The economic effects of Walmart

By: Courtney Chapman

Notes

This Google document is home to student fill-in-the-blank notes for this presentation. Throughout the Smore, there are bold words that correspond with the missing blanks. Also located on this document is the activity, directions, and Google Form.

Introduction

  • Since Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart, passed away in 1992, his company has, without a doubt, continued its climb to the top of the retail sector where it is currently an extremely dominant corporation.
  • It has also become a dominant force in creating arguments between the economists and the citizens throughout the United States of America. Often, the disputes center around whether Walmart has a positive or a negative influence on the economy and the society.
  • Many people criticize the Walmart Corporation for its negative and careless approach to becoming the powerhouse it is today.
  • During the transformation into America’s retailing powerhouse, Walmart completely disregarded all of Sam Walton’s visions and values.
  • Today, it is apparent that the company will do anything and everything in order to maximize their revenues and their profits even if it is at the expense of its employees, its customers, its community, and its country.

Thesis

  • Walmart, the biggest retail chain in the world, has been rapidly increasing the number and the size of its stores around the United States after the death of Sam Walton, the company’s owner; this trend, which is causing countless problems for not only the people but also the communities and the country, needs to be stopped and a solution needs to be determined.
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History

  • In Rogers, Arkansas in 1962, Sam Walton, only forty-four years old at the time, opened the world’s first Walmart.
  • Sam Walton said that he had built his business on a fairly simple concept: low prices and great service.
  • Not a single other competitor store believed Sam Walton’s crazy plan would actually be successful; however, the company’s success exceeded even Sam’s expectations.
  • As the number of stores grew, Sam Walton’s aspirations continued to broaden as well. It was not long before people began realizing how smart Sam Walton was and how big his business was getting.
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  • In 1992, President George H. W. Bush awarded Sam Walton with the Presidential Medal of Freedom for bringing business and success to the United States.
  • During Sam Walton’s acceptance speech, he said, “If we work together, we will lower the cost of living for everyone. We will give the world an opportunity to see what it is like to save and to have a better life.”
  • These words became Walmart’s official company purpose: save people money so that they can live better.
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  • Just a few months after accepting his award in 1992, Sam Walton passed away.
  • In order to honor his legacy, the leaders left in charge of the company told Mr. Walton that they were committed to expanding the business and to serving the customers as best as possible.
  • “Through this dedication to our business and to our customers,” his associates wrote on the Walmart website, “we will honor Mr. Sam."

The Debate

  • Walmart believes that it is doing what is best for the people, the communities, and the countries, when in all reality, it is doing nothing but harm.
  • Some people still, of course, argue that Walmart has improved America’s standards of living, with lower cost for consumers, greater employment opportunities, and healthier communities, especially for the least affluent and the less fortunate.
  • However, most people would go against these claims and agree many problems are caused when Walmart builds and develops in a town.
  • What makes Walmart the enemy in so many people’s eyes?
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Argument #1 - Jobs

Hello! I'm the smiley face on Walmart's logo. Usually they make me seem happy, but lately I've been pretty upset with the company. One reason is that Walmart claims each and every one of its 2.2 million employees is the heart of the business. They say that a job at Walmart will open the door to a better life. Yeah right. The company costs local jobs at the local "mom and pop" shops and also manufacturing jobs at US plants. Walmart cannibalizes Main Street. They move into town and in the first year they're doing $10 million. That money has to come from somewhere, and generally it's out of the small business person's cash register.
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Argument #2 - Wages

It's me again. I can't get over the fact that Walmart claims the wages it pays its employees are fair for people who most likely do not have a college degree and usually have limited skills. They claim, "You don't get rich working at Walmart." Yeah right. The CEO of Walmart had a salary of more than $17 million in one year. While the average full-time employee made $18,000, which is $1,000 below the poverty line. If Walmart and its competitor stores are compared strictly on the basis of wages, Walmart pays it employees 26% less.
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Argument #3 - Health Benefits

Me again, obviously. Walmart also refuses to provide health benefits for its workers. Walmart spends merely $3,500 per employee on health care, while other big-box retailers spend an average of $5,600. Also, half of Walmart's employees are not insured under the company plan because of the incredibly high premiums and the extremely limited eligibility. Full-time employees at Walmart have to wait at least 6 months before being considered for health coverage. Other companies only wait 2.5. When they are finally eligible though, most have to reject the plan because of the ridiculous rates.
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Argument #4 - Government & Tax Payers

On to our next topic: government and taxpayers. When Walmart workers cannot afford the company's health pan, the costs shift from the employer and the employee onto the taypayers. In this situation, government safety net programs are their health plans and taxpayers are responsible for payment. Of the 1.3 million American Walmart employees, 650,000 are taken care of by taxpayers instead of Walmart. This way, they can receive housing assistance, low-income tax credit, low-income energy assistance, free or reduced school lunches, and food stamps. These conditions are absolutely disgraceful.
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Argument #5 - Environment

Last but most certainly not least, Walmart has a tremendous effect on the environment. Walmart has a single-minded business strategy of total market dominance. The company has 4,520 stores in the US, and 3,407 are Supercenters which bring 10,000 cars into the parking lot each day, massive emissions of greenhouse gases, cheap products that end up in landfills, and toxic chemicals. At any given time, there are 350 empty stores across the nation. This is not from bad business, though. Instead, Walmart has so much good business that it can afford to leave behind 25 million feet of unoccupied space and replace its regular-size stores with its supercenters at any time. Imagine how much better the environment would be if these 350 empty building were torn down, the parking lots were ripped up, and then grass, trees, and gardens were planted in its place.
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Activity

  • Get in groups of 2-3 people.
  • Go to your Google Drive and create a Google Drawing.
  • On this Drawing, create an ORIGINAL propaganda poster showing "pro" or "anti" Walmart.
  • Remember the posters and pictures on the presentation for ideas.
  • The poster must include at least 1 picture, 1 catchy phrase, and then a paragraph at the bottom to give reasoning for the choice.
  • After 3 minutes, submit the Drawing on the Google Form under the activity section in the notes.
  • I will present each of the drawings.
  • Vote on the best.
  • Winning group will receive a prize.
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Conclusion

  • Although there have been battles over whether Walmart has a positive or a negative influence on the economy and the society, the answer seems to be perfectly clear.
  • Sam Walton truly was an incredibly talented and gifted man who lived his life to reach his goals. It is undeniable that as soon as Mr. Walton passed away in 1992, his entire company changed.
  • The morals, ethics, values, visions, and policies Sam Walton instilled in his stores were diminished and, instead, the associates in charge of Walmart now focus on only one thing: making as much money as possible. To them, nothing else matters.
  • People and their jobs, their wages, and their health benefits do not matter. Communities, local businesses, and taxes mean absolutely nothing. Countries and the environment are not even considered.
  • The effects of Walmart to citizens, communities, and countries are appalling and unbelievable.
  • Together, we can increase the pressure on Walmart and demand real improvements. We can work to protect communities that will be hurt by Walmart’s presence, and most of all, we can refuse to buy products whose journey from the factory to the check-out line is tainted by externalized costs to workers, communities, and the environment.
  • Life with regulations or a life without Walmart is possible if we can say “no” to Walmart’s business model and start moving beyond the Walmart economy.
  • It is possible for Walmart to return to Sam Walton’s original purpose: save people money so that they can live better.