Wal-Mart Hatred is a luxury good

I just saved $100 by getting my eye exam done at Wal-Mart instead of the neighborhood optometrist. Wal-Mart hatred is for rich people.

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Whatcha gonna do with your perscription?

For years now I've been getting glasses on the internet. I get the rimless variety, so if the glasses don't line up on my face exactly has I had hoped, well, who cares?

Hadn't checked prices at Wal-Mart, however.

The goods are manufactured

The goods are manufactured with the same shameless practices, in the same tireless sweatshops, in the same godforsaken countries for the same consumer market. Hating Wal-Mart is for folks who can afford to purchase the same goods at a serious markup.

I figure that since I am subsidizing the security, transportation and healthcare of Wal-Mart; I might as well shop at their establishment and reap what little benefits I can. After all, i'm not some hipster douche that can afford to throw away my imperial fun-bucks at the GAP.

Low cost rules, low wage is a local problem

Kind of amazing that things haven't really changed in 100 years, we just exploit labor in 3rd world countries versus our own. Same crap, different day. All of the big names are guilty of it: Nike, Apple, etc.

Exploitation of cheap labor is the mantra of globalism. It is sad and yet pervasive. My own company buys cheap Chinese manufactured aluminum products. Just an order of magnitude cheaper then the US manufactured alternative. The market makes me do it to stay profitable. So I am the evil exploiter. What choice do I really have? Exploitation of labor is a local problem and it must be solved locally or the market will beat a path to their door.

I really don't have a solution, other then local action. Global wage arbitrage is entrenched. Lowest wage wins. Highest productivity wins. Most goods for the least price wins. That drives labor costs way down. Thus, buy from sweat shops in 3rd world nations. It is a pandemic.

Missing the real issue

Can I get ugg boots at Walmart?

Globalism gives "exploited" workers opportunities they wouldn't

otherwise have.

Just as our own young women who worked in the factories of Lowell and elsewhere during the early industrial revolution saw such "exploitation" as an opportunity to escape from even more menial subsistence if they remained on the farms from which they came. It is only from our perspective that they appeared to be exploited compared to the salaries paid today. One must keep in mind the context of their own time and place.

Regarding the Nike/Apple workers they choose to work in those factories for eleven cents a day or whatever because that is more than they make if they stay in the rice paddies where they work even longer hours for less. The result for our own poor is that they can find less expensive shoes or sneakers or clothes as long as cheap imports are available to them. In time the standard of living of all will continue to improve all over the globe.

Unfortunately our own politicians fail to understand the laws of the marketplace and remain ignorant of Austrian economics. They resort to mandates, compulsory edicts, fiat currencies, interventions which cause still higher prices, perpetuate ignorance, debased currency, unemployment, uncertainty, bankruptcy, foreclosures and malinvestments.

Look our for yourself and those you love and care about. Get out of the fiat paper currencies and into the commodities which will maintain your purchasing power such as gold and silver. The latter has been manipulated and held down so stands to gain even more in the next few years.

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There's nothing shameless, or

There's nothing shameless, or particularly wrong about comparative advantage working its magic. Exploitation is a very relative term these days. If you offer Indonesian workers a voluntary choice to work at $2 an hour in a fairly clean factory and they decide it's okay because they're kind of, uh, tired of picking through the city garbage dump for scraps to sell, I'd say you're helping them dramatically instead of exploiting them.

The market is allocating your, and others resources more efficiently, reducing waste, and making things easier for almost everyone directly or indirectly. Because this process is not clearly visible, or immediately apparent, hipsters start to cry.

Agreed. That only took three

Agreed. That only took three days for somebody to point out. Where have all the libertarians gone?

No, it is shameless. Sure,

No, it is shameless. Sure, the FoxConn factory may look nice and even really modern compared to rural China where most the workers come from, but it is anything but perfect and anything but the product of pure market force. For example; the relatively new suicide nets that got installed at the worker dormitories at said factory, I suppose thats just the market response in your expert analysis. No, this is the reaction of absolutist management that has the tacit approval of the government to abuse the citizenry for maximum profit.

