Shame on Walmart

Posted on May 29, 2014 by Robert Ringer


Forget that Walmart employs 1.4 million people in the U.S. alone.  Forget that it saves consumers billions of dollars each year on retail purchases.  Forget that its employees, on average, earn about double the minimum wage.  The raw-meat crowd is salivating.  Bring out the class-warfare script.

The word from some disgruntled employees is that Walmart doesn’t treat its employees “fairly” — whatever that’s supposed to mean.  But, definitions aside, this is your lucky day.  Because if you think Walmart is “unfair,” guess what?  You don’t have to shop there!

What a novel idea — shopping with your feet!

If you don’t like the fact that Walmart carries too many products made in third-world countries, shop with your feet.  If you believe Walmart puts smaller retailers out of business and you’re unhappy with that, shop with your feet.  Heck, you might even believe Walmart was the real cause of 9/11, which is okay.  Just shop with your feet.

But let’s get back to Walmart’s employees.  Just to make it easy on the witch hunters, let’s assume that there is such a thing as absolute fairness.  (There isn’t, of course.)  And let’s further assume that Walmart does, indeed, treat its employees unfairly.  That, of course, raises the question:  What in the world can be done to protect Walmart’s 1.4 million paid slaves?

More good news:  In a truly free society, unfair treatment of employees would never be an issue, because workers would be free to sell their services for the highest possible wages on the open market.  If someone chooses to work at Walmart, he does so because he believes, for any of an infinite number of reasons, that it affords him the best opportunity to be adequately compensated for his skills, experience, and efforts.

An employer doesn’t ask a job applicant to present a list of his job requirements when he submits his application.  On the contrary, the employer lets the applicant know (or should let him know), in advance, what the company’s conditions of employment are.

If those conditions include fifteen-hour workdays, minimum-wage pay, no air-conditioning in the summer, and no paid sick leave, so be it.  How can I say such a dastardly thing?  Because an employee not only does not have to take such a job, he also has the right to quit that job at any time.  He simply cannot escape the fact that he is free to choose!

Yep, it really is that simple.  And since the unhappy employee is free, he can apply for another job anywhere he chooses.  No permission needed.  On the other hand, if he chooses to stay in his present job, he is making a clear statement that he believes it’s the best job he can hope to get at that particular time.  If this were not true, he would have to be insane, or perhaps masochistic, to stay put.

Gee, it doesn’t take a Ludwig von Mises to explain it after all.  In a truly free market, everything works smoothly because both employers and employees are free to make their own choices.  It’s only when government bureaucrats or labor thugs — a.k.a. “labor unions” — enter the picture that freedoms are violated.

All government intervention between employers and employees results in infringements on the rights of one or the other — or both.  The same goes with labor unions.  The so-called “union shop” is a violation of the natural rights of every employee who is forced to join a union against his will.  And, worse, it is a violation of the rights of an employer to hire whom he wants, when he wants, under whatever conditions he lays down.

But, unfortunately, that’s not reality in today’s America.  After decades of artificially high wages and benefits, job-protection schemes, and government-mandated safety standards, spoiled American workers demand still more.

An excellent investment for Walmart would be to spend mega-millions to educate its employees about the morality and efficacy of liberty and laissez-faire economics.  And a good place to start would be to put the following quote from communist-turned-libertarian Rose Wilder Lane in their pay envelopes:

Anyone who says that economic security is a human right has been too much babied.  While he babbles, other men are risking and losing their lives to protect him.  They are fighting the sea, fighting the land, fighting diseases and insects and weather and space and time, for him, while he chatters that all men have a right to security and that some pagan god — Society, The State, The Government, The Commune — must give it to them.  Let the fighting men stop fighting this inhuman earth for one hour, and he will learn how much security there is.

Educating muddled minds, however, does not begin with the worker; it begins with big business.  If corporate America does not truly believe in laissez-faire capitalism, all is lost.  And if it does believe but is unwilling to suffer “mortification of the flesh” in presenting the truth to the public, the case for free enterprise is still all but hopeless.

Corporate leaders must be bold and unwavering when it comes to educating their own employees, as well as the public at large, about the mechanics of the marketplace.  History has clearly taught us what to expect if good men do nothing.

In the meantime, don’t wait for the government to come to your rescue.  Negotiate for yourself to land the best position possible, at the highest pay possible, in the marketplace.  Then, once you land the job, your focus should be on demonstrating to your employer that you’re worth a whole lot more than he’s paying you.

And while you’re at it, take every opportunity to extol the virtues of freedom — including free enterprise.  It’s true that you are but one person in a sea of millions, but it is completely within your power to be part of the solution to the world’s ills rather than part of the problem.

Robert Ringer

Robert Ringer is an American icon whose unique insights into life have helped millions of readers worldwide. He is also the author of two New York Times #1 bestselling books, both of which have been listed by The New York Times among the 15 best-selling motivational books of all time.

87 responses to “Shame on Walmart”

  1. Linda says:

    Excellent article. As the employer of over 1,000 people over the last 40 years, I can tell you that everything you said is true. And the only thing I add is that so many employees think that money grows on trees.

  2. greggsan says:


  3. Marte says:

    Amen. What we say to everyone who complains about their working conditions, their pay, their hours, their duties, and on and on is this: "You knew what the job was before you agreed to do it. Now either shut up or quit and find a different job."

    My son is a foreman on a power line building crew. When his employees complain about having to work in the hot or the cold, that's what he tells them. And if they keep whining, he simply calls the General Foreman and has them replaced.

    Thank Goodness that's still possible in the IBEW.

    Meanwhile, look at all the others who are whining. Teachers are some of the worst offenders – you'd think if they made it through college they'd have enough intellectual capacity to figure out that they do have the freedom to quit.

    • Robert Ringer RJR says:

      Glad you noticed that about teachers. They are the worst.

      • ASM says:

        No – the undisciplined, uncared for children modern teachers have to try to educate are the worst! YOU go try to teach a group of children who feel free to tell you F You!
        Just joined Ringer's page – didn't know he was anti-labor. But, I am free to leave, and leave I will. Bye bye!

        • Pat says:

          Hate to break it to ya, but those "wonderful" teachers taught those children's parents. Guess what! Those parents didn't discipline their children properly, but they spent most of their waking time under teachers in school. Who is to blame? I sure don't absolve the teachers! The whole system is rotten to the core and needs to be shut down.

          Teachers have no authority to provide real discipline in the classroom, and it shows. They also aren't permitted to teach children anything of substance. But some do it anyway on the sly. Did it ever occur to you that much of the students' anger is because they know they are being cheated out of the education they need?

          If I were a teacher, I have several good ideas I would use. I could stay within the parameters and still have order in my classroom. I raised seven children, and NOT ONE of them turned into that kind of brat. Schools are toxic. We kept the children out of such schools. It's the only ultimate answer. Parents need to take their children back and do the job God gave them to do. It's OUR responsibility to educate our children, not some stranger paying taxes at the point of a gun.

