Wal-Mart (and Woolworths, Coles, etc…): The High Cost of Low Prices

I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country… corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed. – U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, Nov. 21, 1864 (letter to Col. William F. Elkins)

We want to reward companies that are ‘going green’, right? At the same time, are we really so gullible as to believe we can simply shop our way out of environmental collapse by buying slightly less damaging products? So what are we to do? Well, a good place to start of course is to try to provide for as much of our own needs as possible, right in our own yard. Failing that, from people in our own neighbourhood, and then town, locality, etc. For items we must buy, we’d do well to educate ourselves on the consequences of different business models, and take a principled, philosophical approach to our spending. For example, we’re concerned that China is now building two new coal-fired power plants a week, and are thought to have now topped the U.S. in emissions – but, who is financing it?

For Australians, check out the following short clip before finding the answer to my question via the full length documentary on Wal-Mart below that. (To let the cat out of the bag, more than 70% of goods on Wal-Mart’s shelves are either made in China, or contain parts that were.)

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The Beast File: Woolies and Coles
Duration: 3 minutes

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Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Prices
Duration: 98 minutes
Part I

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Part II

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Part III

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Part IV

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Part V

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Part VI

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Part VII

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Part VIII

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Part IX

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Part X

 

Further Reading: