WALMART (What is it?) by Quintus Dias. September 6, 2016.
- WALMART, A GLOBAL ENTERPRISE
- Company Profile. Walmart is an American multinational retail corporation that operates chains of hypermarkets, discount department stores and grocery stores from its Bentonville, Arkansas, USA headquarters. Founded by Sam Walton in 1962, the corporation is arguably the largest retail chain in the world with 11,539 stores and clubs in 28 countries, under a total of 63 trade banners. The company operates in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Japan, and in India. It has wholly owned operations in Argentina, Brazil, and Canada. It also owns and operates the Sam’s Club discount clubs.
- The bottom line and Employees. Walmart is the world’s largest retail operation with over 2.2 million employees. Its bottom line is enormous with over $ 478 billion in retail gross sales in the US alone. The US generates over 60 percent of its gross sales.
- Origins. The company was founded in 1945 by a former JC Penney’s employee, Sam Walton.
- Sam Walton. Walton was an accomplished individual serving in typical American do-good roles as a newspaper boy, Eagle Scout, and odd-job entrepreneur. He graduated with a degree in economics from the University of Missouri. During WWII, Walton rose to the rank of Captain in the US Army Intelligence Corps, where he supervised security at munitions plants and prisoner of war camps. After the war, Walton struck out with a $20,000 loan form his father purchased his first retail store. By analyzing post war demographics, the demand for consumer goods, Walton formulated a successful business concept.
“ BUY CHEAP, SALE CHEAP, WAREFHOUSE GOODS CLOSEBY”
- Business Strategy. Walton’s formula was rather innovative but not unique to many mass retail entrepreneurs. Borrowing from early mass merchandise pioneers like Sears, Walton’s formula stressed cheap goods, at low prices, with the lowest possible delivery costs. Profit was based on sales volume and not sales price. Profit depended on correctly determining expanding consumer markets for low cost goods. Much of his success depended on finding American made products that could compete with cheap foreign imported goods in mass retail markets and in sufficient volume to supply his entire retail chain. Walton sought to penetrate markets not being serviced by larger mass retailers, who focused on metro area markets. Instead, Walton went to the outlying districts and small towns. He created his own logistics service supplied by his own trucks and located warehouses sufficiently close to outlying retail stores to minimize transpo costs. The main emphasis was on: volume purchases, efficient delivery systems and low-cost warehousing. The strategy worked.
- Outcome. By 1985 Walton had 800 stores servicing customers in a regional market concentrated in the South and Midwest. By the middle 1980s, Walton had refined his sales strategy that resulted in One Stop Shopping in a retail Super Store aimed at dominating most of the consumer good business in an area. Thus, by underselling the competition, securing favorable trade terms from small municipalities, Walton secured local and regional monopolies of retail trade for his aggressive company growth. This resulted in the SUPER CENTER STORE concept that came to dominate most retail and consumer trade in a locality with few competitors to challenge Walmart’s trade dominance.
- Technology. Some features denoting Walmart’s use of technology rests with its satellite data feed-linking all stores to its Bentonville, Arkansas headquarters complimented by the use of two-way radio, video feed and high speed computers.
- Expansion. Most of the focus centered on expanding into medium size towns in rural America and putting local Mom and Pops out of business. Constant expansion, the focus on Super Center retail consumer outlets and goods at low price points made Walmart the most powerful retail chain ever devised. By 2005 it dominated an estimated 25% of US retail trade. Moreover, it also dominated local small town politics and economics. Many small town Mom and pop business succumbed to Walmart and went out of business leaving the company to dominate all trade and the related political economy. By the 1990s, Walmart as a trade corporation was an oligopolistic powerhouse in low-cost consumables, dominating the market, influencing price, and driving competitors out.
- 5. Multinational Corporation. Expansion into foreign markets began in the 1990s. Walmart penetrated South America and Mexico, and soon began displacing native retail business, dominating regional South American trade. Walmart penetrated Europe in the 1990s, focusing efforts in Germany and in the UK by buying up local retail chains.
