Capitalism & Poverty

Today is blog action day, and the topic is poverty. I was wondering what to write about and decided on the topic below.

Over the last couple of weeks I have been reading The Wal-Mart Effect, and highly recommend it to anyone interested in the globalisation of business. Overall the book is an eye opener to the way one of the largest corporations in the history of mankind operates.

Throughout the book Charles Fishman highlights several examples of where through Wal-Mart’s drive to have the lowest prices all the time is, in my mind, actually causing harm to not just America but countries all over the globe.

An example, health insurance in the state of Georgia as of writing over 10,000 children of Wal-mart employees we enrolled in the state insurance program for poor children who had parents who worked for Wal-Mart. the next highest employer in the state was 734. Now ignoring the size differences Wal-Mart had 1 child for every 4 employees while the next employer was 1 in 22.

There are stories after stories in the book of the impact that this massive company is having on people’s lives not just in America but all over the globe. While the drive to have the lowest prices all the time is smart for business at one level. When you get to the size of Wal-Mart it can have a devastating effect on organisations and people. Dare I say it possibly driving some into poverty, and not just in western countries they could in fact be keeping some people in poverty by pressuring manufactures to keep their prices down.

One thought on “Capitalism & Poverty

  1. Very true … this is happening on a global scale. The lifestyle that we have come to take for granted has been built on the very low cost labour of Chinese workers (amongst others). Perhaps this is going to change with the current financial meltdown. Perhaps not. Support Free Trade production where you can 😉

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