Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Wal-Mart, the Global Economy and the Suicidal Billionaire

I went to Wal-Mart today. Wal-Mart is always busy, no matter what time of day you go shopping. People were hustling and bustling up and down the aisles. There were numerous workers stocking and restocking shelves and asking “Did you find everything ok?” There were “We Are Hiring” signs throughout the store. Up past the checkouts in the Service Desk area was a kiosk saying, “Apply Now.”
Money Magazine reported last month: while other stores slumped this holiday season, Wal-Mart actually increased sales by 3.4%. The reason, "Consumer psychology is very negative right now."
I was thinking about this as I was shopping. What does this mean? “Consumer psychology is very negative right now.” Negative? Meaning we will not shop at high-end stores? We won’t shop at the neighborhood grocery stores or specialty shops owned by our neighbors? Negative meaning we won’t frequent our local contractors paying living wages?

Negative, for every day consumers, means we will only pay the lowest prices for our purchases regardless of what we think about Wal-Mart’s employment practices/low wages/few benefits, overseas suppliers/poor working conditions and their detrimental impact to other small businesses.
If the economy does tank, this means Wal-Mart will continue to thrive because most of us will continue to patronize their stores. They will continue to hire, pay low wages with few benefits, import manufactured goods from slave wages shops in 3rd world countries and we will put the final stakes in the hearts of local small businesses.
If we had a crystal ball, what will we see in the future? Will we, the huddled masses, all be employees at Wal-Mart? Mom, dad and kids? Imagine, each city with one giant Super Duper Mega Wal-Mart store. The new Super Duper Mega Wal-Mart will be complete with movie theaters, bars, theme park, casino and churches. They will have a Wal-Mart school from K – 12 and a Wal-Mart College for the best students. Three bedroom ranch houses all alike, will surround the stores all with the Wal-Mart logo. Few people will need cars. There will be Wal-Mart shuttles picking up shoppers and workers to and from stores, every hour, on the hour, 24 hours a day. There will be no middle or lower class, just Wal-Mart class. Beyond the houses will be Wal-Mart Warehouses. Only one super Wal-Mart highway will run in and out of each town. The Super Wal-Mart Trucks will travel in and out of Wal-Mart Town to the Wal-Mart Country Warehouses. Airports will be available near the warehouses for the import of manufactured goods from China and farm products from South and Central America.
But don't worry. The rich, upper class and those in government will still be rich and in power. Nothing changes there. The only difference is us.
As I was getting depressed thinking about this, I read this story on CNN.com. Perhaps it isn't so great being a rich billionaire after all!

CNN Reports: -- German billionaire Adolf Merckle, one of the richest men in the world, committed suicide Monday after his business empire got into trouble in the wake of the international financial crisis, Merckle's family said Tuesday in a statement. Merckle, 74, was hit by a train in the southwestern town of Ulm, police said. His family said the economic crisis had "broken" Merckle….The state government of Baden-Wuerttemberg rejected his petition for financial assistance, and he entered bailout talks with several German banks."The financial troubles of his companies, induced by the international financial crisis and the uncertainty and powerlessness to act independently which the financial problems brought about, broke the passionate family business man, and he took his own life," his family wrote in the news release.

My advice to all of us throughout this financial crisis: "Don't Worry, Be Happy!"


Vicente Duque said...

Dolls : Dora is outselling Barbie ( not everywhere yet ! )

Dee, I want to make you smile :

The Brown Doll "Dora, the explorer" outsells "Barbie", the blonde blue eyed doll, this is happening not only in Brown Countries like Latin America, or in South Asia, but also in White European Countries and even in many American places.

The movies of Dora outsell those of Barbie. Girls prefer an adventurous girl in the tropics than a ballerina dancing ballet"

Ask Google for "Dora, the explorer" and you get almost 9 million pages.

This is taken from the most funny article in "The Atlantic" :

The End of White America ?


Racial Change -Intellectual "Divertimento" : Funny entertaining article in "The Atlantic" - Excellent Quality

The author explores many anotations of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, and other literary or "scientific" books or the early twentieth century. The characters of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s discuss impossible and idle anxieties about Racial Change and Racial Conflict ( it is not all about money or sex ).

Those anxieties and worries of the 1920s seem now utterly absurd and were nothing bu the idleness and lazyness of a very rich class without anything useful to do in lots of free time. ( like Gatsby, Daisy and friends )

But now there are other realities, and the Racial Change of America produces Cultural Changes as some States like California, New Mexico, Texas, etc .... are becoming Majority Minority.

Professor Hua Hsu that teaches at Vassar College is the author of this funny and long essay and he says :

"The Election of Barack Obama is just the most startling manifestation of a larger trend: the gradual erosion of “whiteness” as the touchstone of what it means to be American. If the end of white America is a cultural and demographic inevitability, what will the new mainstream look like—and how will white Americans fit into it? What will it mean to be white when whiteness is no longer the norm? And will a post-white America be less racially divided—or more so?"


Vicente Duque

Dee said...