By the time of his death in 1992, Walton had nearly 2,000 stores in his chain and yearly revenues of over $50 billion. Direction of his legacy was left to his wife, Helen Robson and four children. In 2005, the Walton family held five of the top ten spots as the richest people in the USA and overshadowing Bill Gates. Time magazine hailed Walton as one of the 20Th century’s most influential people.
By 2005, Walmart achieved MUTINATIONAL GIANT status, reporting gross sales of over $300 billion with some 6,000 outlets in the USA and around the world. Walmart’s dominance in US markets has secured a monopolistic lock down on the consumables trade in many localities. It positioned its stores to be no more than one hours drive from most residential areas.
- A Monopoly Corporation. Walmart appears to violate many of the once prohibited protocols of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. There is little doubt that the frenzy of deregulation commenced in the Reagan Administration under neo-Con tutelage grounded the environment for Walmart’s emergence as the world’s largest corporation with near monopoly position in low-cost consumables.
- Walmart in effect, is a national monopolistic centered retail trade giant.
- Walmart has “busted out” many local businesses by dominating prices, logistics, the transportation of goods and by corrupting local politicians through various means to favor its business reach and business operations in rural America.
- Walmart has ruthlessly broken trade unions seeking to organize its employees.
- Walmart has engaged in deception in the sale of its goods, 96% of which are made in China by applying US made labels.
- Walmart’s low-cost product lines are notoriously defective in service life, notorious for poor quality in comparison to other American or European products. Its goods dominate consumables because of much lower price points.
- Economic Life. Several studies of Walmart’s operations disclose that its retail monopoly position on price, exclusion of competitors, exclusion of organized labor, and its focus on low salary employees, poorly trained employees has had a negative impact on retail trade in many areas (Kenneth Stone, a Professor of Economics at Iowa State University).
- The GREENING of Walmart. In 2005, Walmart embarked on a visual and media centered campaign to promote the environment. Walmart announced lofty goals to use renewable resources in its trucking fleet and stores and to supply its own produced low cost electricity through eco driven means. It promotes a new low cost electricity line to consumers, but is vague on how this is achieved. Walmart also promoted its go-organic product line, including organic dairy products and other foods. In 2010, Walmart targeted Target stores as its main value driven product line competitor and upgraded its line of consumables to compete on quality.
- Political Corruption. Walmart’s name is notorious for local political corruption in America and in the Third World, especially in South American, Mexico and in Africa. There appears to be a constant stream of violations of the US Corrupt Foreign Practices Act. Walmart denies any wrongdoing, citing it is conducting its own investigations into allegations of foreign political corruption and bribery of foreign officials.
- The Reality of Walmart: Public Perceptions. Walmart has been perceived by the public from leaked reports, unfavorable consumer experiences, hacks, and insider accounts as a predatory corporation with little concern for consumers, employees, and product quality. Some of the perceptions associated with Walmart as a business rest on-
- A Predatory Corporation. Walmart’s strategy of dominating rural and mid-sized markets in outlying areas made Walmart a defacto national and international monopoly-centered oligarch in consumables with local monopoly of trade dominance in consumables, especially in food, clothing, and electronics.
- Substandard Employees. Walmart employees have been frequently described as rude, elderly retirees, untrained, uncaring, and lowly paid. It is not unusual for entire store staff to be replaced.
- Occultism. Walmart’s latest trade icons are reminiscent of Sunburst symbology used by occult cults.
- A Corporate Bully. Walmart’s business practices, ruthless drive to dominate trade once left to small entrepreneurs, the relentless push to seek local government favors, its involvement in political corruption, bribery, trade good manipulation and deception, and its use of elderly employees suggest notions that Walmart’s corporate ethos rests on rigid, authoritarian, exploitative foundations with limited upward mobility opportunities for its poorly paid employees.
