Wal-Mart has won, but not for long

Having profited from, as Wal-Mart: The High Cost of a Low Price put it, the impoverishment of “America,” as “free marketers” have done everything possible to reduce wages, transfer their social responsibilities to the poor, and deny they have any environmental responsibilities, “the giant discounter [Wal-Mart] is the only store where hard-squeezed consumers can afford to buy anything, and so it has kept posting sales gains amid the retail bloodbath. ‘This is the kind of environment that Sam Walton built this company for,’ Wal-Mart chief executive H. Lee Scott Jr. told analysts recently.”

But the assumption here is that we can continue a race to the bottom in wages and that consumers will still have any money left over to buy anything. So when Wal-Mart, and chains like it are the only remaining retail outlets, and the only remaining employers, their profits will vanish when people find themselves compelled to simply steal the food they need to eat and the clothes they need to wear.

At that point, we will see money for what it really is, a means for depriving people of their needs and a form of oppression rather than as a medium of exchange.

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