Wal-Mart’s Path of Destruction


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Utilitarian minds make their decisions based on which perceived outcome brings the most good[1] . That bears the question to how one can choose between two separate decisions that both have positive and negative benefits. An extreme and very common example of a utilitarian situation is if a person would be willing to take the life of one person in order to save 100 others that would perish if he did not follow through with the killing. A much more real example involves the retail giant Wal-Mart and their growth and effect on the American economy. Are lower wages more important to the consumers than a declining small business sector and sub-par working conditions for the Wal-Mart employees? Between the years of 2000 and 2005 Wal-Mart added over 1,100 stores and in 2004 their net sales were up to $276 billion[2] . An even more amazing stat is that in 2002, 82 percent of United States households purchased something from a Wal-Mart[3] . So what seems to be the problem if a majority of the population buys these goods that save them money for other and possibly more important expenses? The problem is that Wal-Mart comes into small towns and shuts down local businesses while at the same time treating their employees poorly and keeping their wages at miniscule rates. Workers fear standing up to the national giant for they squash any unions that attempt to come together and have shown they’re not against firing employees who disagree with the Wal-Mart way[4]. Wal-Mart’s destruction of local economies and poor working conditions for their employees greatly outweighs the good they do through offering low-priced consumer goods to the public. Their consistent attempts to stop unionization and keep benefits at a minimum for their workers is an injustice to the employees that are a necessity for Wal-Mart’s short and long term success. Continue reading

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Always Low Prices, Always Low Wages


Around the world, even in the twenty-first century, countries are still facing violations of labor ethics, and sadly enough, we are seeing it still today in the United States.  The same country that is suppose to have high ideals and provide its citizens the ‘American dream”.  The United States unemployment rate is 7.3 percent[1], and even of those employed, 20 percent are living below the poverty line.[2]  How is this possible?  Under the federal law the United States provides a minimum wage of $7.25 [3]yet this wage has not been changed for numerous years, therefore it doesn’t account for inflation over the past years.  This has caused many people to be unable to support themselves, let alone a family.  The largest employer in the US is Wal-Mart providing 2.2 million jobs to our citizens, and is one of the wealthiest companies in the world; yet even a company like Wal-Mart is paying most of their employees a minimum wage salary.  These wages cause hundreds of thousands of Wal-Mart employees to be unable to provide for their families, forcing them to turn to public assistance. In this paper I will discuss the labor issues Wal-Mart employees are facing, and their impact on the millions of their employees. Continue reading

Making Global Labor Fair


Recently I have been finding an overlap between my human resource management class discussions and business, government and society.  That being said, HRM was a key factor in my decision in writing about Wal-Mart for my paper 2.  My HRM professor has expressed multiple times her pure hatred towards Wal-Mart due to their work ethics and morals (or shall I say, lack there of).  As I just recently read Raising the Global Floor for my HRM class which discusses labor laws across countries, and reading books on Wal-Marts culture behind closed doors, I typed in labor ethics into the search tab on TED.com.

The first result that appeared was “Auret van Heerdan: Making Global Labor Fair”.  Auret van Heerdan is the President and CEO of Fair Labor Association, with an extensive background in international labor rights. Continue reading

Welfare-Mart


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For paper 2 I have chosen to discuss the ethics behind shopping at Walmart.  Walmart has been faced with many class action law suits due to the way they treat their employees.   As this has been in the news a lot recently, I want to attack the question of whether or not shopping at Wal-Mart in turn becomes unethical as you are ‘feeding’ their behaviors. Continue reading