          • Pat says:

            I meant to say that the parents spent most of their waking time under teachers in school while they were growing up.

    • David says:

      Hate to tell you marte but, unions (not all) but some of them are some of the dumbest, crooked bunch around. Take the ones that are "demanding" that their people that work at McD's be paid $15.00 an hour from the get go to slap a hamburger together! BS!

      Teachers SHOULD get paid more if their doing a good job! The one's that are in unions are some of the laziest ones of all but get paid the most! Look it up for yourself.

  4. David says:

    This IS a great article and one to save! People still need to come to the reality though that there IS a difference in businesses making a healthy profit to keep the doors open and to keep being able to pay their employees and just unabashed greed.

    Let's face it, some companies lie and ARE greedy and that's what their focus is on. There are some that just don't care!

    Like the article said, YOUR free to leave and/are negotiate with them…your choice! If their reasonable, you should be reasonable also and not demanding.

    I just read an article about the top companies people like to work for…Google and Costco were the top two. Ever wonder WHY?

    • Ivan says:

      Greed will kill. On the other hand I once worked for a small nonunion company that offered profit sharing whereby at the end of the year if a company did well, it resulted in bonuses to the employees. I saw some of the employees in the company put pressure on the employees who were lazy, incompetent or chit chatting with others. Great company morality to work with but did move on for other reasons.

  5. RAM says:

    One of these days, employers are going to quit. And it may be sooner than we think. Atlas Shrugged. RAM

  6. John Demato says:

    Robert, your argument assumes that there are enough high paying jobs for everyone that wants one. If this is true then I agree that it is up to the individual to do whatever it takes to obtain the job they desire. However, let's assume that there are not enough high paying jobs for everyone that wants one. Let's assume that there are only 9 jobs for every 10 people that want them. What should the 10% that no jobs exist for do?
    While there is merit to your argument I think you aren't seeing the whole picture if you feel that the entire problem lies with the individual. I think there is evidence that the economic system is broken. I believe that income inequality is a symptom of the broken system and not the fault of individual. In order to fix the system some regulating authority will be needed or I suspect things will continue to get worse until the system breaks down entirely. If not Government then who would you propose should regulate the economy? In any event I would like to believe that I'm wrong and that there are enough jobs for everyone that wants one and that I'm in complete control of my economic destiny. On the other hand I'd also like to believe that life is fair.

    • Tex says:

      If you'd "like to believe you are wrong," believe it because you ARE wrong. People are where they are based on decisions they made and continue to make. Many, many employers opine they cannot find qualified workers. Why do you suppose that is? Could it be that you decided to chase skirts, drink every night with your buds and skip college or trade school? You don't make the effort; no one else is going to make it for you! You've earned what your poor decisions have created for you. Don't now point your finger at someone else! Learn from your mistakes and then make the necessary corrections to your life.

      My doctor makes more than I. But he spent far more years studying medicine and then residency before he could command the big bucks while I simply got a degree in Mechanical Engineering and then went to work. Why should I resent his greater success? He earned it. I don't need or want a goobermint interfering with his or mine OR your decisions.

      • John Demato says:

        Actually Tex I have an engineering degree as well. I'm not pointing fingers, I'm expressing my belief that the problem is bigger and more complicated than the idea that people are where they are ONLY because of their decisions. I don't believe that I'm wrong in this.

        I agree with you in that I don't want other people or organizations interfering with my decisions.

    • Scott theczech says:

      Imagine for a moment, a society based upon the proposition and practice, that maximum individual liberty is the highest and best aspiration! That evil practices such as taxing an individual's labor would be considered immoral and certainly illegal; that the idea of involuntarily taxing telephone use and forcing the vendors to collect such taxes would be considered primitive and stupid; that an agency of the government wh, with impunity, spies on citizens

      • Scott theczech says:

        …government which, with impunity, spies on citizens is thought insane; that "black-bagging" and torture, nary given a second thought, would be seen as barbaric and wicked….

        Look, the Salem Witch Trials, the Trail of Tears, hunting buffalo to near extinction, concentration camps for U.S. citizens who happened to be Japanese, etc, etc., were once all considered good, sane policy. Heck, many folks jumped on the bandwagon thumping their chests and shaking their pitchforks in support. The real question is why do we not seem to advance socially and culturally? Oh sure, we've got technology advancing at hyper-speed but I argue that we are devolving socially, economically, politically etc.

        Let us learn about Natural Law, Property Rights, the individual vs. the collective, the Austrian School of Economic theory, the lessons of history, slavery, indenture and involuntary servitude. You're right if you are saying that his hybrid socialist, fascist, laissez faire, quasi-demo system we've got isn't working. The mighty Soviet Union tried the Marx/Engels model for about 80 years, giving it everything they had…and they couldn't make it work. What do ya say we give the Von Mises/Rand/Smith/Browne model a try?

    • Virgil says:

      You said: If not Government then who would you propose should regulate the economy? In any event I would like to believe that I'm wrong and that there are enough jobs for everyone that wants one and that I'm in complete control of my economic destiny. On the other hand I'd also like to believe that life is fair.

      I used to like to believe that life is fair also, John. And I understand the context of your argument and the premise.

      I used to be in the "wine and cheese" club (the Whine about Cheesy things Club), and felt just exactly as you do.

      The reality is that everyone has the same opportunity except those with GENUINE disabilities (VERY few of them). It doesn't matter what your background is you have a very real chance to succeed even in these waning days of the great society. I knew people in Camodia during my service there in the early 70's who were under the most oppressive regime you could imagine, and in the worst climate possible to do business… but they were able to succeed and have a good life anyway, with a decent standard of living. It was because they believed as Robert does. Not because anyone "supervised" them or "gave them fairness."

      New immigrants to this country from many places around the world are finding work and succeeding. Why? Because they put their nose to the grindstone and believe the American dream! Not because of fairness. Many of the people I've met can barely speak English, but they CAN speak Robert Ringer (even though they've never read him).

    • Jean says:

      Why do you believe that just because you "want" a high paying job, you are entitled to have one? What if your skill set, intelligence level or work ethic just don't merit high pay? Do you really believe that everyone who works picking produce, for example, SHOULD be paid $20.00 an hour just because they want to be paid $20.00 an hour? Perhaps if we actually got back to rewarding things like merit, then we would have a little more of it in the workplace and we could eliminate the need for services such as Angie's List.

      The problem does begin with the individual. A person who believes that he / she is being "abused" by an employer or is underpaid can do one of two things: 1) leave that company and look for another that pays what the individual believes he or she is worth, or 2) learn what they are lacking in terms of skills or revenue generating abilities (because in the end, you are paid about half what you can bring to any company) apply those improvements to their current job, record the results of those added or improved skills on the job at hand and then LOBBY for a raise based on EVIDENCE. If the boss-man doesn't come through, then find another who will value your contribution.

