"Wal-Mart's power and influence are awesome," Smith says. "By figuring out how to exploit two powerful forces that converged in the 1990s -- the rise of information technology and the explosion of the global economy -- Wal-Mart has dramatically changed the balance of power in the world of business. Retailers are now more powerful than manufacturers, and they are forcing the decision to move production offshore."
"Wal-Mart has reversed a hundred-year history that had the retailer dependent on the manufacturer," explains Nelson Lichtenstein, a professor at the University of California Santa Barbara. "Now the retailer is the center, the power, and the manufacturer becomes the serf, the vassal, the underling who has to do the bidding of the retailer. That's a new thing."
To understand the secret of Wal-Mart's success, Smith travels from the company's headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., to their global procurement center in Shenzhen, China, where several hundred employees work to keep the company's import pipeline running smoothly. Of Wal-Mart's 6,000 global suppliers, experts estimate that as many as 80 percent are based in China.
"Wal-Mart has a very close relationship with China," says Duke University Professor Gary Gereffi. "China is the largest exporter to the U.S. economy in virtually all consumer goods categories. Wal-Mart is the leading retailer in the U.S. economy in virtually all consumer goods categories. Wal-Mart and China are a joint venture."
When trade agreements were signed between the U.S. and China in the 1990s, bringing China into the World Trade Organization, American political and business leaders embraced the idea. China's 1.2 billion people were viewed as an enormous untapped market for American-made goods. The reality, experts say, is the opposite. China's exports to the U.S. have skyrocketed.
At a salary of only 50 cents an hour or $100 a month, Chinese labor is an unbeatable bargain for international business. And the Chinese government is doing everything it can to be sure the country's infrastructure supports the export business. Ten years ago Shenzhen's main port did not exist. Today it's on the verge of becoming the third busiest port in the world.
Wal-Mart estimates it imports $15 billion of Chinese goods every year and concedes that the figure could be higher -- some estimates range as high as $20 or $30 billion. Company executives are quick to point out they have always scoured the globe for low cost suppliers to benefit the American consumer.
A war is being fought on our soil right now and it appears we are too stupid to even know it. What future do we leave for our children if the only job they can find is minimum wage at Wal-Mart? And the sad part to me is we buy these goods causing a major corporate takeover. What take over you ask? China corporately taking over our country. How much could we possibly owe?
China = $350 billion"That’s leaves a little over $4 trillion in public hands. The biggest chunk (about 25 percent of the $8.5 trillion total) is held by foreign governments. Japan tops the list (with $644 billion), followed by China ($350 billion), United Kingdom ($239 billion) and oil exporting countries ($100 billion)."Source: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17424874/
Funny we borrow money from China for tax rebates to ourselves, to fund a war (wow borrow from a communist country so that we can create a democracy) and to buy oil. They own us people and they never had to fire a shot.
Then we have this guy, the jobless. Not even able to work at Wal-Mart. From the Department of Labor:
Nonfarm payroll employment declined sharply in December, and the unemployment rate rose from 6.8 to 7.2 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. Payroll employment fell by 524,000 over the month and by 1.9 million over the last 4 months of 2008. In December, job losses were large and widespread across most major industry sectors. Unemployment (Household Survey Data) In December, the number of unemployed persons increased by 632,000 to 11.1 mil-lion and the unemployment rate rose to 7.2 percent. Since the start of the reces-sion in December 2007, the number of unemployed persons has grown by 3.6 million, and the unemployment rate has risen by 2.3 percentage points. (See table A-1.) The unemployment rates for adult men (7.2 percent), adult women (5.9 percent), and whites (6.6 percent) increased in December. The jobless rates for teenagers (20.8 percent), blacks (11.9 percent), and Hispanics (9.2 percent) were little changed over the month. The unemployment rate for Asians was 5.1 percent in Decem-ber, not seasonally adjusted. (See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.) Among the unemployed, the number of job losers and persons who completed tempo-rary jobs rose by 315,000 to 6.5 million in December. Over the past 12 months, the size of this group has increased by 2.7 million. (See table A-8.) The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) rose to 2.6 million in December and was up by 1.3 million in 2008. (See table A-9.)
20.8% for teenagers? These are the same teenagers increasing our drug rates our pregnancy rates and our drop out rates right? Why do you think the rate is rising in adults? Because they never work! They sit on their computers in mommy and daddys homes playing World of Warcraft and complaining that they can't find work. Well no shit you Cheeto and Mountain Dew filled slobs get off your asses and do something. I own a business for well over a year now and one thing I have learned is that noone knows how to look for a job anymore. They come in dressed in the same ratty clothing as they wore the day before, normally followed by their girlfriends who are either on meth or just need a good meal, ask if there is work (mind you no introdusction, no handshake, and no resume) then get pissy when you tell them no. Well at least mom is now appeased so they can go back to screwing on her couch and playing video games all night (day must be a better time to sleep). Mind you don't hire these people, they will no show many times then normally get very angry when they get fired and blame you. I speak from going through it.
So then lets go to the cassino. Fun for all right?
According to the 2006 Gross Annual Wager Report, Americans lost nearly $91 billion on all forms of gambling combined.4 The National Gambling Impact Study Commission (NGISC) noted that Americans spend more on gambling than on recorded music, theme parks, video games, spectator sports and movie tickets combined.5 Americans lost $32.4 billion gambling in commercial (non-Indian) casinos alone (2006).6
But the question remains, how much money do Americans gamble (losses and wins combined)? Consider that the majority of money taken by casinos comes from slot machines. An average for payout on slots is 90 cents on every dollar (or 90 percent return).7 If casino revenues ($91 billion) are considered representative of the gambling trade's gross revenue (about 10 percent of all money wagered), then we can estimate that Americans likely spent close to $910 billion total on all forms of gambling in 2006. Not all forms of gambling return 90 percent, but we can use this for a ballpark estimate. (Consider what Americans spent on some durable and consumable products by comparing the top five Fortune 500 Companies' revenue for 2006: #1 Exxon/Mobile = $339.9B; #2 Wal-Mart Stores = $315.7B; #3 General Motors = $192.6B; #4 Chevron = $189.4B; #5 Ford Motor = $177.2B.)8
Addicted gamblers, unfortunately, account for the lion's share of gambling profits. Around 50-60 percent of the adult population can be classified as light bettors—gamble some, without apparent issue, while another 33 percent or so don't gamble. It's the remaining 10 percent that represents the heavy, frequent bettors who are likely addicted and account for approximately 61 percent of all casino revenues in table and slot gambling.9 Among lottery gamblers, the top 10 percent of heavy players account for 65 percent of all lottery revenues.10
We spend away our retirement packages, college funds, rent money whatever change is in the seat of our cars all on the dream of striking it big without doing a damn thing for it. How do I know that casinos are making a lot of money? Visit a reservation people and just count the cars. Go inside and see how many there haven't payed an actual bill in months. Just a guess but I would bet that at least half the people in them have a disconnect notice somewhere in their homes. It goes to the lottery too. Once again from my experience as a business owner, every morning in the gas station I see someone that has not payed their bill to me in months yet in their hand is a lottery ticket, a pack of smokes and a cup of coffee. Why do you think that is?
I'm just going to give you this tear jerking story without my take. Make up your own mind on this situation. From NPR:
All Things Considered, July 17, 2008 · A generation ago, the livelihood of Gloria Nunez's family was built on cars.
Her father worked at General Motors for 45 years before retiring. Her mother taught driver's education. Nunez and her six siblings grew up middle class.
Things have changed considerably for this Ohio family.
Nunez's van broke down last fall. Now, her 19-year-old daughter has no reliable transportation out of their subsidized housing complex in Fostoria, 40 miles south of Toledo, to look for a job.