- A Criminal Corporation. Walmat has been consistently in the news over allegations of bribery, political corruption, unfair trade practices, mislabeling products, and numerous charges of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Walmart executives have been charged with subversion and political corruption of government officials in foreign markets to dominate trade. In response to charges of foreign and domestic criminality, Walmart chooses to hinder investigators and to conceal evidence of criminality. In a Mexican corruption case involving Walmart executives, Walmart shipped all evidence to a corrupt Mexican official known to be engaged in bribery.
NOTE: Recently Walmart pleaded guilty to criminal violations of the Clean Water Act and of violating federal laws related to insecticides and other toxic substances. The corporate giant was fined more than $110 million in fines (no chump change). However, like with many other giant firms, criminal violations and fines are just a cost of doing business. Nobody went to jail.
- Links to Elites, the Clinton Foundation and Hypocrisy. Former US Senator and Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton served on Walmart’s Executive Board for six years (1986-1992). The Democratic candidate for President did nothing to assist Walmart’s employees related to pay, benefits, and working conditions-choosing instead to ignore widespread employee morale and working conditions complaints. Walmart has doggedly fought unions, has hugely discriminated against women and minorities. Observers suggest this cements Clinton’s deep ties to corporations despite the Democratic rhetoric that the party seeks to rein in corporate power and abuses. During her tenure at the Rose Law firm in Arkansas, the firm represented Walmart. The company has frequently donated money to Clinton’s campaign and recently donated $25K, the maximum allowable amount to her campaign. As a board member, she frequently used the company jets for travel. Walmart also contributed some $5 million to the notoriously corrupt Clinton Foundation.
- Buy American, Save American Jobs. Walmart conceived of a PR program to laud its efforts at buying goods from American manufacturers. However, it was largely a showcase dog and pony show. Walton was committed to buying as cheaply as possible. Walton and Walmart were the defacto architects of buy Asian and Chinese goods. Walmart was a latecomer to the Asian scene. Walmart let other American mass merchandisers pioneer the Asian goods market, then stepped in massively, when all the kinks had been ironed out by others, and undercut its American partners. Thus, contrary to its public image, Walmart chased cheap labor and avoided export tariffs wherever it could. Moreover, Walmart deceived the American public over its Asian exposure…
NOTE: Walmart setup a front company, Pacific Resources Export to conceal its hand in buying from Chinese firms from American consumer, while promoting his buy American campaign. China boomed, America went bust…way to go Sam!
- Walmart fosters Slavery. Some 96% of all Walmart’s goods are made in China. Walmart and tags “Made in China” are synonymous. Much of China’s export industry resides in Lao Gais…concentration camps where prisoners suffer under appalling working conditions(Note: Apple’s Steve Jobs came under fire for using Chinese slave labor to make its computers). Some investigators delving into Walmart’s despicable trade practices suggest there is credible evidence that Walmart Executives deliberately choose and encourage foreign manufacturing sources to make their cheap goods so poor people in America and elsewhere can afford to buy them.
- Walmart practices Economic Warfare. Walmart likes to brag that its trade savvy and business practices has saved American consumers $billions in the cost of goods. However, there is also credible evidence that Walmart’s trade practices has also cost Americans over a million well-paying jobs. Thus, the notion that Walmart is a predatory corporation linked to foreign business elites abroad that engage in economic warfare against Americans. An examination of Walmart’s product line indicates that most of its goods are cheaply made at the lowest possible labor cost in Asian and other locales in South America, and in the Middle East. A recent publication “Walmart in China”(Anita Chan, Cornell University Press) examines how China and Walmart over the years developed a highly profitable symbiotic relationship. Some of her findings rest on:
- Walmart cut product costs by eliminating American suppliers by sourcing directly from Chinese firm using prison slave labor.
- Walmart aggressively pushed for trade concessions, and squeezed product costs that directly cut Chinese laborer wages to the bone.
- Walmart’s business practices correspond to Mao era strictures of Communist party ideology, loyalty, and personal conduct, thus, creating a favorable trade relationship with Chinese Communist officials (Note: China is not our friend. China in several white papers has declared the USA as its main enemy. China has engaged in widespread corruption and espionage activities in the USA, especially during the Clinton Administration-See the huge “Chinagate” scandal). China to cement relations with Walmart and its expanding stores in China mandates voluntary overtime from its workers employed by Walmart.