      The economy we have today is a result of the government regulating it since 2008. How's that working for you? Are you really tickled that economic growth in China has exceeded economic growth in the US? Or the de facto 16% overall unemployment rate? Do you accept that what you have today – a reduction in the standard of living for a huge portion of the population – is the "new normal"? If so, then keep on voting for more government regulation.

      The parameters of "fairness" are in the eye of the beholder. There is no objective definition of "fairness," just as there is no objective standard for "beauty" or even "wealth." That makes "fairness" – whether you're talking about an employer-employee situation, a business transaction or the mediated result of a marital disagreement – completely flexible depending on the transaction and the parties involved. Any attempt to define and implement one vision of fairness by a government ultimately robs everyone of their power to choose.

    • Pam says:

      Just because you want a high paying job does not mean you are qualified for , or deserve one. Biggest life lesson EVER- nobody gets everything they want.

    • Gabe says:

      A "job" is nothing more than work needing to be performed. To perform that work, I need people with a certain skill. If that skill is of low value and can be performed by almost anyone (mopping floors, stocking shelves, etc…) then the pay attributed to it will also be low. If you don't like it, I'll hire the person next to you, no skin off my back, no deep searching to perform. If the job requires a finer skill or one with a limited market of candidates to chose from, it'll be more valuable and thus, call for a higher pay scale.
      If you want to earn more, develop a skill. Something that shows you are a valuable asset and provide a benefit to employers. This is how many people who were dirt poor rose to greatness.
      If there's no immediate market for your skill, create one. There are people who get paid to make balloon animals; do you think the balloon animal market existed beforehand? Show others you have a skill, sell them on the idea, and you will more than likely interest someone to give you money.
      As a minarchist (hoping for anarchy but logically understanding its failings), I see one of the only places for government is the protecting of contract law. I'm providing ProductA. You will give me MoneyB for it. If I lie to you about ProductA, I'm at fault and need to provide restitution. If you don't give me MoneyB, you're at fault and need to provide restitution. Any other interference by a governing body will result in picking sides and unbalancing the market.

  7. Robert Ringer RJR says:

    Where do I start?

    1. What is a "high-paying job?" Who has the moral authority to decide on a definition?

    2. The economic system is broken BECAUSE of government regulation. The best, and only fair, regulator is a free market.

    3. There are enough jobs for every person who is willing to work. If someone refuses to take a job because it doesn't pay what he thinks he's worth, that's his decision. If he can find someone who is willing to pay his asking price, more power to him. If there were no such thing as "unemployment benefits," such a person would likely lower his asking price very quickly.

    4. Life is not fair, otherwise people wouldn't get terminal diseases, etc. But fairness is not income equality. Income inequality is not good or bad. It is simply a natural result of a free market. No matter how wealthy some people are, it does not stop a poor person from becoming rich – which has been demonstrated over and over again throughout our history.

    • David says:

      I think a good indication is when people can't afford the basic essentials anymore at the gas pump, grocery store and pay their utilities and support families. That is starting creep up on many these days just in case you you haven't noticed are it hasn't crept up on you yet.

      • John E. Gabor says:

        Mostly the result of government intervention. They won't let us go after our oil and natural gas – the price goes up. They print money – we get inflation. They all but ban coal – the price of electricity goes up. They promote alternate lifestyles – the traditional, secure family slowly disappears…

      • Paul Anthony says:

        Yes, I've noticed. I've noticed people claiming they need food stamps to feed their families even though they have smart phones that cost a lot more than my basic flip phone – and they pay hundreds per month to use them.
        There's nothing wrong with that. We all make choices based on our own priorities. It's only wrong when someone blames others for the consequences of decisions they made for themselves.

      • Jean says:

        Do you think if we allowed more oil and gas exploration in the US as well as increased refinery capacity might reduce the cost of energy? Thank oppressive EPA regulations that were imposed in the 1970s for restrictions on the latter – the US hasn't increased its refinery capacity since then, and you can also thank the state environmental agencies for the 50+ different blends of fuel each state requires to comply with their individual mandates. Government regulation has restricted supply and also reduced the ability of refiners to utilize the power of economy of scale to reduce overall production costs.

        Groceries are another great example of government regulation and intervention run amok. Both the FDA and USDA have imposed incredible labeling and tracking requirements on food producers and processors, thanks to the food-borne illnesses that have come from "organically grown" (meaning animal dung was used to fertilize it) greens and strawberries coming out of Mexico. One or two producers screw up, and everyone gets to pay the price.

        Finally, look to taxation as one of the biggest obstacles to people being able to support a family. Both the cost of regulation and corporate taxation are embedded into the cost of goods sold, and therefor they are passed onto the consumer. More regulation + greater corporate taxation= higher retail cost of any commodities. In addition, the tax that no one dares speak of is FICA. This represents 7.5% off the top of the lowest wage earner's paycheck and it goes directly into a transfer payment system – today's working poor are paying for today's retirees. In your universe, do you call that "fair"? I would bet any money that you firmly defend Social Security as a middle-class entitlement!

        • John Demato says:

          Jean, I don't believe that Social Security is an entitlement. In fact I've been planning my financial future with the assumption that if/when I retire there won't be a Social Security system around to help me.

          Also, Jean, I never stated that I believe the current governmental tax structure, environmental laws, and other federally regulated industries are necessarily good or correct. The idea I'm trying to communicate with regards to regulation is that without any regulation the free market system will only take us so far. I think if one looks at WORLDWIDE variations in wealth distribution that one will find serious problems with the free market system. I believe the solution is more complicated that pure regulation or pure free market.

          On a side note… I challenge myself to do better everyday. So I challenge everyone here… is free market really the best any of us can and should hope for? I say let's do better… because I believe we can.

      • Pam says:

        Look at the current tax rates when you are lamenting where all your money goes. The gov't takes the majority of your money. Not businesses. The reason you can't afford things anymore is because of higher taxes. Period.

    • John Demato says:

      RJR, Thank you for your additional comments. If a free market results in the WORLDWIDE income disparity that there is today, then I propose there must be a better system. Maybe the current situation with the government in the United States is not the solution either, but I'm not convinced that free market is the best possible answer.

      • David says:

        John, I personally think the 'free market' IS the answer if you can eliminate the GREED out of it! The government isn't the answer and neither is unions! We need to get that through our heads!

        Unfortunately, it's the greed and dishonesty that will probably never let us overcome where were headed.

        • John E. Gabor says:

          The system is based on self interest, not greed.

        • Jean says:

          "Greed" is a personal – and might I say, spiritual – problem. The actual definition of greed is to expect something for nothing, rather than trading value for value. So, who in our society actually are the greediest people? The person who heads up a business and wants to earn a profit that allows the business to be sustainable, or the person who contributes little to nothing to benefit anyone but believes he / she is entitled to a certain standard of living because he / she exists?