Nunez and most of her siblings and their spouses are unemployed and rely on government assistance and food stamps. Some have part-time jobs, but working is made more difficult with no car or public transportation.
Low-income families in Ohio say they are particularly hard-hit by the changes in the economy, according to a new poll conducted by NPR, The Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard School of Public Health. Two-thirds of lower-income respondents, or 66 percent, say paying for gas is a serious problem because of recent changes in the economy. Nearly half of low-income Ohioans, or 47 percent, say that getting a well-paying job or a raise in pay is also major problem.
'I Just Can't Get A Job'
Nunez, 40, has never worked and has no high school degree. She says a car accident 17 years ago left her depressed and disabled, incapable of getting a job. Instead, she and her daughter, Angelica Hernandez, survive on a $637 Social Security check and $102 in food stamps.
Hernandez received her high school diploma and has had several jobs in recent years. But now, because fewer restaurants and stores are hiring, she says she finds it hard to find a job. Even if she could, she says it's particularly hard to imagine how she'll keep it. She says she needs someone to give her a lift just to get to an interview. And with gas prices so high, she's not sure she could afford to pay someone to drive her to work every day.
People tell Nunez her daughter could get more money in public assistance if she had a child.
"A lot of people have told me, 'Why don't your daughter have a kid?'"
They both reject that as a plan.
"I'm trying to get a job," Hernandez says. "I just can't get a job."
Hernandez says she's trying to get training to be a nurse's assistant, but without her own set of wheels or enough money to pay others for gas, it hasn't been easy.
'What's Going To Happen To Us?'
Most of their extended family lives in the same townhouse complex. The only employer within walking distance is a ThyssenKrupp factory that makes diesel engine parts. That facility, which employs 400 people, is shutting down and moving to Illinois next year.
The only one with a car is Irma Hernandez, Nunez's mother. Hernandez says that with a teenage son still at home, the cost of feeding him and sending him to school is rising, and she can no longer pay for the car.
She's now two car payments behind.
"I'm about to lose my car," she says on her way to pick up one of her daughters to take her to Toledo. "So then what's going to happen to us?"
So Nunez and her daughter are mostly stuck at home.
The rising cost of food means their money gets them about a third fewer bags of groceries — $100 used to buy about 12 bags of groceries, but now it's more like seven or eight. So they cut back on expensive items like meat, and they don't buy extras like ice cream anymore. Instead, they eat a lot of starches like potatoes and noodles.
One of the saddest parts to me is we love to exploit each other and ourselves for the fifteen minutes of fame. This is my damn generation and it pisses me off! Do we really have this low self esteem? The three girls on this cover are beautiful yet they just let some child porn pervert make them whores while he fattens his own pockets and for what? So they could be in the movie. Insanity I tell you. Parents I am saying you have failed! Miserably!
So the reason I write this is because this week I had my parenting challenged. People believe that heavy metal concerts and shooting ranges are no place for my 8 year old son. Here is a tad from my life story. I went to church every Sunday as a child. My parents took great interest in me trying to teach me right from wrong. I still ran away from home at the age of 16 becoming one of these problems or even a few of them as I smoked and snorted my problems away. Apparently there needs to be a change. Apparently we need to start putting knots on the heads of village idiots. Society has grown to accept this tasteless behavior and just allow it to happen. People abuse the system while others that may need help get nothing. When my ex wife was pregnant with our child the hospital bills were rolling in. We both were employed full time yet the money still wasn't enough. We went for help and were turned away while people driving new cars get Vision cards, the lazy and stupid collect disability, and our taxes pay for AA NA GA SA and whatever other addiction they can make a support group for. Enough is enough people maybe the old system doesn't work. Apparently it doesn't because look at our economy. Quit screaming and crying for Obama to save us all, it aint gonna happen. To be honest the only answer is to get up off the couch, turn off the PS3 and change the world. Otherwise we will be a nation of whores working for 50 cents an hour and speaking Chinease. At least it's hard to get fat on rice!