Thursday, December 01, 2005

Wal-Mart Movie 

Update Again: Kevin Drum lays out a synopsis of some of what he calls the "anti-anti-Wal-Mart" folk on the left of the spectrum. Definitely something to look at. I know the arguments from the right and none have persuaded me...perhaps delving into the views of the anti-anti-Wal-Mart crowd will give me more to chew on when those arguments are based on my own first principle values. We shall see. I'll comment later.

As an initial matter, I do think that much of this debate hinges on empirical questions on a massive scale - not the kind of debate that gets settled quickly or easily.

Update: If you're interested in reading posts by a bunch of fairly influential and thoughtful internet progressives on this topic, there's a good debate about Wal-Mart and how progressives should respond to it over at TPMCafe. Just scroll down till you start seeing the Wal-Mart posts - there's lots of them under there.

A while ago I mentioned the new documentary about Wal-Mart in a post.

Well, I rented it yesterday and watched it. It's called "Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price."

As with any documentary-with-a-cause, it's a little overbearing at times. But it's also very effective and informative. I thought I followed Wal-Mart and the anti-Wal-Mart movement fairly well, and I learned a lot from the film. It's basically a video manifesto of the anti-Wal-Mart movement.

I recommend it to anyone. Take the tone with a grain of salt, but you can't make this shit up. The figures and facts in the movie are breathtaking, even if you have to cut through some theatrics to get there. Reminded me a lot of "The Corporation" on that score.

I encourage people to go see it. Folks like me, who follow this sort of thing, will learn something. Folks who think Wal-Mart is swell will likely learn something, too. I don't think this thing will change the minds of the well-informed -- most of my friends who think Wal-Mart is great recognize its flaws but somehow (in a cost-benefit analysis that is apparently beyond me) believe it to exert a net positive influence on the world. But it might make those people think about it again...run the calculus one more time.

If it gets into the hands of folks who don't see Wal-Mart's faults, it is going to cause some trouble. It's pretty effective at getting the word out, and it's mission is clear: turn people against Wal-Mart.

Give it a look-see. It's worth a watch no matter how you feel about the smiley face.


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