          • Jake says:

            “Well first of all, tell me: Is there some society you know that doesn’t run on greed? You think Russia doesn’t run on greed? You think China doesn’t run on greed? What is greed? Of course, none of us are greedy, it’s only the other fellow who’s greedy. The world runs on individuals pursuing their separate interests. The great achievements of civilization have not come from government bureaus. Einstein didn’t construct his theory under order from a bureaucrat. Henry Ford didn’t revolutionize the automobile industry that way. In the only cases in which the masses have escaped from the kind of grinding poverty you’re talking about, the only cases in recorded history, are where they have had capitalism and largely free trade. If you want to know where the masses are worse off, worst off, it’s exactly in the kinds of societies that depart from that. So that the record of history is absolutely crystal clear, that there is no alternative way so far discovered of improving the lot of the ordinary people that can hold a candle to the productive activities that are unleashed by the free-enterprise system.”
            ― Milton Friedman

          • Robert Ringer RJR says:

            Not so, Jean. The definition of greed is "excessive desire." Who has the moral authority to decide that someone else's desire is excessive? In truth, greed is neither good nor bad. It's neutral. Some "greedy" people make the world a better place (e.g., Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos). Others use their greed to make the world a worse place (e.g., most politicians).

          • Jean says:

            Actually, that's why I don't accept the current definition of "greed." To be "greedy" using that definition means to be motivated. To be driven. To be competitive – with one's self as well as with others whom you may see as rivals, whether in business, academia or any other pursuit. If that is truly "greed," then we definitely need more of it, not less. To confirm Gordon Gecko's perspective, "greed IS good."

            However, the actual practice of "greed" does occur when one party attempts to gain value while providing no value in return. As you so rightly point out, the politician who was an abject failure in the private sector (think a certain ex-vice president who has positioned himself as an expert on 'climate change) and who uses his government position to extort money from private enterprise IS greedy. But so is the individual who has a "bad back" but has the constitution to go play volleyball, tinker with his beater car and sit for hours on a bar stool, all while living on the taxpayer's dime.


          • Pat says:

            I would argue that Bill Gates demonstrates greed. Here's why. He stole his product from someone else (not paying a fair price), put out an inferior product, and engaged in a lot of different actions to make sure he had a lock on the market. He then took his profits and invested them in a foundation that is causing great harm to humanity with its "philanthropy".

            To Jean: Greed is wanting something you do not own and are not entitled to have. It is coveting something that belongs to someone else. Everyone who takes government money and doesn't need to, is being greedy. Contests, sweepstakes, gambling are all based on greed. If we will tolerate this kind of behavior, it's no wonder the people have a mindset of greed. This is why I refuse to participate in any of such activities, and if someone tries to force me, or gives me chances in some sweepstakes, I complain loudly. If I won, I would have to turn it down. It doesn't belong to me. It took the compensation due to others and dumped it all together and gave it to me. I didn't earn it.

            I also think that third party payer health systems are, to some extent, a form of greed. You want someone else to pay for the damage you personally did to your body. Pharmaceutical companies market poisons because they can patent them. This is greed. The prices they charge are thousands of times larger than what it cost to manufacture them. Don't tell me they need this money for research and development. They shouldn't be developing poisons in the first place. I could multiply examples. Our whole system has been totally corrupted by greed. When there is competition in the marketplace, then the greedy often fail, and that is as it should be. But I do think that monopolies are no different from government, so I wouldn't support a system that allows them. When you HAVE to deal with ONE company, and have no other options, for a product or service you need, they have power over you, and they are no better or different from government.

            Walmart is not, to my mind, an example of greed. That said, I do not think it should be bringing in junk products from China, or putting small businesses out of business. I don't know the answer. I do know that their existence somewhat lowers the cost of living for everyone, and that's a good thing. But an honest business should not be victim to a company such as that. But I don't know of a legitimate way to put a stop to it, other than ethical principles, and Walmart doesn't really seem to understand that. That said, from what I hear, they are relatively fair to their employees.

          • Pat says:

            Another example: multi-level marketing. This is a huge business scam. It works because it plays on people's GREED. Only the people at the very top will ever make any decent money; everyone else will lose. The ones on the bottom will lose everything. And it cannot function without a huge quantity of people on the bottom. The presentations they use to hook people play on people's greed by suggesting (not outright saying) that you will become filthy rich if you do this thing and work hard. It is an outright lie. The business model for MLM is fundamentally flawed. It really gets me that so many Republican politicians who should know better support this trashy practice. But if people weren't greedy, it wouldn't get recruits. Neither would wily Nigerians who offer to pay you a large sum of money that doesn't belong to them or you. Greed opens the door wide to being defrauded.

    • Phil says:

      And remember that high pay / purchasing power is relative to a nation's inflation rate. Our government policies have jacked up the cost of everything in an irrational way, often without regard to true marketplace subjective value. A "small" salary would go further if a truly free economy and sound monetary system were in place "again". Instead, we subsidize every kind of political waste imaginable. Also, in a more free regulatory environment, more new businesses would be started, thus providing more jobs. Oh well, it is common sense to those of us who have thought through it seriously. But God it gets frustrating.

    • Joan says:


  8. bobburg says:

    John, if I may add my thoughts regarding your above comments, not only is there evidence that the economic system is broken, it IS broken. But the free-enterprise system ISN'T what broke. To the degree it is still allowed to operate it does just fine. If I may suggest, what happened is that, for many, many years now, government (the 535 members of congress in particular), along with the special interests that own them (cronyism) has practically done away with the free-market system. In a truly free-market economy, government's legitimate function is simply to protect the citizenry from force and fraud, but to otherwise leave people alone (free) to trade freely with one another. While we've never totally had that, the power of a market economy is so strong that we were still able to – as a country – become an economic powerhouse. Should we ever get even close to having it again (or, dare I say, an actual true free-market economy), there will indeed be enough jobs for everyone who wants one, and enough charity for everyone who truly needs it. In terms of your question, "If not Government then who would you propose should regulate the economy?" the answer is that the free-market IS actually the best form of regulation because it naturally rewards the positive and punishes the negative. Remember though, that doesn't mean it's a "free-for-all." Government again does have the legitimate function of protecting its citizens against force and fraud. I hope that answer provided some value in terms of the discussion.

  9. bobburg says:

    Whoops – just refreshed the page and saw that there were already a couple of responses to John. In the words of the former Saturday Night Live character, Emily LiTella…"NeverMind!" :-)

  10. William Powell says:

    Hmmm…Walmart is not to keen on working with employees to “Negotiate… to land the best position possible, at the highest pay possible, in the marketplace.” They’ve not had a great record of working with unions.

    [All government intervention between employers and employees results in infringements on the rights of one or the other — or both.]

