I think the real title of this article is a bit misleading, since it’s not what it’s really about.
Wal-Mart is a giant corporation. When it acts, everyone is watching. When every company does the same thing wrong, Wal-Mart is the one picked on most because of its size and level of success. Sam Walton’s ability to grow a business and his passion for that business has influenced many who have since attempted to follow in his footsteps.
Wal-Mart is a business, and a business has to compete and make money in order to survive. The current push toward sustainability is a great thing, but, as the article points out, the recent economic slump is hitting everyone hard, and it would be disastrous for the company to put policies into place now that would potentially increase costs. That being said, from what I’ve seen, the company has been making great strides in the US, which I find admirable and impressive. The effort has also inspired other companies to follow suit, which is great.
I think the article really puts far too much blame on Wal-Mart for the actions of overseas factories. These places aren’t owned by Wal-Mart, they just make stuff for the company. If Wal-Mart were to shift it’s buying elsewhere, it would likely increase the cost of product to an extent that would hurt the company. Meanwhile, other corporations would continue to purchase from those same factories, not fixing the real problem.
I think the government really needs to encourage companies like Wal-Mart, Target, etc. to stop purchasing overseas and to shift their purchases to domestic factories. The big foreign countries producing most of our stuff have much different, more lax labor laws, making the price of making and shipping those goods around the world cheaper than the cost of producing them here in the US. If the government put penalties on companies that relied mainly on overseas production and passed huge taxes on imported goods that could be produced domestically, we’d see a huge boom in business here as factories would open left and right, opening up new jobs and decreasing unemployment, which would encourage competition between corporations, leading to better working conditions and wages, which would increase consumerism and give a massive boost to our economy.
(Source: Mother Jones)