Of course Wal-Mart could pay a living wage. It won’t.

A friend of mine posted this tidy little Upworthy video. It’s worth a look but if you don’t feel like watching, the crux of its argument is that Wal-Mart could pay its workers a living wage (30 hours a week, $13.63/hr) and pass on that cost to customers by raising prices less than 2% across the board.

Here was my response (initially referring to the video title, which uses the phrase “shocking truth” in typical Upworthy style):

What is “shocking” about Walmart owner-oligarchs not wanting to give up $4.8B in labor costs per year?? I’m not shocked at all. Passing it on to the consumer via across-the-board price increases of 1-2% would be a business risk, right? They are perfectly happy keeping their employees (who are very, very likely *also* a captive customer base, thanks to these low wages) destitute, desperate, intimidated and in the government safety net. Bear in mind also this video presumes 30 hours a week, which is thisclose to fulltime status and probably would also bump up against healthcare and other employment law considerations. A living wage (which means more than $ per hour) means empowerment means choice means agitation for further improvements and why would these evil people with more money than they can spend in a dozen lifetimes ever want the rabble to rise??

Ugh, the whole chain of consequences is so nasty it makes me ill.

Another friend shared supporting article citing several independent studies and Wal-Mart reports that confirm that yes, the company is actively and intentionally engaged in wealth transfer from the public sector — and in fact that its stores and policies create and then profit from poverty. Nasty, nasty business.


About amywinns

Semi-snarky, semi-sincere, occasionally ranting, always paying attention. Feminist who can work a skirt and crack a joke. Grammar nerd who is also fun at parties. Mid-career writer/editor with 15 years’ experience in newspapers & magazines who now helps developers at a major media corporation communicate with the suits who write the checks. Pro-women, pro-family, pro-choice, pro-workingclass, pro-entrepreneur, pro-farmer. Like every other bourgeois Brooklynite, I choose local/organic/raw food — mostly vegetables — whenever possible/reasonable/affordable but I’m not a smug asshole about it. Hometown: Atlanta. Weird hobby: lindy hop. No pets, no kids, no thanks.
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