    …and the taxpayer, who in many cases are subsidizing the lifestyle of Walmart employees through public assistance.

    • Paul Anthony says:

      And you would prefer it if all of us subsidize them through higher prices, to pay for their higher wages?

  11. Jennings Campbell says:

    Ludwig von Mises nonsense again. This country was built on principles that our leadership is still ignorant of or still in thrall to the insanity of Wall street. Economics has nothing to do with money. Preamble to the Constitution is the intention. The wisdom of Alexander Hamilton's credit system to accomplish it. Everyone has forgotten that the American system of economics was designed to end the tyranny of the British money system. Continual advancement of science and technology for the uplifting of the human race is the vision. This comes first. All so called "economics" must serve this vision.

  12. 1. What would happen if most, heck MANY, employees woke up every morning asking themselves: "How can I make my bosses company MORE profitable today?" And then, when they got to work took, actually took Action on their new ideas?

    2. We've moved from a Production economy to a Consumption economy. Too many people are too much focused on consuming things instead of inventing, innovating, excelling, etc. That's a moral problem, which unfortunately shows up in the market place. It is NOT the market that fails, but the moral choices of people that fail.

    3. The "financialization" of the economy has put too much focus on "profiting" from moving money around and catching a few points off the top of all transaction and inflation versus actually producing things. This was done by collusion of the crony-capitalists and politicians. Yes, they HAVE created a disparity between rich and poor. But again, that was not the failure of the free market, but of the moral choices to, for example, be a profiteer from the government inflationary money spigot versus creating or growing real goods for real people.

    4. We The People, somewhere in the past, allowed the money system to become perverted. The various things the "modern" State does to the monetary system were — based on laws we had 200 years ago, under the long-lost Common Law and the Coinage Acts of 1792 — punishable as Treason with the Death Penalty. Inflating the money supply was considered to be the equivalent of Mass Theft. But We The People allowed They The State to get away with that perversion of law and money. … I think that's why they created the Federal Reserve Bank as a private institution. The death penalty only applied to government employees. Since Fed employees are "private" (ha-ha, fascist actually) they were not subject to that law.

    5. Corporations have a philosophical & moral dilemma from their very foundation. Corps (NOT to be confused with Big or even Little Business) are BY DEFINITION created by legislative decree of The State. The primary benefit they receive is Limited Liability (LL). LL is an inherently socialist idea: any negative actions & results of the corporation (liability for their negative actions) are distributed amongst the members of society, or The People as a whole (collectivism), by way of legislative decree (LL). … That is Karl Marx in Business (at s in the 10 Planks of the Communist — actually Fascist — Manifesto): FROM each Citizen (actually each Corporation per the 14th Amendment) according to their ability (The People absorb corporate liabilities), TO each Citizen (Corporation) according to their need (Corporations needing protection from the results of their negative actions). … Of course, how it's set up now, corporations & shareholders get to keep the profits, yet redistribute the liabilities to The People. … This is one reason corporations were not allowed prior to the Civil War. The founding fathers knew that mercantilism — collusion between state & business — was a big source of trouble. So businesses had to organize under Constitutional Trusts, but could only get limited liability from the people who signed a contract to that effect. Legalizing corporations was a modern version of mercantilism, protecting business from the challenges of the free-marketplace.

    In my view, combining the limited liability of the corporations with financialization of economics and corruption of the money supply — all allowed by the loss of Common Law — was a devastating trifecta for benefit of the crony-anti-free-market capitalists. In such a system, wealth DOES go toward the top, and does NOT trickle down.

    And I was a union guy for several years. Talk about a DRAG on business and productivity. It was a daily embarrassment to work with these union guys who miked every job for everything it was worth. They woke up every morning thinking about how they could mile the employer, not make him more profitable. No, not all of them. But I'd bet half of them were like that.

  13. larajf says:

    And that is why I work for myself. I can choose whom I work with. I can choose my hours. I can choose what I earn. And YES, there are costs involved. The cost of my time to learn new things and stay on the cutting edge. The cost of marketing myself. But it's my choice, and I accept the responsibility that comes with it.

  14. Phil says:

    "After decades of artificially high wages and benefits, job-protection schemes, and government-mandated safety standards, spoiled American workers demand still more."

    Amen! This is a major reason we cannot compete with foreign nations such as China, etc.

    Walmart is convenient for us for most items. We take advantage of it at every opportunity.

    Not like I like big corporations much in today's fascist America – too many seek protectionism, cronyist favors, etc. But Walmart is probably as good if not better than the rest.

  15. Tim says:

    Walmart's profit margin is around 3%… one of the smallest around. So where are all these excess profits everyone is complaining about? Walmart isn't the government, it can't just print money to pay its workers. If Walmart raises the wages it pays it must raise prices to pay for them. This in turn will cost everyone who shops there more, thus raising their cost of living. Things are finite, that is a fact of life. Walmart has a finite budget, what benefits workers hurts shoppers. You can't just magically wish that life was "fair" to everyone, it doesn't work that way. In the example above if there are only 9 jobs and 10 people the 9 people willing to work the hardest or able to do the best work will get them… that's life. Is it unfair to the lazy 10th slob, who won't work but still wants to be paid? The problem isn't new… King Solomon said in Proverbs 20:4 The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing.

  16. Mohammed says:

    Robert Ringer, I applaud much of what you say – it’s common sense after all!

    My bone of contention here is with ‘your’ idea that we ALL have choices. Well, we simply don’t! The child born in a poor family simply does not have the same choices or chances in life as the one born to in an affluent family. Surely you cannot deny that?

    Now, admittedly, in countries like the USA and here in Britan one can work hard to improve ones chances… and many do!

    But not every one can. Not because they lack the ambition, drive, education or skills but becaues of a certain inescapable FACT. The fact that something that is beyond the control of most mortals can and does constrain our chances and choices in life.

    If the economy happens to be in down turn as you graduate then – like it or not – a fair number of graduates and other college leavers are not going to succeed!

    The simple solution is they need help – from the Government!

    Did I hear you say, NO!

    Well, let’s now see the big picture from the ‘big boys’ point of view. In the last two decades, in most Western economies, the ‘big boys’ … those multi-billion dollar giants in banking, oil, engineering, manufacturing, and services have found themselves in a financial pickle.

    Boy! Do these ‘big boys’ cry?

    And, upon who’s shoulders do they lean on?

    Yes! Mr Ringer – they cry for help from the GOVERNMENT!

    And, guess what? The Government – no matter thier political colours – gives them massiv elaons from our taxes! Often at very flexible terms.

    Yes – They do!

    So you see, my dear mentor and friend, the story soon changes when the boots on the other foot!

    All, I, we, the common decent folk, ask for is a hand-up in hard times!

    • Robert Ringer RJR says:

      Mohammed – Your comments are very well thought out and rational, plus I appreciate the fact that you broke them down into small paragraphs that make for easy reading.

