Don't blame Wal-Mart for the Wal-Mart economy.

Don't blame Wal-Mart for the Wal-Mart economy.

Commentary about business and finance.
Oct. 8 2003 5:58 PM

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.

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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 a longtime Slate contributor. His most recent book is Better, Stronger, Faster. Follow him on Twitter.

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