“Consumption is the sole end and purpose of all production; and the interest of the producer ought to be attended to only so far as it may be necessary for promoting that of the consumer…” Adam Smith. Wal-Mart is a producer who has the sole purpose of promoting consumption of the consumer. Wal-Mart and its quest for capital improvement are playing a major and vital role in the evolution of economic life. Wal-Mart brings positive change to towns in the U.S.
They increase competition between retailers, stimulating the economy, and they also bring more capital and tax revenue to at town, some of which desperately need a positive change. “I think it’s just the natural evolution of growth,” says Cynthia Lin, a spokeswoman for Wal-Mat in California. Wal-Mart’s expansion and growth, like that of many other large retailers such as K-Mart, Buy Mart and Fred Meyer, is part of a bigger picture involving the evolution of the economy and the way businesses conduct themselves.
Evolution, defined as the gradual process in which something changes into a different and unusually more complex or better form, is thoroughly distributed in all aspects of life. From biological, social, cultural, to economic, it can’t be denied that there are evolutionary processes taking place constantly. But it would be impossible to take a small piece of time out of our history, study it, and then conclude what is exactly evolving. The evolution processes take place simultaneously and can only be seen from the larger picture. That is why it is necessary to take a collective look at our history, from one point in time until another, to effectively see the process of evolution work.
The industrial revolution began with one or two ideas for a better means of mass-production, and it became the driving force that turned the manufacturing world into what it is today. It was just 1 turning point of the evolution that took place in the 20th century (still affecting and changing lives today). Cars, houses, appliances and life’s everyday activities became more affordable and convenient for the average person. If you look at the pattern of the human race for as far back as possible, the general goal has been to increase the quality of life.
Whatever it might be; health and medicine, living conditions, or food, people have always tried to improve it. Wal-Mart is simply another attempt at improving life by providing a large range of goods at lower costs than competing retailers. In turn, this produces competition between these retailers leading to improved selection and quality of product and goods, ultimately bringing the quality of life to a higher standing. This individual process and many others are all part of the everyday evolution of life. Many advise against the coming of a Wal-Mart to their town, arguing that it will only bring negative consequences to the economy, but most of their pleas to stop Wal-Mart are thoughtless.
On the contrary, Wal-Mart is a positive force sweeping through the United States generating town growth, new jobs, customer traffic and increased tax revenues. Wal-Mart is great for the economy in that it brings competition to other competitors and it drives out the weak businesses that were only hindering the growth of their local economy. Wal-Mart is an effective catalyst for change. Its expansion leads other business competitors to retool their own operations and become more competitive, thus increasing and feeding the economy.
Some of these anti-Wal-Mart communities have led to the denial of building permits for Wal-Mart in their towns, ultimately leading them to move somewhere else. Stopping a Wal-Mart from entering your town is a poor decision. The Wal-Mart that is driven away will most likely move-in somewhere close by. National studies show that hosting a Wal-Mart is much more beneficial for towns than being in the vicinity of one. The store would compete with other national chains in the area, having a negligible impact on locally owned downtown businesses. Despite some of these communities’ vain efforts to stop them, Wal-Mart has been expanding rapidly over the last decade. However, some retailers are using Wal-Mart’s arrival as an impetus to improve their business and become more competitive.
These retailers are the ones that will have a better chance of survival. Some have even come to the realization that they, not Wal-Mart, might be the problem. Retailers facing the hand of Wal-Mart need to revitalize themselves and figure out new ways to compete and stay afloat. Finding a product niche is one way to keep business flowing. (By getting rid of lower-priced selections and focusing on premium, higher quality products) Wal-Mart is a super discount retail store.
Their lower prices are offset with their inventory of lower quality products. One Portland, Oregon storeowner, Pete Jubitz, used some of these tactics to stay alive after a Wal-Mart moved within miles of his shop. “People came to Hood River to buy at Wal-Mart and often couldn’t find what they needed there, so they came downtown to shop,” Jubitz said. “ I don’t think we’ve lost any businesses except for a small drugstore that was on its way out anyway because a Payless moved in at the same time as Wal-Mart.” The city of Grants Pass, Oregon had a similar situation with an arrival of a Wal-Mart in 1992.
“Today the downtown corridor consists of specialty and antique shops,” says Barton Brierley, and associate planner for Grants Pass. “Wal-Mart helped ensure a change in the character of downtown,” he said. Laura Richardson who is a retail analyst with Pacific Crest Securities is all for a competitive change involving smaller retailers. “It’s a big store. It carries a broad selection. There’s no depth,” Richardson said.
“That’s where the local shops can compete. They need to figure out what Wal-Mart doesn’t do, be flexible and do it.” The expansion of Wal-Mart throughout the U.S. is a positive change for towns, cities and the economy. It brings prosperity, healthy competition and it is part of the inevitable evolution that sweeps through the country on a daily basis. Wal-Mart should be greeted with open arms and with a positive outlook for the future.