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Thread: Is denying a Wal-Mart class warfare?

  1. #51
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    Going back to the original question....YES. It is class warfare. You can dress up this issue hawever you want it, but the fact is the typical Wal-Mart shopper stereotype is that of white trash bubbas, who live in trailer parks. We certainly dont want THEM in our community.

    Slap the word Target (pronounce Tar zhay), on the sign out front and it will be welcome with open arms.

    Fact is, the typical demographis of shoppers at Wal Mart, Target, whatever refelct the demographic of the region.

    Go to Walmart in SW FL...its a bunch of retired righ white folk.
    Go to Walmart in the Philly Suburbs....its a bunch of rich white folk trying to hide the fact they are in the store, yet they see all their friends.
    Go to Walmart at teh NJ shore....a bunch of rich white folk shopping for beach chairs and sunscreen.

    Some people would cut off their own nose to spite their face. Plans should be approved/denied based on the merits of the plan and its compliance with local ordinances. Not because of who the tennant is.

  2. #52
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    That's because we've been sold a bill of goods-get on the rat race treadmill, or you'll be in poverty.
    I hear you, but bear in mind that working 60 hrs per week has been the norm for most of history. SOME people/jobs briefly traded better technology for shorter hours for a while (or more permanently, in economies where the govt. forces them to) but in the US many./most people have chosen to pick things up again in order to accumulate more.

    My main point was to deflate the sort of simplistic living wage trash talk that arbitrarily decides that, whatever REALITY, a person MUST be able to afford a middle-class lifestyle for a family of 4-5 working 40 hrs a week at a non-stressful job. That's 'cargo-cult' economis: "I'd liek it to be so, therefore it must be so, otherwise the world is unfair and wrong and just...ooooh, I'm so unhappy". Maybe some lucky stiff can pull it off. There's no way most can.
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  3. #53
    Cyburbian KSharpe's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Luca
    I hear you, but bear in mind that working 60 hrs per week has been the norm for most of history. SOME people/jobs briefly traded better technology for shorter hours for a while (or more permanently, in economies where the govt. forces them to) but in the US many./most people have chosen to pick things up again in order to accumulate more.

    My main point was to deflate the sort of simplistic living wage trash talk that arbitrarily decides that, whatever REALITY, a person MUST be able to afford a middle-class lifestyle for a family of 4-5 working 40 hrs a week at a non-stressful job. That's 'cargo-cult' economis: "I'd liek it to be so, therefore it must be so, otherwise the world is unfair and wrong and just...ooooh, I'm so unhappy". Maybe some lucky stiff can pull it off. There's no way most can.
    Read "Nickel and Dimed" sometime, and see if you still agree....I work 40 hours, but even people working 60 can't make it at those places.

  4. #54

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    Quote Originally posted by Luca
    I hear you, but bear in mind that working 60 hrs per week has been the norm for most of history. SOME people/jobs briefly traded better technology for shorter hours for a while (or more permanently, in economies where the govt. forces them to) but in the US many./most people have chosen to pick things up again in order to accumulate more.

    My main point was to deflate the sort of simplistic living wage trash talk that arbitrarily decides that, whatever REALITY, a person MUST be able to afford a middle-class lifestyle for a family of 4-5 working 40 hrs a week at a non-stressful job. That's 'cargo-cult' economis: "I'd liek it to be so, therefore it must be so, otherwise the world is unfair and wrong and just...ooooh, I'm so unhappy". Maybe some lucky stiff can pull it off. There's no way most can.
    At the same time, there is the reality that "moddle class" people get a good deal of their luxuries because of the working poor. I don't think anyone is saying the average Wal Mart worker should have a "middle class lifestyle" (whatever that means), but at the same time, they should not be forced to make a choice between missing work and being docked for pay and taking their sick child to the free clinic. Now, I know that "having the child was a choice" and all the usual comfortable middle class office workers' dissing of the working poor, but...I agree with the post re: Nickeled and Dimed.


    If the State is going to facilitate total dominance of the economy and the basic subordination of everyone to large corporations, then the State needs to take action to ameliorate the inevtiable dislocations created by said dominance.

