues to grow, is one of the most obvious indications of who is running this country (hint: it's not you and me).