Assignment 9: Liberty for Whom?

Wal-Mart is a phenomenon. This multinational corporation has been dominating trade markets internationally. The corporation makes more money than Sweden makes annually and has affected smaller and local businesses. Ironically, their slogan, “Save money, live better,” has many negative consequences including forcing small retail firms out of business and lowering wage standards. All of these are the results of Wal-Mart being a corporation. The purpose of corporations is to maximize their profits. And they will do anything to achieve their goals. Wal-Mart as a humanitarian is another way that will give Wal-Mart benefits and profits. Considering Dutanist principles, Wal-Mart doesn’t meet the criteria especially with neutrality and independence. How can Wal-Mart be neutral when their goal is to maximize their profits? Also by launching compassionate humanitarian plans and partnering with other organizations, Wal-Mart receives extra revenues from donors and those amounts make up the amounts that Wal-Mart spends. If the cost exceeds the benefit for Wal-Mart, Wal-Mart wouldn’t bother with humanitarian projects.

Walmart's 12 days of giving campaign with $1.5 million. What a compassionate corporation! (2013 Walmart net income: $17 billion).

Walmart’s 12 days of giving campaign with $1.5 million. What a compassionate corporation! (2013 Walmart net income: $17 billion).

Among the outcomes of globalization, humanitarianism and neoliberalism play big roles. Hopgood stated that “Neoliberalism seeks the retreat of the state and the expansion of the market in its place.” And “A reduced state means deregulation…An expanded market means more freedom for firms and money in the commercial sphere…” (Hopgood ). The idea of deregulation from the government is closely related to Adam Smith’s market principle and “The invisible hands.” In The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith emphasized on laissez-faire and free markets, and efficiency at its best with non-interference (Smith). These ideas have helped explaining the rapid expansion and success of multinational corporations.

Wal-Mart is arguably one of the most influential multinational corporations that directly affect people. In economic and business terms, Wal-Mart has been outstanding but that doesn’t mean they are eligible to be humanitarians. Their mindsets are geared toward profits not charity. In Tanzania, there is Wal-Mart under different name called ‘Game.’ Unlike in many other countries, the Game store (Wal-Mart) is for upper-middle class Tanzanians. Prices in the store are far more expensive than those in street markets. A stick of sugar cane that I used to buy in the street was about five times cheaper than that in the Game store. Wal-Mart claimed that they have created more jobs for locals, but more locals have lost their jobs and business because of Wal-Mart. For example, there are two huge marketplaces near the University, very crowded place. There are two entrances, the main entrance, and the second entrance. The Game store (Wal-Mart) is located near the main entrance and you can’t really find street venues and markets owned by locals. They are out of businesses. On the other hand, there are countless street markets near the second entrance. This phenomenon has resulted geographical discrimination within two areas. They recently built luxurious villas near the main entrance and the second entrance is regarded as the home of poor locals and beggars. The problem is, average people will go to the Game store(Wal-Mart) because they are more convenient and the people are accustomed to the prices that Wal-Mart has set up, without realizing the possible consequences. Wal-Mart’s slogan “Save money, live better” is for whom? For whom the Wal-Mart operates?

Walmart under different name called 'Game' in Tanzania. My friends and I used to call this place as "Bourgy Market."

Walmart under different name called ‘Game’ in Tanzania. My friends and I used to call this place as “Bourgy Market.”

References

“Dunantist.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 23 June 2013. Web. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunantist>.

Hopgood, Stephen. “Saying No to Wal-Mart: : Money and Morality in Professional Humanitarian.” Humanitarianism in Question: Politics, Power, Ethics. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 2008. Print.

Loose, Ashley. “Walmart’s ’12 Days of Giving’ campaign .” abc15.  ( 05 Nov 2012):. Web. <http://www.abc15.com/dpp/news/region_phoenix_metro/central_phoenix/Walmarts-12-Days-of-Giving-Facebook-campaign-donates-15-million-to-nonprofit-organizations>.

Smith, Adam, “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations.” Edwin Cannan, ed. 1904. Library of Economics and Liberty. <http://www.econlib.org/library/Smith/smWN.html>.

 

 

This entry was posted in Assignment 9, Assignments. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.