- Commerce Warfare. China is an avid practitioner of economic warfare (See PLA Publishing House: Unrestricted Warfare, 1998). The balance of trade with China is entirely in China’s favor. China has extensively engaged in economic espionage by corrupting American officials. China and Walmart along with other American transnational firms have displaced American industry to China and Asia. America’s dominance of manufacturing consumables and hard goods is gone. The American superiority in good quality electronics, ceramics, electrical goods, wood products, textiles, automobiles, plastics and sporting goods has largely displaced to China and Pacific Rims states in Asia. The outcome has been disastrous for Americans. Millions of once well-paying middle class jobs have been eliminated. Detroit has become an industrial wasteland and cesspool. Millions of Americans have lost their jobs and Walmart has hugely contributed to this outcome.
- Once Walmart had worked out the kinks from its China trade, Walmart offered Chinese manufacturers exclusive and lucrative deals to access the American market through its thousands of stores. Computer analysis, market trend analysis, deception, and low cost Chinese labor made Walmart its own manufacturer of low-cost goods, giving it and its hidden Chinese partner’s strategic advantage in the American goods market. Thus, China once again benefited hugely by waging adept economic war against America.
- Walmart’s ” PreCrime” Practices. Walmart in the USA treats all customers as potential thieves. Surveillance of shoppers by security is pervasive. Security cameras are everywhere. Customers must show security employees their sales receipts before they can exit the store. Walmart also seems to attract other criminals that prey on customers. There have been numerous instances of customer robbery, assaults and even murders in Walmart parking lots and stores. Walmart refuses to respond regarding its insistence on evidence of sales receipts before customers can leave its stores.
- Walmart’s Links to the Military and DHS. Walmart appears to be a partner of FEMA, the DOD, and DHS. Walmart offered the Army the use of several of its facilities for the negatively viewed domestic terrorist and warfare exercises (Jade Helm) recently conducted in Texas and other areas of the SW. In this schema, DHS and the DOD would be able to use Walmart facilities for prisoner collection, selection and processing.
- Summation. Based on facts and exposes from insiders, and Walmart’s spate of corruption scandals, there is little doubt that Walmart is a predatory transnational corporation. Walmart is guilty of facilitating human slavery in Asia. Walmart is a defacto monopoly and one of the principal oligarchs in transnational commerce. Its ties to the Clintons and the Clinton Foundation are highly questionable if not unethical. Walmart is not America’s friend. Sam Walton has put millions of Americans in the vast retail market out of work, and has destroyed once thriving local Mom and Pop businesses. Walmart stands guilty of corrupt practices and engages in bribery and corruption of local politicians and community leaders not only in America, but all over the world. Finally, Walmart and its Asian, especially Chinese partners are profiting by destroying American native industries by using economies of scale and slave labor wages to unfairly compete with American employers. In effect, Walmart profits by outsourcing American goods to Asian manufacturers, who then profit by underselling American quality goods with slave labor and then profit again by marketing Walmart’s house brands to American consumers, who may not realize that there are supporting Chinese jobs at the expense of their own.
The bottom line and ugly realization is that Walmart ties in to the New World Order concept of doing business. Huge trade firms owned by families with local monopoly dominance in selected markets are to be the sole source providers of everything…lock, stock, and barrel. Good bye competition. Goodbye quality goods. Goodbye long service life. What Walmart may not realize, is that this is a double edged sword. China at some given point can throw Walmart out of China, and develop its own consortium of buyers, makers, marketers, and sellers. Essentially, buying leverage just met selling leverage, as China has the manufacturing know how, technical proficiency, slave labor assets, and can deal with the European Union, or other trading states around the world…goodbye Walmart.
A final word. In examining the Robber Baron corporations of the 19th Century like Rockefeller’s Standard Oil or some of the railroad trusts, it appears that Sam Walton borrowed his ethics from the Robber Barons. There is literally no difference! Walmart essentially is another Robber Baron.