  5. #55
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Luca

    My main point was to deflate the sort of simplistic living wage trash talk that arbitrarily decides that, whatever REALITY, a person MUST be able to afford a middle-class lifestyle for a family of 4-5 working 40 hrs a week at a non-stressful job. That's 'cargo-cult' economis: "I'd liek it to be so, therefore it must be so, otherwise the world is unfair and wrong and just...ooooh, I'm so unhappy". Maybe some lucky stiff can pull it off. There's no way most can.
    So the basic tenants of keynesianism are "caro-cult economics" to the classicist eggheads, eh? In an economy as wealthy as ours, which produces as much as ours does, it is a travesty that the average worker can not earn a living wage at 40 hours per week.
    Reality does not conform to your ideology.
    http://neighborhoods.chicago.il.us Photographs of Life in the Neighborhoods of Chicago
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  6. #56
    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    If the State is going to facilitate total dominance of the economy and the basic subordination of everyone to large corporations, then the State needs to take action to ameliorate the inevtiable dislocations created by said dominance.
    I don't know how you can make sense of a statement like that. You believe that, since the state is by nature criminal, it ought to do good things to compensate for this criminality. But it should be obvious that by its nature it isn't going to do that, so there's no point in clamoring for it.

    It's as if you were confronted by a string of homicides and said "those young men ought to visit the families of the victims and apologize!"


    Quote Originally posted by jordanb
    So the basic tenants of keynesianism are "caro-cult economics" to the classicist eggheads, eh? In an economy as wealthy as ours, which produces as much as ours does, it is a travesty that the average worker can not earn a living wage at 40 hours per week.
    I find it rather astonishing that you believe the average american worker isn't making a good living considering how much stuff they have.

  7. #57
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by KSharpe
    Read "Nickel and Dimed" sometime, and see if you still agree....I work 40 hours, but even people working 60 can't make it at those places.
    Can't make what? Ends meet? For themselves? Themselves plus children? You are assumign that people have a god-given right to spawn regardless of their wealth/income. Substitute 'Wal-mart' with a field/forest and 'income' with 'the crops one is able to raise'. Now, would you advise someone who can barely grow enough food the feed themselves and chop enough wood to shelter/heat themselves to procreate? Should the better farmer/woodchopper penalize himself so crap farmer cah have a family? Shoudl he be forced to?

    Quote Originally posted by jordanb
    So the basic tenants of keynesianism are "caro-cult economics" to the classicist eggheads, eh? In an economy as wealthy as ours, which produces as much as ours does, it is a travesty that the average worker can not earn a living wage at 40 hours per week.
    I don't think you have a keen grasp of Keynesianism. Keyens' contribution had little to do with 'positive rights' and 'normative economics'.

    Is your point that it sucks to be poor. Yeh. Tried it. Didn't like it.

    Should we help poor people. Probably, in most cases. Does setting an arbitrary level of compensation across the economy at all but the most basic level help poor people? I think you'll find that hardly anyone with any economic training thinks so. BTW, bery few economsits udner 65 even think in Keynes vs. ricardo terms these days. Particularly in policy circles, Keynes' contribution is undisputed but there are not many 'pure' Keynesians, either.
    Last edited by NHPlanner; 08 Aug 2006 at 2:54 PM. Reason: double reply
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  8. #58

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    Quote Originally posted by jaws
    I don't know how you can make sense of a statement like that. You believe that, since the state is by nature criminal, it ought to do good things to compensate for this criminality. But it should be obvious that by its nature it isn't going to do that, so there's no point in clamoring for it.
    No...I don't really believe that, except in the sense that all human societies involve coercion and corruption, etc. I am sympathetic to Mutualism but find it ultimately unconvincing-at least now.

    I don't think it is the State alone that is criminal.

    The State responds to a variety of forces. Including pressure for social justice.

  9. #59
    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    The State responds to a variety of forces. Including pressure for social justice.
    So did Al Capone.

  10. #60

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    Quote Originally posted by jaws
    So did Al Capone.
    Funny.

    Ayn Rand refused to respond to any concepts of decency beyond basic selfishness.

  11. #61
    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    Funny.

    Ayn Rand refused to respond to any concepts of decency beyond basic selfishness.
    So what? She wrote books for a living. Capone ran the textbook welfare state. He taxed the rich and ran soup kitchens for the poor. Occasionally he would murder his enemies.

  12. #62

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    Quote Originally posted by jaws
    So what? She wrote books for a living. Capone ran the textbook welfare state. He taxed the rich and ran soup kitchens for the poor. Occasionally he would murder his enemies.
    Karl Marx wrote books for a living, too. Ideas have consequences.

