Wal-Mart influence abounds
I recently learned that Wal-Mart de Mexico allegedly paid bribes and gave “donations” to local government officials throughout Mexico in order to obtain permits easily and quickly in their rush to build stores and gain market dominance in Mexico. Also, top-level Wal-Mart executives tried to hush up these actions by shutting down their own internal investigation. Bribery is a violation of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and is a criminal offense in Mexico.
A number of issues arise. First, such behavior shows how unregulated free enterprise and competition can lead to widespread corruption. Wal-Mart, with its well-known zealous, anti-union bias, has provided a devastating model contributing to the relative, downward economic slide of middle-class wages. Today, the rate of private-sector unionization is now down to less than 7 percent. Thus, working people have had their bargaining power weakened and their wages diminished, even as productivity, profits and dividends are generally up for U.S. corporations.
With the Citizens United decision, U.S. corporations can overpoweringly influence our political sphere.
Our nation has been Wal-Martized, corporatized and Fox-inated. The “success” of corporations has cost the middle class its economic position and is costing the nation its democracy.
Philip A. Deutchman