Is it a voluntary choice to work at a factory when the grinding poverty that keeps you in the garbage dump is generated by a government that steals everything it can to make sure that business gets every discount it can? The free-market is not providing the security for cargo ships full of consumer goods that are kept inexpensive by cheap labor, free police protection, road subsidies, middle eastern petro-fascism and fiat currency manipulation at home and abroad.

Laissez-faire is not alive and well in the ipod mills of the east China seaboard. Are resources being allocated in a more efficient means than other non-competitive top down management models (ie. the USSR)?... Yes, but that is hardly reason to praise the slave owner who merely whips less frequently. Defend the free-market, but do not defend the current neo-mercantilist horse shit and call me a hipster for pointing out the flaws of the status quo.

Defending the current neo-mercantilist system is about as libertarian as Glenn Beck.

anything but the product of

anything but the product of pure market force

Nothing anywhere is the product of a pure market force. Shall we embargo the whole world - including the US itself?

In fact libertarians have long tended to support lifting embargos and sanctions against countries like Castro's Cuba and Saddam's Iraq. Especially the slave state of Castro's Cuba. Google cuba embargo libertarian and you will find that virtually without exception, libertarians support and have long supported lifting the embargo.

Libertarians tend to think that embargos and sanctions hurt the people in the target countries more than help. When the target countries are socialist hell holes like Castro's Cuba and Saddam's Iraq, the left agrees with the libertarians that sanctions and embargoes hurt the people. Listen to any leftist tell you about the effects of the American embargo on Cuba. He'll be sure to tell you that Castro's Cuba is suffering economic hardship not because Castro has enslaved the people, but because of the American embargo. Listen to any leftist tell you about the sanctions against Saddam's Iraq and he'll repeat the familiar claim that the sanctions killed half a million Iraqi children. Leftists allow themselves to understand that sanctions and embargoes hurt the people, they allow themselves to understand that international trade with impoverished countries will help the people in those countries - as I said leftists allow themselves to understand this, whenever it is convenient for them to understand it. Specifically, they do it when the target of the sanction, of the embargo, is a socialist hell hole.

But if a country begins, as China has done, to turn its back on socialism, begins to liberalize, begins to introduce economic freedom, however limited, within its borders, leftists conveniently stop understanding that which they understood perfectly in the case of socialist hell holes like the slave state of Castro's Cuba. Leftists have long advocated opening trade with socialist hell holes, but have consistently, going on about "exploitation of cheap labor" and "sweatshops", attacked trade with any impoverished country which they deemed insufficiently socialist. Thus we have the spectacle of the same left attacking the economic embargo of Castro's Cuba while attacking trade with China - now that China has passed the threshold and is no longer considered socialist enough.

The standard left wing rhetoric is about "exploitation of cheap labor", about "sweatshops", and has nothing to do with any failure to be laissez-faire. Leftists hate laissez-faire, after all. When you repeat the left wing litany about "exploitation", "cheap labor", "sweatshops", and the like, you are repeating left wing complaints against capitalism, which include laissez-faire.

It is that familiar anti-capitalist rhetoric to which "Cleantalk" was responding. In response, you moved the goalposts, bringing up suicide nets and pointing out that China is "pure market", not "free market", not "laissez faire". These are new complaints, added to the original complaints about "sweatshops".

But these new arguments don't work either, because libertarians do not require that people be completely free before it is ethical to trade with them. If they required that they would not advocate ending the embargo of Cuba, which they have long done. In fact if they required that they would advocate boycotting everything, including every American business, because all business everywhere in the world, including everywhere inside the US, operates in an environment which is only partially economically free. The US is no "pure market", no "laissez faire".

Nothing anywhere is the

Nothing anywhere is the product of a pure market force.

So long as thievery and murder is morally legitimized for consumption, you are correct.

Shall we embargo the whole world - including the US itself?

Policy, regulation, legislation and taxation are the forces of anti-capitalist and anti-market types, ditto with embargos.

