If Wal-Mart chief’s remarks are any indication, the giant retailer is biting the bullet and suspending its vigorous efforts to crack into New York city. And the 8 million shoppers are, for the most part, worse off.
|The unions opposition to “skimpy” wages and health benefits is understandable but their argument is not entirely convincing, if not self-serving. The McJobs at fast food chains and other retail outlets are not less likely to leave workers “below the poverty line”. As to the pressure on competitors “to reduce pay and benefits”, we have yet to see evidence. In fact, Wal-Mart’s success in Chicago points to the other direction.|
On the whole, the potential benefit of Wal-Mart’s “low prices” may well outweigh the downside to many struggling city residents with modest incomes. After all, the chain’s competitive advantages can largely be attributed to its “vast purchasing power and highly efficient distribution system” rather than squeezing wages.