  13. #63
    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    Karl Marx wrote books for a living, too. Ideas have consequences.
    Karl Marx lived as an exile in England. That's the great thing about a liberal society. You have the right to write and sell books that say any crazy thing you want. You have the right to open a Wal-Mart. That doesn't make you a criminal.

    Imposing Marxism or anti-monopolistic-pro-competition regulations on innocent people makes you a criminal.

  14. #64
    Cyburbian abrowne's avatar
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    [skipping comment on above economic points and getting back to thread topic]

    Vancouver city council rejected a Wal-Mart because of its business practices at home and overseas, despite the application being within land designated as highway commercial with other big box stores already constructed. This despite a unique design from Wal-Mart, incorporating skylights, a green roof, and even windmills. I think they might have thrown in some sort of pervious parking, too.

    It was very clear that the application was rejected based on political lines and infighting between different parties vying for council seats. The roaring lefties chattered chipmunk-like indignation at Wal-Mart for a whole rash of things outside the scope of the development permit application while at the same time prescribing their own preference on the the individual wills of Vancouverites.

    In this instance it was definitely class warfare in its effects. As for intent, that can be argued. I can easily forsee a situation where class warfare intent was meant, however.

    A valid development application is a valid application, wage squabbles and globalization battles aside. I'm surprised Wal-Mart didn't sue the City of Vancouver. Council certainly did not act impartially or with fairness. Or even consistency. As if Canadian Tire (a big box store present in the area of the Wal-Mart application) pays employees any better or imports products NOT made in China.

  15. #65
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    Interesting psot AND on topic. Abrowne!

    It does seem like some 'names' get singeld out for opprobrium to a degree that does not seem jsutified by the rleatiely small differnce between them and tehir competitors.

    QUESTION: how successful have anti Wla-Mart campaigners (it spoudns silly even to write it...) ben in suign voluntary opposition (i.e. boycotts)? I know for some firms like Nike which were a bit casual about labor standards of their subcontractors the pressure/bad publicity made a big difference. If this does not work with Wal mart, ultiamtely, the peopel to 'blame' (assuming any blame attaches) are Wal-mart customers. Ne-c'est-pas?
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  16. #66
    Cyburbian Reductionist's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Luca
    I hear you, but bear in mind that working 60 hrs per week has been the norm for most of history. SOME people/jobs briefly traded better technology for shorter hours for a while (or more permanently, in economies where the govt. forces them to) but in the US many./most people have chosen to pick things up again in order to accumulate more.

    My main point was to deflate the sort of simplistic living wage trash talk that arbitrarily decides that, whatever REALITY, a person MUST be able to afford a middle-class lifestyle for a family of 4-5 working 40 hrs a week at a non-stressful job. That's 'cargo-cult' economis: "I'd liek it to be so, therefore it must be so, otherwise the world is unfair and wrong and just...ooooh, I'm so unhappy". Maybe some lucky stiff can pull it off. There's no way most can.
    Actually the 60 hour work week was not the norm for most of human history. It was the norm only during the 19th Century, which of course coincides with the rise of modern capitalism and the industrial revolution.

    It was of course a brutal, exploitative period that few want to repeat. Unfortunately for the last couple of decades we’ve been slowly heading in that direction thanks to the greed is good philosophy preached by vast legions of amoral politicos, ideologues and corporatists.

    Welcome to the 2nd Gilded Age.

  17. #67
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Reductionist
    Actually the 60 hour work week was not the norm for most of human history. It was the norm only during the 19th Century...
    For whom? People who were not born with a rentier position worked like dogs through the ages. Some chose not to. They tended to be close to starvation and their children sick and dying. Read nay social history. Apprentices put in very long days since the middle ages. Only 'gentlemanly' professions had relatively short hours.

    How many hours a day does a hardscrabble farmer work? A hunter/gatherer? An indentured servant? The idea that 17th century people loafed all day comes from the fact that a few loafed on the sweat of the many. I reckon more than 8 hrs, five days a week. And the women? Or do we not factor them in? More like 18 hrs a day 7 days a week for life, right? It is precisely the industrial age with its machine logic, higher productivity that brought about the possibility of a shorter work week without starvation ensuing.
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  18. #68
    Cyburbian Reductionist's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Luca
    For whom? People who were not born with a rentier position worked like dogs through the ages. Some chose not to. They tended to be close to starvation and their children sick and dying. Read nay social history. Apprentices put in very long days since the middle ages. Only 'gentlemanly' professions had relatively short hours.