That is the point, I will not applaud and cheerlead for the home team neoliberal mercantilists just because they are "better than the other guy". My attack is not against neoliberalism and mercantilism because of the type of policy it advocates, but because it advocates policy.

The standard left wing rhetoric is about "exploitation of cheap labor", about "sweatshops", and has nothing to do with any failure to be laissez-faire.

What do you mean by left-wing? If we are speaking about communist and socialist adherents of statism, then I agree.

Leftists hate laissez-faire.

Hmm, I consider myself a left-libertarian that has gone all anarchist as of late. Funny thing, I love laissez-faire.

When you repeat the left wing litany about "exploitation", "cheap labor", "sweatshops", and the like, you are repeating left wing complaints against capitalism, which include laissez-faire.

I believe these leftists have defined the problems accurately. Unfortunately ALL their solutions are based on economic and historic ignorance.

Seems these folk grind their marxist ax every night with seething hatred for success outside of government and social hierarchy are obviously misidentifying the root causes of exploitation. To me, this appears to be done for the rather obvious purpose of creating a social current that would seek to replace the management system du-jour with one that would give the nomenklatura greater importance while debasing the power of their perceived enemies.

I find their concerns as they pertain to the welfare of employees to be well founded, but their proposed fix would create a situation that would be socially and economically devastating to the employees they pretend to defend. The free-market is the only responsible alternative.

In response, you moved the goalposts, bringing up suicide nets and pointing out that China is "pure market", not "free market", not "laissez faire". These are new complaints, added to the original complaints about "sweatshops".

So elaborating on my points that the current system is not capitalist by definition, this is somehow moving the goal posts? Are we playing a game of soccer? These are complaints that enumerate the offenses that lead me to believe that these factories are indeed "sweatshops" of a very non-libertarian variety, and that without state intervention they would not have an incentive to operate their business in such a top-down and abusive control hierarchy. As my first comment stated, I dislike the sweatshops but I wouldn't trade them for collectivism, nor would I be willing to limit my economic dealings to libertarian ZAP adherents.

The US is no "pure market", no "laissez faire".

True. Wouldn't it be cool if it was though?

You started by complaining

You started by complaining about sweatshops. What's a sweatshop? It's a workplace that requires hard work, long hours, has poor conditions, gives the worker low pay - basically it's the extreme version of a crap job. That's what a sweatshop is - it's a really, really crappy job, a job so crappy that Americans finding out about them can easily be shocked, because it's so much worse than the crappiest job they have ever had.

But there's nothing immoral, nothing shameful about a crap job. And Cleantalk pointed that out.

Your response was to say that people are in the sweatshops of government theft and that the employees are slaves. And, of course, theft and slavery are immoral and shameful.

But you didn't start by complaining about theft and slavery. You started by complaining about sweatshops - about crap jobs.

That's like bitching about the ratty apartment that you're living in, when what you're actually pissed about is that your unfaithful wife divorced you and took your house and all your money and is forcing you to pay child support, which leaves you with not enough left to rent anything better than this ratty apartment. Your real antagonist, the real villain of the piece, is your ex-wife.

There's nothing immoral, nothing shameful about somebody renting out ratty apartments. You write:

Is it a voluntary choice to work at a factory when the grinding poverty that keeps you in the garbage dump is generated by a government that steals everything it can to make sure that business gets every discount it can?

That's like saying:

Is it a voluntary choice to live in a ratty apartment when the grinding poverty that keeps you there is generated by your ex-wife taking everything and forcing you to pay child support?

To which I can answer: no, it's not a voluntary choice, but the person taking away your choices is not the landlord, it's your ex-wife. Complaining about the ratty apartment is avoiding the real villain, which is your ex-wife.

Now it could be that somebody decides to go into business offering ratty apartments to divorced men who have been screwed over by their ex-wives. And he might do so well at this that he gets rich off it. But he's not the villain. It's the ex-wives that are the villains.

