Thursday, February 16, 2006

Facing Leviathan


Glen Ford and Peter Gamble of Black Commentator have an excellent article on facing the problem of Wal-Mart, which now by itself accounts for 2% of the US GDP. It is the "lead horseman in an apocalyptic worldwide race to the bottom" and a paradigm of late capitalist exploitation strategies.

Also the Massachusetts Pharmacy Board ruled Tuesday that Wal-Mart must provide emergency contraception in its pharmacies. Wal-mart now provides emergency contraception only in the states where it is required to do so, Illinois and Massachusetts.

Update 2/17: The New York Times has a good exposé today of some of the nasty and mean spirited attitudes of Wal-Mart's upper management. In internal company e-mails, the CEO whines that providing health care to its employees would destroy its competitive edge, a claim which the article in Black Commentator above decisively refutes.

It would only require Wal-Mart to raise the price of every item by one penny to provide decent health care. Why not do it? It would undermine the company's business model of planned insecurity. "Retention of longtime employees is in diametric opposition to its core business plan," because long term workers make too many demands on a company.

There is more in the Times article too about the CEO bragging about having dinner with Tony Blair and his wife and having a meeting with Prince Charles to talk about sustainability. And he even has the gall to quote from Martin Luther King to tout Wal-Mart's few grudging and PR-motivated reforms.

Off with his head. But of course he, and even Wal-Mart are only the tip of the iceberg. "The truth is, there can never be an anti-Wal-Mart "movement" that is not at its core a Movement to defang corporations."

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