Friday, November 17, 2006

Why Wal-Mart Matters

From "Why Wal-Mart Matters" from the Mises Institute:

"Wal-Mart matters for anyone interested in human welfare and the alleviation of poverty. Economists have identified a large "Wal-Mart effect" on food prices. Recently, economists Jerry Hausman and Ephraim Leibtag have argued that consumer benefits from Wal-Mart entry are "substantial, both in terms of food expenditure and in terms of overall consumer expenditure."

Their study finds that "low income households benefit the most." In another study, they argue that the Bureau of Labor Statistics overstates inflation by failing to account for Wal-Mart's substantial impact on grocery prices. A study by the McKinsey Global Institute found that Wal-Mart accounted for a disproportionate share of US productivity growth in the 1990s.

In the United States, Wal-Mart's impact on food prices has been orders of magnitude greater than what the federal government spends on food stamps. Production for the markets opened by Wal-Mart has led a great many people to the road out of poverty in countries like China.

Those who vilify Wal-Mart do so not for Wal-Mart's political failings but for Wal-Mart's economic successes. The company's critics are making inroads, but the anti-Wal-Mart campaign is a campaign to strangle a goose that has laid a disproportionate share of golden eggs."

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