The Locker Room

Big bad Wal-Mart

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 1:50 PM

Economist Richard Vedder debunked some myths involving Wal-Mart during his discussion today with the John Locke Foundation's Shaftesbury Society. 

Among the more interesting complaints about the big box giant is its ability to kill business for "Mom & Pop" stores (video clip):

Wal-Mart hurts competitors and communities. Competitors are devastated when Wal-Mart comes to town -- the small "Mom & Pop" stores that are so important to small communities. The businessmen who run these stores are the rock of the community. They're the center of the Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary Club, etc., etc. And these stores are being devastated by Wal-Mart.

Well, I've got news for you folks: a lot of those stores were being devastated before Wal-Mart came in -- when the malls came in 20, 30, 40 years ago. Downtowns were dying long before Wal-Mart. And so maybe Wal-Mart has furthered that trend.

Well, this is "creative destruction," as Joseph Schumpeter called it. There are some losers when Wal-Mart comes in. There's no doubt about it. And some of the people who are losers are nice people. But you know it isn't Wal-Mart that's putting those people out of business. It's consumers who are. It's the people (who) are. Maybe we should shoot the population who goes to Wal-Mart. 

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