    How many hours a day does a hardscrabble farmer work? A hunter/gatherer? An indentured servant? The idea that 17th century people loafed all day comes from the fact that a few loafed on the sweat of the many. I reckon more than 8 hrs, five days a week. And the women? Or do we not factor them in? More like 18 hrs a day 7 days a week for life, right? It is precisely the industrial age with its machine logic, higher productivity that brought about the possibility of a shorter work week without starvation ensuing.
    You're forgetting that prior to the industrial revolution most work was largely seasonal and tied to the natural cycles of day and night. Thus they worked longer in the warmer seasons doing whatever it took to get the planting and harvest work done, but minimally or none in the fall and winter when the short days and cold weather made it difficult or impossible for that type of work to get done. So the aggregate time spent working on average amounted to substantially less than 60 hours a week; more like between 30 and 40 really.

    The industrial revolution simply figured out that they with advancements in technology and consolidation of labor they could pretty easily force people to work year round. While advancements in productivity eventually made this unecassary, it was unsustainable from a social and public health point of view.

    So while I agree with your point about productivity and the modern 40 hour work week, I don't understand why the trend is reversing when we're supposedly collectively more wealthy and productive than ever.

    Could it be that perhaps that is a political reason behind this??

  19. #69

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    Quote Originally posted by Luca
    For whom? People who were not born with a rentier position worked like dogs through the ages. Some chose not to. They tended to be close to starvation and their children sick and dying. Read nay social history. Apprentices put in very long days since the middle ages. Only 'gentlemanly' professions had relatively short hours.

    How many hours a day does a hardscrabble farmer work? A hunter/gatherer? An indentured servant? The idea that 17th century people loafed all day comes from the fact that a few loafed on the sweat of the many. I reckon more than 8 hrs, five days a week. And the women? Or do we not factor them in? More like 18 hrs a day 7 days a week for life, right? It is precisely the industrial age with its machine logic, higher productivity that brought about the possibility of a shorter work week without starvation ensuing.
    to amplify the post above, most hunter-gatherer societies were not engaged in continuous, repetitive labor for 60 hours per week. Even the !Kung Bushman, in a very harsh environment, can be said to "work" only 20 or so hours per week.

    The invention of agriculture began to change things, of course. Dirt farming can be very hard work-especially if you are a serf working for a lord or high priest. But, to amplify Reductionist's point, such serfdom is indeed a "political" decision.

    As for why the trend has reversed? Consolidation of control into fewer and fewer hands means competition is more vigorous than ever. Plus, we are all sold a bill of goods: instead of a 1200 square foot bungalow, we "need" a 2500 square foot house for our families. This requires more time

  20. #70
    Quote Originally posted by Reductionist
    Could it be that perhaps that is a political reason behind this??
    It's probably that people are just greedy. They don't need a 5000 sqft house and brand new SUVs in the garage. They just want them, and to have them they need to work a lot.

  21. #71
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    Reductionist -
    “…prior to the industrial revolution most work was largely seasonal …So the aggregate time spent working on average amounted to …between 30 and 40 really.”

    You may be right. I simply do not have figures at hand and I’m sure there are disputes anyway (subsistence laborers do not punch clocks). I can tell you that as late as pre-war, farmers in Europe spent much of the non-growth months working fairly hard at slaughtering/dressing livestock, doing maintenance on tools and homes and doing odd-jobs including ‘migrant/seasonal’ labor in cities/towns. In any case, teh smart oens left rpoecisely becuase, working as farmers, they coudl barely make ends meet.

    BKM -

    “...the !Kung Bushman, in a very harsh environment, can be said to "work" only 20 or so hours per week.”

    Yes, but they are unspeakably poor (at least materially). My beef is with the assumption that it is somehow ‘natural’ or ‘automatic’ that one can work 40 hrs a week and live a lifestyle (together with a family) that is historically very, very materially rich.

    jaws -

    “It's probably that people are just greedy.”

    Quite probably. It is largely a matter of personal decisions.