Merckle reminds me of Aristotle Onassis's family.
"One of the richest in the world, yet, Aristotle's son, Alexander, who was being groomed to take over the Onassis empire, was killed in a freak plane accident. When Aristotle himself died broken-hearted in 1975, his daughter Christina inherited his riches. Her life was no fairy-tale either. Married four times, and with a history of eating disorders, drug abuse and depression, Christina died in a Buenos Aires bathtub in 1988 at the age of 37, apparently from an overdose of slimming pills."

It is clear, money does not buy happiness!

Dee said...

I collect Dora Dolls! I love them!
Your articles remind me of why I started collecting dolls. It was in the mid nineties. I was at WalMart in my suburb. At the close-out counter, there was one, lonely, dusty doll. It was marked down to $ 3. It was obvious, no one wanted to buy it. It was a Mexican Barbie doll. So beautiful. So lonely. I bought her. After that, I started collecting a couple of other Barbies and then I started my Dora Collection.

Dee said...

Billions did not provide happiness to Merckle or to Onassis.

I think family brings much more happiness than riches.

Anonymous said...

You are right, Dee! It is family, friendships and human connections that bring the most happiness in life. I'm sorry I've been out of touch. I have been spending time with my family and my boyfriend during the holidays. I will probably be pretty busy finishing my thesis during the coming semester, so I may not have as much time to comment. However, I will still drop in from time to time to say hi. Thank you so much for this blog and for all your good work (btw, I like the new rules :-) I just wanted to wish you and your loved ones a very happy New Year, Dee...

¡Feliz Año Nuevo 2009!


Dee said...

Thank you Analisa.
I have missed you very much!
Please join us when you can.
We have some very nice new members who have joined us for discussions.

Please let me know if you are interested in writing a Guest Column. (the next Guest Voz)

My last Guest Voz from the The Indigenous Xicano was very popular, highly viewed and was reprinted on other blogs as well.

If you do want to, I ask that you write it from your heart and share something about a meaningful experience related to Immigration.


FlexSF said...

The "suicide" of Adolf Merckle will be an interesting study. His death is as fascinating as Sylvia Plath. She took her life by asphyxiating in her gas oven. She decided to take her life because she was driven to despair as a result of falling in love with a narcissistic husband. Adolf Merckle, a multi billionaire, allegedly jumped in front of a moving train. It seems that he was driven to this act because he lost a couple billion dollars in the worldwide financial disaster. Was all of his self worth tied into his money? He died with over 9 billion remaining.

Dee said...

Thank you for joining our discussion.
I also find it amazing Merckle jumped in front of a train to kill himself because he lost some of his billions. Amazing.

Anonymous said...

Walmart--immigration? connection?

Dee said...

On my blog we discuss both Immigration Issues and Political Issues. The Global Economy ties in to both.

Vicente Duque said...

Misunderstanding and Incomprehension of Professor Hua Hsu of Vassar College

His article "The End of White America ?" has been strongly criticized in the Internet. Some comments on the Web are angry and consider him as an anti-White Hitler. ( Is that possible ? )

But I wan to clarify and light a candle in the darkness.

First of all Professor Hua Hsu is an artist. That is why he teaches literature at Vassar and writes on "The Atlantic". He has artistic talent, very necessary to write in such a High Quality Magazine. The Professor is not a Demographer, Statistician, Politician, Riot Policeman, Judge. Distric Attorney or Prosecutor.

He is in the flight of Poetry, Fantasy and Art.

I was extremely entertained by the article of the Professor.

"The End of White America?" -- Excellent, Great Literary Quality, Best Grades

We read these intellectual magazines for entertainment and illustration.

I knew that this was not an article of Statistics or Demographics, this was not about Politics or Racial Conflict. This was to entertain us, that is a "divertimento" to make us laugh, just amusement, More like a Mozart Divertimento than Beethoven's Appasionata.

The professor uses metaphors, "The End of White America" or "End of Whiteness" is a metaphor that means that perhaps, perhaps, many things are going to change.

The Shape of Things to Come : slightly changed or lightly different advertising, commerce, trade, schooling, perceptions of others, friendships, marriages, racial ethics, police or criminal investigation.

This does not mean that all White People are going to be gassed in a Gas Chamber a la Hitler.

I am also interested in Demography and Politics. And I know that these changes are slow, but people get scared believing that the end of the World is coming or that things are going to change overnight for the worse.

Better or Worse are subjective categories and a matter of Cultured and Civilized Discussion. Better in an Intellectual Magazine than in a street riot, with racial slurs, violence, police, etc ...


Vicente Duque

The Indigenous Xicano said...

Dee said...

"On my blog we discuss both Immigration Issues and Political Issues. The Global Economy ties in to both."

So very true. The Global Economy drives global immigration. As American workers we have a vested interest in the welfare of all workers everywhere in the world.

The Arizonian said...

Vicente said:
"Some comments on the Web are angry and consider him as an anti-White Hitler. ( Is that possible ? )"

In short, yes.
Welcome to a world where 'Hitler' is now an adjective.....

The Arizonian said...

I have despised Wal-mart for many years, for numerous reasons.

I would recommend a Frontline documentary called "Is Wal-mart good for America?"

Watch it here:

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