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Wal-Mart

Don't shop there.


As the unionized General Motors was big enough to set the pattern for the employment of nonprofessional Americans in the three decades following World War II, Wal-Mart is now so big it is setting the pattern today. Each created a distinct national buying public for its goods that was far larger than its immediate work force: in GM's case, workers who could afford to buy new cars; in Wal-Mart's, workers who could afford to shop nowhere except Wal-Mart. With Wal-Mart's rise, the same traditional values that underpinned Sam Walton's cheating and threatening of his workers -- contempt for Yankee laws and regulations, and a preference for the authoritarian, low-wage labor system of the South -- have become more the norm than the exception in America's economic life.


 
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