      That said, I need a whole article to respond to everything you've stated, but here are a few of my comments:

      1. No one can deny that many kids are born into circumstances that makes their chances of success almost nil. Some, like Ben Carson and Montel Williams, manage to rise above it, but most don't have what it takes to do that. So there's no question that a humane person sees this as a big problem. There are no perfect solutions, but I do believe that the one that is best for everyone in the long run is a totally free market. As an example, if a poverty-stricken family in a ghetto could set up a restaurant in their home, without having to answer to any government hacks, they could create their own upward mobility.

      2. No, people do not need help from the government – which operates on money taken from citizens by force. Governments are inherently corrupt – period. Private charity can do everything government does in the way of help, better, cheaper, and faster.

      3. I am 100% against corporate welfare. Circuit City went out of business, but the government (temporarily) saved GM for political reasons. I say no to ALL forms of welfare.

      Thanks again for your thoughtful input.

    • Pat says:

      In other words, WE the TAXPAYERS are supposed to be FORCED to coerce other people into doing what YOU want, or the workers want, and if the government provides benefits, WE are forced at gunpoint to pay them. Sure. If you wouldn't come to my house, knock on the door, stick a gun in my face, and demand I hand over my wallet, don't get the government to do your dirty work for you.

      The government ma have a minor role, but what you are suggesting isn't minor, nor is government entitled to do what you are suggesting. Life isn't fair. If you don't like what is happening to that tenth person, YOU go help him. Don't pass the buck.

  17. serge says:

    Whatever happened to self growth and education to get the job and pay that one wanted. A starter job and pay is just that and no more. Should the clerks and burger flippers be cruising in yachts? If one wants a better job or more pay, then he needs to hit the colleges and training centers after the work whistle blows. They are open morning , noon and night. After the GM shutdowns a few smart ones did just that and retooled and became well paid nurses that were in demand. Opportunity in America still exists for those who want it bad enough.

  18. Friend says:

    What you so eloquently described can be summed up in one word: FREEDOM

    And destroying freedom is the REAL reason behind unions and government. They don’t care about “fairness” at all — what they are after is complete control.

  19. Kurt Kurosawa says:

    Yup, we have choices. I worked 5 years as an “at will” employee in a right-to-get-fired state. After 5 years, a little 2-against-1 lying and that was that. It must have been pretty bad, because I’d heard my employer ALWAYS fought paying unemployment claims, and they refused to send the Deputy any requested documents, PLUS refused to come to the phone in the middle of a business day, resulting in a finding of “no evidence of misconduct,” which helped me choose a union job. Simple reasoning told me that whereas the corporation could afford a permanent legal staff that could focus on lil’ ol’ me, who couldn’t afford even one lawyer, that I might be better off in a union that had its own legal staff that could focus on defending lil’ ol’ me if I encountered more sharks. And sure enough, here came the sharks. Sure enough, there was a contract and a union with a legal staff covering my six. And my kids are still eating. So yes to free choice! People may not always make the choice YOU find philosophically satisfying, but–it’s their choice. Right?

  20. Reality Seeker says:

    I've had this Walmart conversation before, years ago on the Voice of Sanity. The inside story on Walmart is not so much a rags-to-riches story of some guy ( Sam Walmart) as it is a rags-to-fascism story. Mostly, I've found that the facts go right over the heads of the uneducated public.

    On the other side of the coin there is the thuggish unions. They also despise free-market capitalism. Neither the transnationals (like Walmart) nor the domestic wage-fixers (unions) want a free-market economy. They don't need no stinkin Adam Smith because they have Uncle Sam and his government gun. What the unions and transnationals really want and need is government coercion. Walmart, for example, lobbied for more government welfare because without EBT cards many of its employees couldn't afford to work for such low wages. They'd have to live in a Rider Truck— forever, or as long as their only source of income was a Walmart paycheck. Furthermore, the most profitable days for Walmart is when the EBT cards are recharged. Walmart is so corrupt on so many levels that it takes weeks of research in order to actually peel back the layer upon layer of bribery, graft, kickbacks and political lobbying. I realized long ago when H. Clinton worked for Walmart that its business model was so fitting for a fascist country like America.

    The good news is that the uneducated public is finally beginning to feel some economic discomfort. Of course, the acute pain is yet to come. Why is pain good news? Because pain is what it's going to take to get these uneducated bastards off their asses. The unions, transnationals, banking cartels, Washington central-planners and the uneducated public are all responsible for the upcoming economic collapse. And once everybody's balance sheet is wrecked— including Walmart's— including Uncle Sam's— the uneducated public is going to be forced to make a life or death decision, viz., accept and cede power to a dictator who promises food, shelter and jobs or accept the invisible hand of Adam Smith and live free or die.

  21. Bruce says:

    I can agree with so much of what almost everybody says. Big money is buying the government.Things we think of as "agencies" are actually private with their own agenda. I have seen firsthand,in what was the family business,and places I've worked, the bad side of [most] unions.Also how large companies will move into an area and use their funds to artificially undercut prices as long as it takes to put the locals out of the picture. But certainly You're not naive enough to deny that oversight of food/drugs/housing/transportation were brought on by greedy abuses in a totally free system.Unions by horribly treated workers.
    I grew up in an America where if you worked 40-50hrs a week you earned enough to house,feed,clothe your family.If you did this for 30-40yrs You would be taken care of. Look at our current standings in the world as far as freedom,business climate,medical care [results-not spending],education results,even standard of living. You will find we're not the top-and slipping down yearly.

    • Pat says:

      Unions have outlived their usefulness. They now buy elections. Sure, Walmart has put a lot of people out of business. This is most unfortunate. But the solution isn't more coercion. That's what got us here in the first place: government meddling because there was a downturn. Many people have said the Great Depression was caused and prolonged by government intervention.

      I'm not totally laissez-faire about this, but we need to move toward much more freedom.

  22. Murray Suid says:

    The myth here is that free enterprise organizations act fairly (wisely, for the greater good) if left unregulated. History tells us a different story: that unregulated companies often cheat, often use their power to rig the game. Here's an analogy: Imagine what professional football would be like if there were no regulators (aka referees). Then think about the way many companies polluted the environment as a way of avoiding costs and improving their bottom lines. This happened famously in the 19th century with New England chemical companies destroying rivers.

    "Free enterprise" sounds nice, but things aren't "free" when–for example–monopolies occur. Unions were invented to provide some balance. Sure, many unions were (are) corrupt. But isn't it the same with corporations? Haven't we heard more than once about corporations that cooked the books, that sold unsafe products, that lied in their advertisements, that cheated workers. To claim that the "free market" will solve all those problems is to be either a) naive, or b) a partisan. No serious student of economics will conclude that an unregulated, union-free system will end up free.

