Recently, there has been a lot of debate around Wal-Mart’s plans to open stores in Milwaukie, Gresham and Cedar Mill. Many are worried that a Wal-Mart would hurt the local economy, and are attempting to block the company’s plans. However, this does a disservice to the communities.
As a recent New York Times article points out, instead of slicing up the “economic pie” in a way that favors one group over another, Wal-Mart makes the pie bigger. A study from the McKinsey Global Institute found that Wal-Mart was indirectly responsible for two-thirds of America’s increase in retail productivity from 1995 through 2000.
Wal-Mart also saves customers money by offering prices 5 to 8 percent lower than competitors. This stimulates local competition, and saves American consumers over $16 billion every year.
Most of those who condemn Wal-Mart for exploiting employees have never worked for Wal-Mart themselves. Instead, many are affiliated with labor unions, and are interested in decreasing Wal-Mart’s competitive edge as a non-union employer. In fact, the leading anti-Wal-Mart website, “Wake-Up Wal-Mart,” is bankrolled by organized labor.
Local businesses shouldn’t exist in a competitive vacuum. The three new Wal-Marts will provide around 600 new jobs, and at a time when Oregon is struggling with unemployment, new businesses should be welcomed.
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