Don't Blame Wal-Mart for the Wal-Mart Economy
Low wages, the trade deficit, the collapse of U.S. manufacturing—the business press says Wal-Mart's responsible. Actually, you are.
How about you, for one? After all, Wal-Mart is a mere pass-through for its customers—one that takes a slim margin for the trouble. At Wal-Mart, the customer is king, everyone else be damned: competitors, employees, and the domestic manufacturing base. Everything Wal-Mart does—particularly its low prices—is done in the name of slavish devotion to consumer demand. And every day, millions of Americans ratify Wal-Mart's strategy by shopping there. Stores don't kill economies, consumers do.
Daniel Gross is the Moneybox columnist for Slate and the business columnist for Newsweek. You can e-mail him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter. His latest book, Dumb Money: How Our Greatest Financial Minds Bankrupted the Nation, has just been published in paperback.