Danielle Elkin Ach ENG 105 Extended Argument Final Draft Due Date: April 26, 2007 Topic: capitalism in the 21st century and the measures companies are will to go to for success. I will be looking specifically at Wal-Mart—it’s success as a business, and it’s ethical standards to achieve success. Stance: capitalism has gone too far in our society and allowed for unfair business practices in order to save a buck. Moreover, it is the customers responsibility to hold large companies accountable for it’s products, where the came from and if sweatshop practices were used. Audience: I’m going to write it in storybook style, like the classic “once upon a time” ones, but a bit sarcastic, so kind of like a twist on the storybook idea, like one for adults. It’s going to be written like as a narrator telling a story to kids. For a young age group, 5-9ish and adults. Works Cited: Farmer, David John. "Wal-Mart: Neo-Feudal (K)Night?." Administrative Theory & Praxis 28.1 (2006): 148-161. Academic Search Premier. 5 April 2007. http://search.EBSCOhost.com. Featherstone, Liza. "Watching Wal-Mart." Columbia Journalism Review 44.5 (2006): 58-62. Academic Search Premier. 5 April 2007. http://search.EBSCOhost.com. Gogoi, Pallavi. "Wal-Mart: Thanks For The Bonuses, But." Business Week Online (2007): 5-5. Academic Search Premier. 5 April 2007. http://search.EBSCOhost.com. Grossman, Andrew. "Wal-Mart to Pay Fair Share." Multinational Monitor 27.1 (2006): 4-5. Academic Search Premier. 5 April 2007. http://search.EBSCOhost.com. Hicks, Michael J. "What Is The Local: Wal-Mart Effect?." Economic Development Journal 5.3 (2006): 23-31. Academic Search Premier. 5 April 2007. http://search.EBSCOhost.com. Senser, Robert. "Don't Shop Till They Drop." U.S. Catholic 1 Apr. 2007: 24+. Academic Search Premier. 5 April 2007. http://search.EBSCOhost.com. Tong, Carl H., And Lee-Ing Tong. "Exploring the Cornerstones Of Wal-Mart's Success And Competitiveness." Competitiveness Review 16.2 (2006): 143-149. Academic Search Premier. 5 April 2007. http://search.EBSCOhost.com. "Wal-Mart Facts." Wal-Mart Home. Wal-Mart. 18 Apr 2007 <http://www.walmartstores.com/GlobalWMStoresWeb/navigate.do?catg=316>. Various, "Wal-Mart." Urban Dictionary. Urban Dictionary. 25 Apr 2007 Works Consulted: Barbaro, Michael. "Wal-Mart: A Giant Gone Green." Saturday Evening Post 279.2 (2007): 68- 104. Academic Search Premier. 5 April 2007. http://search.EBSCOhost.com. Berner, Robert. "My Year At Wal-Mart." Business Week (2007): 70-74. Academic Search Premier. 5 April 2007. http://search.EBSCOhost.com. Striffler, Steve. "Wal-Mart: The Face of Twenty-First-Century Capitalism." Arkansas Historical Quarterly 65.3 (2006): 321-322. Academic Search Premier. 5 April 2007. http://search.EBSCOhost.com. Danielle Elkin Ach ENG 105 Extended Argument Final Draft Due Date: April 26, 2007 A Magical Place Called Wal-Mart Preface: As the World Sees It I am Wal-Mart I am big and clean and shinny and smiley I am Wal-Mart, I am the heart of every town I take over, I control I smile and guarantee low prices I will do anything it takes—I am Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart…as defined by urbandictionary.com: “A chain of oversized superstores mostly found in the Southern USA, known for driving local stores out of businesses, selling poorly- made goods (especially clothing) made by third-world slave labor, using a gaudy image of shallow, phony patriotism and flag- waving, and contributing to urban sprawl… A large, parasitic corporation who moves like a plague, eating up all-business in it's wake, and leaving a large, gray store with cheap, plastic crap. They take jobs, and then screw over their employees by destroying any union they come up with, or firing them, or making them work in the children’s section. They close down all little shoppers in the area, and then sponsor people to start up new businesses, with advance revenue going back to Wal-Mart” Wal-Mart…as defined by walmartfacts.com “At Wal-Mart, we’re proud of the positive economic impact we have on communities— from the job opportunities we provide to the money we save working families; and from the tax revenue we generate to the contributions we make to local charitable organizations. Wal-Mart is a good neighbor that benefits local economies and makes positive contributions to the thousands of communities we serve and have a presence in nationwide.” So why does the public view Wal-Mart so differently than they Wal-Mart it self states on their website. Why is there so much controversy over a chain of stores? Well children, lets explore together shall we… Chapter One—A Giant is Born: I am Sam Walton I dream big I need success, I live