While driving today, I was thinking that the Chinese have done the same thing to the US job market that Walmart did to small business. Underpricing and one-stop-shopping has made consumers and Walmart investors happy but ultimately helped lead to the demise of small town stores and the US manufacturing market.
I remember back in the 80′s when I first heard about Walmart. It sounded like such a cool concept. Cheap prices and everything made in the USA. I wonder what Sam Walton would have done if he had known that by the year 2000- besides food products, it would be almost impossible to find items made in the USA in his stores. Most are made in China. Now don’t get me wrong- you will find me in Walmart alongside the rest of the consumers that hold their noses and still shop there. It’s cheap and easy. I admit it- I’m a slave to a good bargain.
We flew back from Tampa on Frontier Airlines last week and I invested some time watching a special on Sam Walton. What an amazingly hard worker and yet this billionaire and one time richest man in the world, humbly drove his ole beater pick up truck until he could drive no more. He could have bought every Ferrari on a car lot, yet chose to stick to his old favorite. I’ll take old time values over nouveau riche flash any day!
And I have to say I applaud that ole Sam stood up to Labor. Having known people whose parents owned stores, I’ve heard the terror stories. When unions want a piece of the action and are refused, mysteriously a rash of ill fates befall the store owners- family pets slaughtered, gas lines cut, death threats- remind me again how Unions are still legal in this country?
What advise would Sam give to the American people now. He was a farm kid raised during the Depression and was not the type to roll over and play dead. His kind aren’t finger pointers- like most of our politicians seem to be today. His breed look for the silver lining and find a way to work the market with a whole new strategy. He was a businessman and entrapreneur extraordinaire. It’s too bad he died in 1992. We could use some of his sage advise now.
I imagine that he and Ron Paul would have an interesting discussion together.