    By way of full disclosure, while at times I have worked for the government (as a public school teacher), most of my work life has been in the private sector. In addition to working for other entrepreneurs, I have started two small businesses. I hate oppressive government regulation as much as the next guy, but I am aware of the need for regulation. I'm against wasteful government, but I realize–as would anyone who studies history–that government has made possible much of the activity that occurs in the private sector.

    • Reality Seeker says:

      Written like a true, blue collectivist.

      The myth here is that government intervention is "fairer" than laissez faire capitalism. Life cannot be made fair by free markets, but free markets sure are one hell of a lot better than hearing somebody say, "I'm from the government and I'm here to help".

      "No serious student of economics will conclude that an unregulated, union-free system will end up free".

      For scribbling that laughable statement you should receive a dunce cap with your name on it. You must have made an excellent-public-school teacher.

      "….government has made possible much of the activity that occurs in the private sector".

      Really, with Marxist beliefs like the above you should apply for a position in the Obama administration, because they'd love you to death.

      "… didn't build that…." ~ Collectivist President Obama

    • Robert Ringer RJR says:

      I agree that regardless of the system, there will always be bad guys who violate the rights of others. But it is my contention that the very nature of government breeds bad guys who cause far more damage than good. Laissez-faire capitalism brings more opportunity and wealth to more people than any other system. The fact that there will always be dishonest people is a totally separate subject.

      • John E. Gabor says:

        You either want freedom or you don't. Period.

      • David Sarosi says:

        Actually the case for getting the government out of the economy is NOT a separate subject from the inherent dishonesty in society. Government is nothing but force and violence. It is not based on voluntary cooperation and behind everything it does is the gun and the prison cell. Within the framework of the free market the king is the consumer. If business does not please him/her, there is an immediate vote of no-confidence, no force can be applied to change the outcome, and the consumer takes their vote(money) elsewhere. When the government intervenes, they become KING. They can force purchases, deny choice, pick winners and losers, and otherwise rule the marketplace. Suddenly the dishonest businessman who lacked the power in the free market arrangement need only purchase the favor of the folks with the guns and the power to be king – and that's exactly what they do. We must do everything to either eliminate formal government or reduce its size and power to next to nothing simply because there are bad guys who will be able to gain control of that system – either through deception, force, or by promising the other folks goodies for their votes.

        • Pat says:

          Your point that there is inherent dishonesty in society is exactly accurate, except for one thing: this means there is also inherent dishonesty in many businesses, especially the larger ones. One person cannot influence a large company, and it is rare to get enough people to agree on a course of action for it to have any impact. So I'm afraid your solution is null and void ab initio. We need balance between opposing strong forces that are inherently dishonest. Without government acting against big business, we won't have that. The problem now is not that government is involved, but that what the government is doing about it is wrong. It is violating the Constitution. Force government to adhere to the Constitution. A really good way to do that is for the government to provide courts where one individual CAN get redress of grievance, but unfortunately, the courts are also corrupt, and they cost a ton of money most people don't have. Throwing government entirely out the window won't work. We need to force the government to start adhering to the Constitution again, and we need reform in the courts. Get all the politically activist judges who think they know better than the voters, OUT of the court system.

          If you don't think some big businesses are inherently dishonest, just look at the pharmaceutical companies and Monsanto. Of course they are more powerful because they have bought government, than they would be otherwise, but they can be plenty powerful on their own. And the destruction they are causing is astronomically incalculable. And believe me, under anarcho-capitalism, they would just thrive all the more.

  23. karllembke says:

    Some years ago, Charles Krauthammer came up with the diagnosis of "Bush Derangement Syndrome". Any exposure to anything George W Bush would provoke a foaming-at-the-mouth fit. No reason for any of it, just because it's Bush.

    Similarly, I think I've seen signs of "Wal-Mart Derangement Syndrome" where people rage against the evil corporation without regard to the merits of their case, or any other. It suffices that the target is Wal-Mart.

  24. taejonwill says:

    I’m a leftwing 60’s counterculture person, who is getting older and sees the rationality of free market economics and private property, I get it, you get more conservative as you get older and I’m no exception. I wish I could devise a better economic system than the current status quo. But just because I’m employed and pretty much self sustaining, I don’t believe in puffing out my chest and being proud of it. Actually work has been a blessing for me and it has made me a better human. I feel for the unemployed, it is a burden to have nowhere to go and nothing to do. And in all honesty if my family hadn’t helped at points in my life I don’t know if I could have survived. There is a element of luck to this. I do remember at one point in the early 80’s having a wretched job that I finally had to quit and the only choice I had was to pitch a tent and live in the woods as a homeless person. Not good times, freedom of choice is bit overrated. Money is power, that’s why it’s so desired, claiming that the name of the game is freedom; is a canard, the desire for money is the desire for power.

  25. Pat says:

    Whenever anyone tries to hurt a company like Walmart for the workers’ “sake”, guess who gets hurt. It’s not the box or its owners. It’s the workers.

  26. Mohammed says:

    Mr Ringer – Many thanks for taking the time to reply.

    Of course, when thinking folks exchange ideas – especially about the monsters we’re trying to wrestle with – there will be disagreements.

    What I find most agreeable, and creditable, is that you’ve created an arena where any one can air ideas in a sober yet polite manner. That’s surely a fruit born out of freedom, and one which we can all partake?

    Best regards!

  27. very good article..we did just that we are shopping with our feet, and so have many others that is why thier business has been falling every month even in a down economy. The only thing I would add is a lot of time a employee also has time and yes an investment 401k etc. invested in the company they work at. A lot of these workers have seen as I have that the company that they loved to work for and admired thier relationship with the workers changed, many companies today only want part timers, or younger people, so these workers would leave if they could find a company that had the vison that the company once had, jobs are not that easy to find in an environment where almost everything is made overseas. bottom line: companies do change and not always for the good.

    • Pat says:

      There is such a thing as reality. Companies like Walmart are not really the problem. Government is the problem. The policies of our leaders (so-called) are stifling the economy, and thus the availability of decent jobs. You can't wave a magic wand over it, plunder the taxpayers some more, and then expect things to improve. They won't. So people take the jobs they can find. It's better to earn something than nothing at all, and the reality is, NOBODY can afford to pay people not to work on the scale the government is currently attempting it.

  28. David Sarosi says:

    I have no arguments with your commentary on the free market or its superiority over any so-called "mixed" economy, etc., but I think that you and others fall a bit short in your full understanding of WalMart and its business practices. Many a WalMart has been the beneficiary of government "aid" in the form of cheap land courtesy of so-called "blight" designations, deferred taxes, free lighting/sewer/infrastructure upgrades, and even purchase financing via government bond issuances. The California Redevelopment Act is just one of many pieces of government legislation nationwide that provide mechanisms for local governments to steal from existing business owners in the form of higher taxes for bond payments, higher fees to cover bond payments, higher infrastructure costs to cover handouts, or outright theft of land via "blight" designations to "sweeten the pot" for prospective big-box development including WalMart.