for it I will do anything for it I thrive on money and capital I am Sam Walton Once upon a time long long ago little Sam Walton sat on a beach, dreaming the dream of a dreamer. It was a warm sunny afternoon; the tide was perfectly low enough for sand castle building. Sam Walton, on vacation with his family, decided to build a sand castle, but not just any san castle, he was determined to build the biggest and most bestest sand castle on the whole beach, no in the whole world... Flash forward to 1962 in the humble little town of Rogers, Arkansas. Sam Walton, once a little boy with big dreams of sand castles has been dreaming for years now. Mr. Walton is a simple man with a big vision. Mr. Walton now has dreams of changing the face of discount general stores around America. He and his lovely wife Helen imagine a place where all the boys and girls could buy all their toys and lots of stuff really cheap. Mr. Walton is dreaming of Wal- Mart. Mr. Walton built up his vision into a massive corporation that now has 1.8 million workers all over the world (Wal-Mart). They have 6,500 stores in 15 countries and generated more than $312.4 billion a year in global revenue, makes a big ol’ profit of $11.2 billion for themselves (Wal-Mart). Wow, that a real success story. So how was Wal-Mart able to crush all the competition and become what it is today? It could be that Mr. Walton was such a very very smart man he was able to take advantage of consumer driven society that America supports (Farmer). Or, maybe they found out ways to cut their product costs by using sweatshop labor (Senser), under paying it’s workers (Gogoi), getting rid of any competition by opening in small towns and shutting down other stores (Featherstone) and creating an oligosny on the market (Farmer). Well kids, come with me on a magical journey into the heart of Wal-Mart’s success. Chapter Two—A Capitalistic Society: I am American Society I am fast and cheap and uncontrollable I am a capitalist, I am a consumer, I am society I sell my goods cheap People like me I am American Society. ***** I am the working poor I make up the largest socio economic group in society I am a mother of four, I am a father, a brother, your neighbor, your daughter a full-time worker making minimum wage and am on welfare I live pay check to pay check I am the working poor. At the friendly neighborhood Wal-Mart, the “big Wal” as I like to lovingly call it, you can find all of your favorite toys, and coloring books and just about anything else your little heart can dream. That is because we live in a consumer driven society, kids (Farmer). That means that you’re mommies and daddies like to buys stuff, lots of stuff. In fact, you probably have tons of shinny new toys scattered across your bedroom floor right now. Well, this type of environment allows for guys like our friend Mr. Walton have a business that thrives on exploiting America’s capitalist needs (Farmer). You see kids, if we did all like having lots if toys to play with, but we like them cheap (Farmer). If we didn’t, then the big Wal wouldn’t make it at all. But lucky for Wal-Mart we do love out stuff nice and cheap and Wal-Mart is there to help (Tong). Wal-Mart has lots and lots of nice customers too. This is because there are lots and lots of people who need to buy things for not a lot of money, because lots of America is poor, or as experts call the “working poor” (Farmer). Every year there are more and more of these “working poor” people (Farmer). And while this is really super good for Wal-Mart because they get more customers, it’s not so good for out economy. The gap between the rich and poor grows every year for lots of reasons, all of them helping out our friends over at the big Wal (Farmer). You see children, if more and more people become the “working poor” then they will be far more likely to shop at places like Wal-Mart, thus propelling the consumer driven need of America society (Grossman). And guess what else, nearly 80% of all Wal-Mart employees are part of this working poor class (Farmer), which ensures that it’s employees will shop there too. Woo-hoo for Wal-Mart taking advantage of the economic environment in America! Chapter 3: The “Associates:” I work at Wal-Mart I smile when you walk on the door, and wave you happily good bye, I check you out and make proper change, I am aid minimum wage, I do not smile at this I have to support a family on this I work all week and sometimes my hours are erased by management to keep me under full time I work at Wal-Mart Wal-Mart is such a big, fantastical company it has lots and lots of “associates” as they like to call the people who work for them (Wal- Mart). A whole 1.8 