Walmart has long been a company that helped redefine American business. They have been on the forefront of union busting activities. They perfected the art of disguising wage slavery overseas by subcontracting out into a flowchart so complicated the company becomes unaccountable. Every dollar we save at a Walmart is the result of wage theft, but the company gambled (rightly) that America wouldn’t care about a US company exploiting foreign workers, so long as we don’t have to see the actual corpses.
So Walmart is now the biggest private employer in the US. To be sure, it has to pay regular fines for unpaid work. But fines have become a cost of doing business, not an imperative to reform. It is not unusual for Walmart’s American workers to also be on government assistance, but those workers have it easy compared to foreign labor. When more than 100 workers burned to death at a Bangladeshi factory where Walmart obtained some of its clothes after years of ignoring pleas for worker safety, the company did the only thing a responsible American business could do, they blamed it all on the subcontractor.
When the company’s reputation began to suffer, Walmart hired a liberal strategist to prepare adequate window dressing to silence their critics in the Democratic party. Suddenly, the company presented itself as concerned about energy and even supported Obamacare. While it still employs sweatshops overseas, and crushes unions at home, it has considerably reduced criticism. It’s a sobering to realize that US businesses can be caught in the most horrific crimes, and if they make cosmetic changes, they will avoid any real consequences. It is a sobering to think that, if Hitler had been a CEO in the United States and was caught red handed, all he would need to get back in business would be a good nose job.
So here’s to Walmart. Let’s give the devil his due, but not a single cent of our money.