One of the topics in this class that I’m particularly interested in is the whole debate about whether or not Wal-Mart is helping or hurting our economy. “The Wal-Mart effect” has come up in a couple of my classes, and while I’ve read some material about the debate, I thought it would be interesting to dig deeper into the subject to see if I could find out more information.
First, I looked at the works cited page from the Wal-Mart case study we read (the one titled “Wal-Mart’s Business Environment”). Two authors, Nancy Cleeland and Abigail Goldman, were referenced several times in the works cited page. Before I performed the cited reference search, I figured it would be useful to Google these two authors to get some background information on them. When I typed in their names, I noticed that Cleeland and Goldman, along with a few other staff members at the LA Times, were awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2004 for the staff’s “engrossing examination of the tactics that have made Wal-Mart the largest company in the world with cascading effects across American towns and developing countries.”
After finding out that these two authors had written so much on Wal-Mart, I immediately I knew I was on the right track, and figured I would be able to find a bunch of quality articles dealing with this topic. One in particular, titled “An Empire Build on Bargains Remakes the Working World” looked like it might be helpful to me. Written by Cleeland and Goldman, the article focuses on the impact of Wal-Mart, on a personal level and on a broader level. For some people, like 26-year-old Chastity Ferguson, Wal-Mart is her favorite store because the prices can’t be beat anywhere else. For Ferguson, it’s a no brainer to shop at Wal-Mart since she only makes $400 a week and wants to save as much money as possible wherever she can. However, for others like Kelly Gray, who have lost their job because Wal-Mart has taken business away from the local stores, it is hard not to resent the store.
In a broader sense, Cleeland and Goldman discuss how Wal-Mart both gives and takes away. Although the company has grown tremendously and created jobs all over the world, it has come at a heavy price. By relentlessly cutting prices, Wal-Mart has helped hold down the inflation rate for the country, according to U.S. economists. Consumers are undoubtedly reaping the benefits, but what about the employees and local business owners trying to compete with this competitive business model?
This article is only one of the many written about this particular topic. Using the cited reference search allowed me to find trusted, quality sources that could help me dig deeper into this subject, and I look forward to reading stories from both ends of the spectrum.