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« Reforming Forensic Science | Main | Wal-Mart Follow Up, Wherein my 12 year-old Daughter Demonstrates the Economic Way of Thinking »


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What was the reaction to your panel contribution?

Pretty much the usual: silence from most (though not all) of my faculty colleagues but various "thank yous" from the clerical and hourly staff who were in attendance or heard about it. That's how I know I'm right!

The interesting thing is that there are a few left-ish colleagues here who get it and, if perhaps grudgingly, at least understand and admit that WM helps poor folks live better. That's an encouraging sign, though they are quite the minority.

What do you have to say about Kevin Carson's criticisms of Wal-Mart (or corporations generally)?

Or, more specifically, what would you say about the claim that Wal-Mart, besides benefitting extensively from government subsidies, also pushes for a lot of government grants? (I'm reminded that Wal-Mart pressured for the adoption of those tracking chips on all products. And that setting aside the fact that it benefits heavily from eminent domain.)

Yup, Wal-Mart does all of that. And I wish it wouldn't. But even considering that, Wal-Mart does a lot more good for the world than bad. Even in a world where it got none of those benefits from the state, I think it would still exist and still do much of the good it does. As I said in my comments, it is not a paragon of virtue. Of course it's hard to find any corporation that IS.

Maybe the problem is not so much Wal-Mart and other corporations pushing for subsidies as the government being prepared to grant them. Like middle class welfare that we find objectionable, we need to change the system (the incentives) because not filling in the forms for the benefits just makes our family worse off. That was the problem with the big mortgage lenders, if they didn't chase the business they just looked like bad performers compared with the others.

I wonder when they are gonna let Walmart in New York City?


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