million workers all over the world (Wal-Mart). Wowzers, that’s a lot of people. They have Basically, Wal-Mart is an oligopsony, that just a real big grown up word that means when a big company can take over a market and set it’s employee wages at whatever it want because it’s the only place around for some people to get a job (Farmer). (This is probably because they shut do wn all the other competition, but more on that in Chapter 5 (Featherstone).) So because Wal-Mart has this super- great hold on the employee market they can make sure that the can pay very little money to it’s associate, which keeps it’s employees in the “working poor class” and makes sure they have to shop at Wal-Mart, like one big happy circle of keeping America poor (Grossman). This even helps widen the gap between the rich and the poor, wow, what a handful of fun-tastic things Wal-Mart does for society. But you know what, Wal-Mart has started giving employee bonuses after the boys and girls in Congress started getting upset that too many workers in the Wal-Mart family were on welfare, so that is a super-duper great thing (Gogoi). Even better, they made sure to make the big- fat bonus check only enough for full-time, family supporting associates to make just enough money to push them over the poverty line, making sure they didn’t qualify for any silly social welfare programs, but still can’t properly support a family (Farmer). That sure was smart of Wal-Mart. It’s super fun business practices like these that put Wal-Mart on the top of Forbes most admired business list (Tong). Chapter Four: Welcome to the Sweatshop I am a Wal-Mart “Associate” I am live China I am not in management, I am not a CEO I make the things you buy I am only six—still a child and I work for pennies a day I am a Wal-Mart “Associate.” So, wow, Wal-Mart sure had some swell business practices so far. They don’t have to pay all sort of silly extra money on employee wage, or healthcare or all kinds of silly things like that. But they do still manage to stay miles above the competition, this can’t be all they do so fantastically, can it? Good golly no, Wal-Mart is way to smart to pay full price for anything, gosh no. They outsource all their product making to places like China where there are no such ridiculous restrictions on how cheap thing can be made, they can use little boys and girls like you too make all the goods Wal-Mart sells (Senser). They only have to pay pennies a day and they get all the stuff super-duper cheap. I work in substandard condition. It is dark here, I should be outdoors playing, but I am not. This is not an option for me. I stay inside making the cloths you wear, the toys you play with, the scrunchie in your hair. I am in a sweatshop, I am still a child. I don’t understand why this is happening to me. Why do I make t-shirts that I don’t wear, that I could never buy. I wear only left over scraps of fabric while you buy all the things I can only dream of. Do you like you’re toys, you new shoes. I go to bed hungry, are you? I work so my family can eat, so we can live. This is still not enough; pennies a day don’t go far. Why is this happening to me, why? If you knew, if you knew where your things came from, what went into them would you still buy them. Would you still shop at Wal-Mart to save money? Is it worth it? Is it?(adapted from Senser’s article) Chapter 5: The effect on small towns I once owned a shop Then they came, with there low prices and blue vests My shop is closed now I need to support a family Now I too work for Wal-Mart, like everyone else in town I once owned a shop The local effect of having a Wal-Mar in the community is pretty intense. Immediately following a recession, Wal-Mart is a good thing for a town. They come in and offer jobs and cheap stuff to buy and lots of special things. But why was there a recession to start off. Well while there are lots of reason for a recession, it is usually from an loss f jobs in a down and inflation. So what happens after the recession in the town is over? Well Wal-Mart puts the “mom and pop” businesses out of work. This results in higher unemployment rates in smaller communities, thus leading to another economical recession, creating a vicious circle where the only winner is Wal-Mart. In small towns where Wal-Mart’s are located, the only jobs available are those at Wal-Mart since it closes out the market for any other business. In one instance in Iowa after Wal-Mart opened in the town all other small business in competition with Wal-Mart were put out of business leaving 4,000 people to compete or 300 jobs at Wal-Mart, leaving the rest unemployed. This resulted in tragic effects on the economy (Hicks).