It is increasingly rare to find a report in the media that shows America’s largest employer, Wal-Mart, or any large corporation for that matter, in a positive or even neutral light. A loud minority have waged a cultural and public war against Wal-Mart, referring to and viewing it as an evil corporation, a burden on the economy, and even an oppressor of the lower class. But these viewpoints are erroneous and have been disproved by multiple studies showing that Wal-Mart’s existence is favorable to our country as a whole, while also providing benefits to millions of individuals, especially to those within the lower class.
Despite what is shown in the mainstream media, Wal-Mart has gained the approval of the majority of Americans by being a consistently affordable supplier, employing well over one million Americans -- thereby increasing their purchasing power and (through its prosperity) improving the United States and its economy as a whole.
Peering through the lens offered by the left, one would observe the selective exposés paired with ‘evil’ smiley stickers, and easily fall under the assumption that all level-headed Americans must despise Wal-Mart. However, the not so convenient truth that liberals ignore is that the majority of Americans approve of this supposedly cancerous corporation. A Rasmussen poll in 2006 found that 69% of the adult American public have favorable views of Wal-Mart; this indicates that the vast majority of Americans enjoy the benefits of the low prices and convenience that Wal-Mart provides.
A widely accepted criticism of Wal-Mart is the alleged mistreatment of the corporation’s employees, yet when the Rasmussen survey sample is narrowed to include only employees and family members of Wal-Mart employees, the favorable ratings increase to nearly 80%. Wal-Mart’s employees are satisfied with their jobs at a rate far above the national average- 47% of working Americans have favorable views of their employers as reported by Jenna Bryner of LiveScience.com. Clearly Wal-Mart is well loved, despite poor PR, because of its continued offering of excellent shopping and employment experiences.
The oft publicized notion that Wal-Mart is damaging low income workers, families and communities across America is equally ludicrous. Wal-Mart is the world’s single largest private employer, giving jobs to nearly two million people. This alone challenges any notion that Wal-Mart might harm mid to low income people, as they provide these people with the wages used to feed their families and pursue their dreams.
Speaking of mouths to feed: It is estimated that the lowest quintile of American households spend 26% of their income on groceries. Wal-Mart’s food division posts an average of a 25% discount compared to other large supermarket chains; this percentage saved “is equivalent to a 6.5% boost in household income” through savings, says Slate. The aforementioned Rasmussen report also reveals that “lower and middle income Americans are more likely to have a favorable view of Wal-Mart than upper income Americans”, which suggests again that Wal-Mart does indeed benefit the lower and middle class.
Too often in today’s culture, ‘wealth envy’ hardens society’s views of the successful. However, even giving consideration to of this growing sociological trend it seems odd that a company as universally beneficial as Wal-Mart might be hated. Because Wal-Mart has been able to succeed, they are now in the position to give generously to various charities and community development programs. Wal-Mart has given over two hundred and seventy million dollars within the US, making it the “country’s largest donor of cash,” says an AP dispatch.
Wal-Mart can also be credited with much of the economic dominance that all of America has enjoyed over the past fifteen years, as Wal-Mart and corporations of its breed account for a large portion of our international financial activity. Harvard economics professor Kenneth Rogoff claims that “together with a few sister ‘big box’ stores (Target, Best Buy, and Home Depot), Wal-Mart accounts for roughly fifty percent of America’s much vaunted productivity growth edge over Europe during the last decade.” It is difficult to imagine the privileges and luxuries we as American’s would be forced to relinquish if Wal-Mart and its parallels were to be disbanded.
Thanks to innovation and resourceful development, Wal-Mart has been able to grow into a thriving corporation that serves as a haven for many Americans who rely on the company for its affordability, valued employment, and its advantageous affects on America as a whole especially the lower and middle classes. With growing volatility in the economy we should be thankful for corporations like Wal-Mart, which afford us so much for so little. Their originality has granted America several luxuries we have grown accustomed to, while demanding no sacrifice in return.
If Wal-Mart were to part from its current ways of operation, the nationwide effects on Americans would be difficult to stomach. For the lower twenty percent the fall of Wal-Mart would effectively mean a 6.5% pay cut, while the adverse effects would ripple throughout the rest of America in varying ways. It is easy to demonize a company with such incredible wealth and accomplishment; however, it is important to not be consumed by resentment or envy towards the triumph of others. We must, instead, view the accomplishments of our fellow Americans in a positive way, using their success as inspiration for our own pursuits.