Walmart has long been a target for critics of corporate expansion, but does the company really deserve the scrutiny? Some say that the big-box retailer devastates small communities by pushing out locally-owned businesses, mistreats its workers through low pay and restrictive work hours, and forces American companies to use cheap foreign labor to produce goods at low cost. Others point to the fact that Walmart provides countless jobs to low-skilled American workers, sells affordable goods, has increasingly become a leader in sustainability, and attracts new consumers and businesses to its neighborhoods. Has Walmart been good for America?
For the motion
Contributing Editor, City Journal
John Tierney is a contributing editor to the Manhattan Institute's quarterly publication, City Journal. Tierney has written about urban politics... Read More
Richard K. Vedder
Economist & Author, The Wal-Mart Revolution
Richard Vedder is director of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, Distinguished Professor of Economics Emeritus at Ohio University... Read More
Against the motion
Associate Director of Policy and Research, Demos
Amy Traub serves as associate director of policy and research at Demos. She has a broad research focus on consumer debt, job quality and job creation... Read More
Professor, UC Santa Barbara & Author, The Retail Revolution
Nelson Lichtenstein is a distinguished professor in the Department of History at UC Santa Barbara, where he directs the Center for the Study of Work... Read More
Where Do You Stand?
For The Motion
Given its role in providing jobs and career training for low-skilled workers who would otherwise be unemployed, Walmart should been seen as a wide-scale anti-poverty program both at home and abroad.
Walmart has revolutionized the way Americans shop. By offering guaranteed low prices, Americans can spend less on day-to-day necessities and improve their quality of life.
Walmart is a sustainability leader. Its commitment to renewable energy, achieving zero waste, and supporting responsible production and supply chains have positive impacts on its customers and competitors.
When a Walmart store opens in a rural area, it often becomes the center of a growing marketplace and draws customers that will support surrounding local businesses.
Against The Motion
Walmart is the embodiment of corporate greed. The big box store has a long history of underpaying its workers while overpaying its executives and corporate leadership.
Walmart takes advantage of workers, who, with few other employment opportunities, are forced to accept jobs that offer unreliable hours, no benefits, low compensation, poor working conditions, and little useful job training.
By operating as a monopoly, Walmart has driven down the price of goods and services and directly contributed to the failure of small, locally owned businesses around the nation.
Walmart’s corporate practices are not only bad for people, but for the planet. By selling cheap products not meant to last, it contributes to widespread consumer waste.