    But let’s try to see it from the non pro standpoint

    The fact that a large number, maybe a majority, of people are willing to:
    a) work 50-60 hr. weeks and get strong marketable skills
    b) buy their goods from the producer and retailer that guarantees the best price at the expense of some quality and definitely without considerations for protectionism, etc.
    does result in the less skilled or the less hard working to be worse off than they would otherwise be, especially in access to relatively non-tradable, immobile, limited resources.
    I.e., the US is largely a country of hard-working, hard-nosed strivers. If you are lazy or undereducated or maybe just not one of life’s alpha types, you’re gonna be s#!t out of luck; no question.
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  22. #72
    Cyburbian Reductionist's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Luca
    But let’s try to see it from the non pro standpoint

    The fact that a large number, maybe a majority, of people are willing to:
    a) work 50-60 hr. weeks and get strong marketable skills
    b) buy their goods from the producer and retailer that guarantees the best price at the expense of some quality and definitely without considerations for protectionism, etc.
    does result in the less skilled or the less hard working to be worse off than they would otherwise be, especially in access to relatively non-tradable, immobile, limited resources.
    I.e., the US is largely a country of hard-working, hard-nosed strivers. If you are lazy or undereducated or maybe just not one of life’s alpha types, you’re gonna be s#!t out of luck; no question.
    Yes but a great deal of what you’re saying about our modern work ethic is cultural, basically it’s the American pull yourself up by the bootstraps work ethic combined with an unhealthy dose of Social Darwinism.

    There is substantial evidence that this nose to the grindstone theory of work is probably not the best approach. For one thing there are substantial social and economic costs associated with the disease of workaholicism (and make no mistake it is a disease). Yet we encourage it because it boosts GDP. Well that and how Americans tend to naively view money as the primary indicator of quality of life.

    Consumerism is both a symptom and a cause of this. We incessantly buy more and more stuff to numb the reality that we live in an increasingly lonely society with an impoverished public life. But in order to pay for this stuff, we work more, define our lives solely by work in the process and end up with a society of deeply in debt, stressed out, materialistic automatons who gulp down Prozac like tic tacs.

  23. #73

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    Quote Originally posted by Reductionist
    Yes but a great deal of what you’re saying about our modern work ethic is cultural, basically it’s the American pull yourself up by the bootstraps work ethic combined with an unhealthy dose of Social Darwinism.

    There is substantial evidence that this nose to the grindstone theory of work is probably not the best approach. For one thing there are substantial social and economic costs associated with the disease of workaholicism (and make no mistake it is a disease). Yet we encourage it because it boosts GDP. Well that and how Americans tend to naively view money as the primary indicator of quality of life.

    Consumerism is both a symptom and a cause of this. We incessantly buy more and more stuff to numb the reality that we live in an increasingly lonely society with an impoverished public life. But in order to pay for this stuff, we work more, define our lives solely by work in the process and end up with a society of deeply in debt, stressed out, materialistic automatons who gulp down Prozac like tic tacs.
    throw in industrialized processed food, car addiction, and incessant electronic entertainment, and we may the first generation to live shorter lives than their parents. And-this is not entirely "off topic" in that the "Wal Martization" of the American economy drives and is driven by these very things.

  24. #74
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    Being relatively young, I have noticed a shift in culture for many from the recent college grad crowd and how much we are willing to work versus what we are willing to sacrifice for a few more dollars everyweek. many in their early 20s, myself included, have no interest in working 60 hours a week. Its not that we're lazy, we would just rather give up the super nice car (which probably only gets 15 mpg anyways) and the mcmansion in the exurbs (which would require an hour plus commute each direction). We were told as we grew up that we could do anything we wanted, and most of us have no ineterest in working excessive hours and won't because of what was instilled in us as children. and since there are some many of us and we have relatively high purchasing power, the markets are starting to cater to our demands. Its happening very slowly, but I feel the tides are turning.

  25. #75
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    Well, for what it's worth, good luck to ya.

    It definitely seems to em that if things are to be turned around, it msut be a voluntayr decision, rather than something impsoed from outside. That's my main beef with people who get to huffed about a rpviate compaony. IIf you don't liek their policies (say, tehy pay their employees too little, etc.)don't buy there. A commercial comapony is one agent you can generally really screw without drasdic action, you jsut remove theoir raison d'etre.

    And yet people don't. They'd rather have the township 'forbid'Wla-Mart than just not shop there (and maybe encourage their friends to do the same). I've found resistance to this sort of 'direct action' amogn a lot of people,e ven close to me. Personally, for instance, I tend to buy as much as possible of my groceries from the farmers' market and lcoal retailers as opposed to supermarket chains. PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS FOLKS, IT WORKS

    AFA Wal-mart is concerned, I've known a few people who worked there and they seemed to like it fine (i.e. no worse than msot employees I know).
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