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Debates

Long Live Walmart

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Live Transcript
  • Live Audience Poll: Have you shopped at Walmart in the last year?

    Host John Donvan polls the NYC audience and debaters whether or not they've shopped at Walmart in the last year.

  • If Walmart isn't good for workers, why is there such high demand for jobs?

    Clip: Debaters discuss the high demand for Walmart positions, unemployment, and unionization.

  • How would Walmart change to appease its critics?

    Clip: Debaters discuss regulatory efforts and policy aimed to change Walmart.

  • Is Walmart a sustainability leader or a corporate greenwasher?

    Clip: Debaters discuss Walmart's sustainability efforts.

Debate Details

Long Live Walmart - IQ2US Debate

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?

The Debaters

For the motion

John Tierney

John Tierney

Contributing Editor, City Journal

John Tierney is a contributing editor to the Manhattan Institute's quarterly publication, City Journal, a contributing science columnist to the New... Read More

Richard K. Vedder

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

Nelson Lichtenstein

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

Amy Traub

Amy Traub

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

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.

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The Research

The Research

The Good Goliath

November 29, 2005

Wal-Mart has been one of the most successful antipoverty programs in America.

Not Made In America: Top 10 Ways Walmart Destroys Us Manufacturing Jobs

July 2, 2012

Here are 10 ways Walmart has facilitated America’s industrial decline. 

Walmart Touts 10,000 New Jobs in the U.S. as Donald Trump Pressures American Companies

Phil Wahba
January 17, 2017

Walmart on Tuesday touted a plan to create some 10,000 jobs in the United States this year, a move that may help it get in front any potential pressure from President-elect Donald Trump.

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