The Age of Wal-Mart: Inside America’s Most Powerful Company
The Age of Wal-Mart: Inside Americas Most Powerful Company
Today, Wal-Mart is the largest retailer in the U.S. and as a result the largest private employer in the country. In fact, Wal-Mart has managed to become the most powerful American company. It has raised many questions within society, which will be discussed in this paper too. First, it will be studied to what extent Wal-Mart is a global company and what kind of relationships it has with producers, particularly in China. Second, the companys effects on American communities and peoples response to Wal-Mart expansion will be analyzed. Finally, there will be a discussion about the general impact of the retailer on the USA, particularly, it will be studied whether Wal-Mart is good for the country or not.
Wal-Mart as a Global Enterprise
First of all, Wal-Mart does not only has a presence in the USA, but also in many other countries, particularly, it has opened 11,000 retail stores in more than twenty countries, including Mexico, China, Germany, Canada, and Brazil (The Age of Wal-Mart). However, the company has not achieved immediate results in all countries. For example, it had losses in Brazil and Germany. The company explains its failures by forgetting to consider local peculiarities. Therefore, after these negative situations, Wal-Mart tries to adapt its strategies to the countries where it expands. For instance, Wal-Marts managers have found out that Chinese customers prefer buying food in their stores. As a result, they have offered a wide choice of these products. Moreover, the retailer is planning to increase its presence in the global market and open new stores. One of the most attractive destinations for Wal-Mart is China, where according to the statistics of 2009, it opened thirty-nine stores. The most significant advantage of the Chinese market is its size and interest of customers. Moreover, Wal-Mart has informed about its intention to open 1000 new retail stores in China over thirty years.
Relationships of Wal-Mart with Producers in China
Apart from its significant amount of stores, Wal-Mart is famous for changing relationships with producers and retailers. Earlier retailers depended on manufactures, but Wal-Mart has changed this and has received power over suppliers. The company receives most of its goods from Chinese producers due to their low costs. Chinese manufactures can reduce prices by paying less to their workers. Therefore, it is clearly beneficial for both sides.
Effect of Wal-Mart on Communities in the United States and the Way They Responded to Wal-Marts Efforts to Expand Its Operations in This Country
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Wal-Mart produces problems for communities in the USA because opening of large supermarkets leads to closing small grocery shops and raising unemployment. In addition, the company mainly operates in small towns, so traffic is increased, which is considered to be negative by local communities. In many cases, the retailer opens its stores instead of closed factories. On the one hand, it is positive because people get jobs. However, Wal-Marts employees receive smaller salaries and benefits than factory workers. Even the companys managers are forced to wake up very early and work long hours. It is also part of the culture to save money and avoid unnecessary spending. High salaries or comfortable offices are considered a waste of money.
All these negative effects provoked protests within American communities. For example, people are strongly against Wal-Marts efforts to expand its operations in the USA. Americans believe that it will cause a further reduction of standards and jobs losses. The problem is that Wal-Mart imports its goods from other country, particularly from China, due to their smaller prices. It is good for Americans as customers, but it is very bad for them as employees because they have less work. As a result, American manufactures cannot just compete with the Chinese ones due to the necessity to pay high salaries and benefits to their workers.
Role of Wal-Mart for America
It is quite difficult to answer the question whether Wal-Mart is good for America or not. On the one hand, it causes many issues for the country. First, it makes the USA dependable on other countries, particularly China, because they can face certain economic or other problems, and Wal-Mart will have to change its operations too. Second, it is negative for the American economy to be so dependable on one company. Wal-Mart is the largest employer, so in the case of its bankruptcy, thousands of Americans will get unemployed. It may lead to significant economic issues. Second, expanding of Wal-Marts operations leads to closing grocery shops, so it means that small business is in danger. Third, America is famous for its good living standards, high salaries, and attractive benefits packages. In the future, all these can disappear due to companies focus on low prices. The problem is that companies cannot provide high standards for its employees and low prices for customers at the same time. On the other hand, Wal-Mart gives work to thousands of people, which leads to reducing unemployment in the whole country.
In conclusion, Wal-Mart demonstrates increasing sales, which allow it to open new stores worldwide. However, not all people are satisfied with this, particularly American communities, which insist on stopping the companys expansion. They believe that this can lead to further reducing of salaries, closing small grocery shops, and increasing discrimination. Therefore, it is possible to say that Wal-Mart is rather bad for America than good.