Or suppose that the sweatshop owners are in cahoots with the government. But it's still confused and misleading to complain about sweatshops. Compare: suppose the landlord of the ratty apartments is actually in cahoots with the ex-wives, offering them kickbacks for divorcing their husbands. Even then, the problem isn't the ratty apartment (compare: the problem isn't the sweatshop). The problem is the divorce settlement which is screwing over the ex-husband.

Nothing shameful about a crap

Nothing shameful about a crap job? At this point I want to try and avoid being judgmental, as I am having trouble understanding how ANYBODY but the most privileged of persons could say that. I want to feel that no job carries with it shame, but this is not true. People sob over their limited choices (thank you, government) as to what they can do to generate heat, food and clothing for their children.

Nothing shameful about a crap job? Nothing shameful about work conditions? This line of thinking is so out of alignment with what I have seen (and done) that it makes me believe it can only stem from a privileged and sheltered upbringing that I could only imagine. Remember your comparative advantage though, your upbring need not be "Leave it to Beaver" for it to seem that way to me.

But you didn't start by complaining about theft and slavery. You started by complaining about sweatshops - about crap jobs.

So I mention the symptom without discussing what I hope everybody here already understands is the disease... I'm so sorry, perhaps we can make more competitive soccer analogies while we nitpick. You know, that is like complaining about shitty apartments! on a website dedicated to the bitching of divorced men. We already know what the wife did, demanding that (or is it complaining?) we reiterate our political beliefs every time we make a statement is nitpicking. You have gleaned from all of my writings that I am indeed opposed to the government, right?

Or suppose that the sweatshop owners are in cahoots with the government...

No need to suppose, that fact is well documented. It is not confusing or misleading to attack the readily visible manifestations of statism that interfere with our lives on a daily basis.

The problem isn't the sweatshop? Missing the forest for the trees on this one my friend. The divorced man has a litany of problems; the greatest of which is the settlement, the least of which is not his place of employment and residence.

China is no pure market either

I am a white ex-pat and I've worked in export manufacturing in China for 15 years. Hong Kong is a pure market becoming less so as the political system slowly degenerates into cronyism as the British influence fades over time. Taiwan is less so than Hong Kong but more so than China. I don't know what the hell China is but the level of state intervention in the economy is massive.

I work very closely with one factory who are now down to 600 workers. They could use a lot more but the workers keep quitting because the orders are not enough, nor the profit margin high enough so that the factory will arrange Saturday overtime. The government is now enforcing overtime pay for Saturday, which is now double pay, but US companies won't allow margins to make that commercially viable. So Monday to Friday the workers only get 2 hours overtime and don't get 10 on Saturday like before when it was normal pay rates. So they quit and look for factories that can give them 10 hours on Saturday, whether or not those factories obey the law on double pay or not.

As others have posted, working 60 hours a week inside a factory kicks the ass of having to work 75 hours a week on the farm, in the burning summer sun, with no indoor plumbing, central heating, electricity (TV, internet) or the other benefits of urban living. Peasant farmers have no cash for most of the year until they sell their animals. Factory workers have cash all year round. Judging Foxconn through the prism of relatively opulent Western life styles is an exercise in stupidity. By the way, death by suicide in Foxconn is less than the national average. Working for Foxconn means you are less likely to commit suicide.

My wife's factory gives the West hope. They had one girl in the management team who, months after she left, had her lawyer contact them looking for the factory to pay her salary for 12 months. Apparently, staff have 2 years to claim unpaid wages and if the company didn't make them sign a pay slip, that's all they need to get the money. As she was in management, she didn't sign for her pay like the production staff. Company had no choice but to pay her off. Sound like a pure market to you?

China is not the threat that it is made out to be (like Japan in the 80s). The new labour law implemented a few years ago is the best thing that could have happened from a foreigner's perspective which just goes to show, politicians are everywhere equally stupid. Workers are now suing their employers and forcing better conditions for themselves because they can due to a labour shortage and labour law much more friendly the worker than in the USA. Low volume orders of specialised equipment is now cheaper to produce in America.

Thanks rabidly nationalist Chinese politicians for weakening your country's competitive advantage and giving us lazy but creative Westerners a chance to compete.