    Far too many folks get caught up in the trap of "defending" WalMart without a full appreciation of how these "rent seekers" take full advantage of the less-than-free market to enhance their business position in the communities they enter. Tragically and not so ironically, the very mom and pop stores that WalMart ultimately puts out of business are dealt an additional blow to their businesses by higher fees, etc. that the local governments charge to offset the WalMart giveaways that made their local presence possible. Low prices that come from purchasing power, negotiating strategies, etc. are fine to praise, but lower overhead costs that come via a government handout are as much a part of WalMart's picture as the others. Promoters of the free market desperately need to find a better "poster child" than WalMart.

    • Antonio says:


      To the extent that WaMart does get breaks from local governments, that is wrong. Still, the article makes the succinct point that nobody has a gun held to their head when choosing to work at WalMart. To that narrow point there can be no objection.

  29. David Sarosi says:

    Antonio, I will fully agree with your point, but my point was that everyone comes to Walmart's defense reflexively as if they are some holier than thou corporation providing us with glorious wonders thanks to their free market approach to business. All that does is undermine the argument that absolutely needs to be made.

    One additional point about Walmart and their supposed free market ethic. Walmart is the recipient of literally billions of dollars in food stamp/EBT receipts. They actively lobby congress (again rent seeking) to increase food stamp handouts and enrollment. They also have a significant number of their employees who are the recipients of government handouts. While one may say that this is not Walmart's fault, the truth is that they do not have the financial pressure on them from their employees to increase wages, etc. because YOU AND I are picking up part of that tab.

    Again. I am an anarcho-capitalist who fully supports the free market and everything that is NOT government, but those who do support the free market, individual achievement, and alternatives to the government need to find a better "poster child" than the rent seekers at Walmart. It is hurting the cause miserably because you only need to scratch the surface and compare their business practices to what we espouse to see that they are ultimately crony-capitalists too.

    • Pat says:

      I hate to break it to ya, David, but under anarcho-capitalism, Walmart is what you would get! Granted they're getting food stamp money presently, but I doubt if they're making any extra money as a result, and regardless, any large company of that size with which you must do business for necessities, becomes indistinguishable from government; they get just as oppressive. They have the necessary power. As long as there is some government, you can pit large powerful companies against the government and let them duke it out. The present situation is unacceptable, because that's not what is happening. Instead, they're both ganging up on the individual. THAT is what needs to change, NOT that there should be no government interference in the free market.

  30. David Sarosi says:

    Pat, if you don't fully understand the free market, or anarcho-capitalism, please don't presuppose a future in which it is the law of the land. I would strongly suggest Lew Rockwell's newest book – Against The State. I have just laid out all of the government subsidies, handouts, land benefits, tax benefits, and direct income payments (EBT) that Walmart has taken in furtherance of their business and you say that Walmart is exactly the kind of business one would get in a government-free, free market, anarcho-capitalistic society. I'm not sure what sort of twisted logic gets one to that conclusion, but it isn't the kind I have studied.

    Without government intervention in the marketplace, without government handouts, subsidies, minimum wage laws, tax laws, etc. people would be able to more easily compete with any and all businesses. A sound currency that the market would deliver along with near zero inflation that accompanies a market free of fiat money creation and fraudulent fractional reserve banking would provide a sound foundation for domestic producers of goods. Further, it would eliminate the currency and labor arbitrage that Walmart current takes advantage of with its Chinese purchases, and would create a society in which debt-based purchases fueled by tax law, manipulated interest rates, and everything else that falls from these government interventions would be nearly non-existent. No doubt there would be large companies that got that way solely by providing a consistently better product at a consistently better price, but none would have gotten that way through their collusion with government and its power so that would be fine. The minute they failed to deliver, another competitor would there nipping at their heals ready to provide what the customer deserves.

    As for the food stamp contribution, in Walmart's own words from the day it released its poor 4Q earnings report in February of 2014 "Wal-Mart said the Nov. 1 expiration of a temporary boost in food stamps is hurting its shoppers' ability to spend." I know that big businesses seem like just the norm these days, but only as far back as the 60s and 70s did we have tens of thousands of neighborhood butchers, grocers, hardware stores, etc. The influx of fiat currency that began with Nixon's final abandonment of the gold standard in 1973 has created the trillions of dollars of credit that larger and larger stores have been able to use to buy up their smaller competitors and massively reduce competition. This kind of thing can only happen in the presence of a government-protected central bank, government allowance of the crime of fractional reserve banking, and legal tender laws that force the use of the highly inflated currency. Go to the Ludwig von Mises Institute web page and check out all of their free books and articles on banking (especially by Murray Rothbard) to see how government intervention in the market has actually created the very things you mistakenly attribute to the free market. It will be quite eye-opening.

    • Pat says:

      David, you really don't need to insult me by saying I'm ignorant or stupid. You obviously said that just because I disagree with you, because you don't know enough to have any other true motivation. You don't know what my background is, so jumping to conclusions is highly inappropriate. I assure you, I know a great deal more than you think I do.

      I am not saying Walmart wouldn't operate in exactly the same way. I am saying that companies like Walmart would find another way to control the buyers. One person CANNOT change what companies do by himself, and most people either lack the knowledge or the fortitude to vote with their feet. We shouldn't be trading with China at all. They are still oppressing their people and the Tibetans and threatening their neighbors. They still kill millions of their own unborn children every year. I won't do business with China directly, in spite of all the requests I get, and I rarely to got Walmart for any reason (though I do occasionally do my husband's Walmart grocery shopping for him; I don't buy any groceries there for myself). Even if there were no food stamps, however, poor people would be likely to buy there because Walmart's prices undercut those of most grocery stores.

      The loss of the gold standard was harmful. Subsidies, minimum wage laws, many taxes, and other things such as you have mentioned, are all harmful. They're also unconstitutional. If the government would stick to the Constitution, we would have few marketplace problems with them. We need to compel the government to adhere to the Constitution.

      I don't trust Lew Rockwell. He has a number of positions on things that I categorically reject. While I might be inclined to read a book he wrote (because I read things I disagree with), I'm not going out of my way to read it. One final thing: if you haven't done so, go see the movie Rollerball or get the DVD (I think there may have been a re-make, so I'm talking about the original). I found their society extremely unattractive. What about you?

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    • patg2 says:

      Cooking is a necessity for most people. They have to eat, and don't necessarily have access to food they haven't cooked themselves. However, many people have one family member that cooks for everyone in the family. Cooking can be a hobby for some people who put more into it than is strictly necessary. For me, it is a necessity, though I try to make my cooking healthy and savory when I do. But for me it is more of a chore than a hobby because there are other things I'd rather do with my time. But we get hungry.

      Not sure what you mean by the comment re polypropylene.