The United States of Wal-Mart [NOOK Book]


An irreverent, hard-hitting examination of the world's largest-and most reviled-corporation, which reveals that while Wal-Mart's dominance may be providing consumers with cheap goods and plentiful jobs, it may also be breeding a culture of discontent.

It employs one of every 115 American workers. If it were a nation-state, it would be one of the world's top twenty ...
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The United States of Wal-Mart

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An irreverent, hard-hitting examination of the world's largest-and most reviled-corporation, which reveals that while Wal-Mart's dominance may be providing consumers with cheap goods and plentiful jobs, it may also be breeding a culture of discontent.

It employs one of every 115 American workers. If it were a nation-state, it would be one of the world's top twenty economies. With yearly sales of nearly $260 billion and an average way of $8 an hour, Wal-Mart represents an unprecedented-and perhaps unstoppable-force in capitalism. And there have been few corporations that have evoked the same levels of reverence and ire.

The United States of Wal-Mart is a hard-hitting examination of how Sam Walton's empire has infiltrated not just the geography of America but also its consciousness. Peeling away layers of propaganda and politics, investigative journalist John Dicker reveals an American (and, increasingly, a global) story that has no clear-cut villains or heroes-one that could be the confused, complicated story of America itself.

Pitched battles between economic progress and quality of life, between the preservation of regional identity and national homogeneity, and between low prices and the dignity of the American worker are beginning to coalesce into an all-out war to define our modern era. And, Dicker argues, Wal-Mart is winning. Revealing that the company's business practices have been shaping American culture, including the nation's social, political, and industrial policy, The United States of Wal-Mart provides fresh insight into a controversy that isn't going away.


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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Wal-Mart is huge and growing. Its sales are $260 billion a year. In fact, if the Sam Walton's empire were a country, it would be one of the world's top 20 economies. John Dicker's The United States of Wal-Mart is a lively, irreverent examination of the world's largest and most reviled corporation. Using striking examples, he describes how the retailer's "cheap goods and cheap jobs" policies have made it an unstoppable force in the American marketplace.
The New York Times Book Review
A nuanced and bracing portrait of the largest retailer in the world.
The Boston Globe
[Dicker] offers snappy social criticism with the soul of stand-up comedy.
Publishers Weekly
Although it's getting too big to be a microcosm, Wal-Mart is a fair representation of many of the most troubling aspects of the American economy, according to this lively and insightful profile of the big-box retail leviathan. Former Colorado Springs Independent staff writer Dicker admirably sums up the conventional complaints against Wal-Mart, detailing poverty-level wages, skimpy benefits, scorched-earth antiunion policies, shuttered smalltown Main Streets, suburban sprawl abetment and rampant outsourcing. Behind the facade of "corn-pone populism" fostered by folksy but steely founder Sam Walton, Dicker asserts, Wal-Mart has become a "global despot." Dicker's analysis is unsparing but balanced. He sympathizes (and sometimes strategizes) with Wal-Mart opponents, but also chides them for ignoring the appeal of the company's cheap, convenient offerings to cash-strapped customers and underserved communities. And Wal-Mart's sins, he argues, are America's; the company merely caters to the national religion of consumer entitlement that assumes shoppers have no interests in common with workers and puts low prices ahead of any social consequences. Aside from some pointless and tiresome lapses into prison-chic posturing ("[w]e're all Wal-Mart's bitches"), Dicker conveys a wealth of information in a lucid and light-handed style. (June) FYI: For the company line, check out this month's The Wal-Mart Way: The Inside Story of the World's Largest Company by Don Soderquist, who was vice chair and COO from 1988 to 1999 (Nelson Business, $24.99 256p ISBN 0-7852-6119-2). Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101143445
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 6/16/2005
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 256
  • File size: 414 KB

Meet the Author

John Dicker is a journalist whose work has appeared in The Nation, Salon, and the Colorado Springs Independent, among other publications.

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Table of Contents

Introduction : the United States of Wal-Mart 1
1 Size matters (now more than ever) 9
2 "Most versatile boy" : how Sam Walton became an ethos 33
3 The growth machine 54
4 Wal-Marts behaving badly, I 79
5 Wal-Marts behaving badly, II 90
6 Proceeds from the sale of this item help move jobs to Guangdong! : Wal-Mart goes global 113
7 Spin city 131
8 It's Wal-Mart world after all 142
9 Taming the beast 160
10 Race, class, and cul-de-sac radicals : saying no to Wal-Mart 178
11 Land of the white, blue, and you 206
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 21, 2012

    A worthy read for anyone who's even dreaming of Wal-Mart shopping

    I first shopped at a Wal-Mart south of Moore, Okla., in 1983. I had just been assigned to Tinker Air Force Base near Oklahoma City. That store must have been one of the handful of original Wal-Marts. In any case, the retail giant (as the author of this fine book makes clear) has killed untold numbers of downtowns across the U.S. And even independent, locally owned and operated groceries like Agosti's in Hometown, Pa.have shutdown soon after a Wal-Mart Supercenter opened nearby. So, before you visit a Supercenter, give this book a read and you wil lhave second thoughts.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2005

    Economics for Amateurs

    There are a lot of things to dislike about Wal-Mart, which is why I choose not to shop there. But Mr. Dicker's book is fraught with ignorance. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Chapter 9, wherein the author feigns shock that a Democrat would be elected to congress in 1930's Texas - surely no surprise if one knows anything of the history of the American political parties. Then he goes on to cite the congressional movement against grocery giant A&P, bemoaning the lack of a similar movement against Wal-Mart today. Lost in his argument is the fact that A&P, like all business behemoths, eventually faded without legislative intrusion. As will Wal-Mart in due time.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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