Capitalism 101: This is in response to all the hoopla about Wal-Mart. It seems there is a need for an explanation of how a free market-driven economy works. The standard of living in the United States is much higher than other countries because of capitalism (an economic system of private ownership of capital) and a market-driven economy.
Private ownership requires individuals, not government, to be responsible for their own capital, whether it is personal finances or a large business. Whether an individual or a company succeeds or fails is their responsibility. Since we have a free market in America, this means that individuals are going to use their capital as efficiently as possible because they had to earn what they have, therefore the business that is the most efficient will get more of the people's capital. This is how prices are set in a free market; it is called competition. In a non-market economy, the price is set and there is no competition, therefore the quality of goods is poor, service is poor and the price is high (as in third-world countries).
As far as labor is concerned, you don't raise your standard of living by staying at the same job level for 25 years. You develop more skills and gain more knowledge.
As for unions, I think the former automotive workers in Detroit can tell you where union protectionism takes your jobs (Mexico, Canada, etc.).
It may be that the employees of Safeway are too young to remember the A&P grocery chain, now forgotten because of Safeway's more efficient operation and better locations, which allowed (the then nonunion) Safeway to sell at a lower price. For businesses to succeed in America, they must allocate their resources (products and labor) more efficiently than others. This means a higher standard of living and a better community.
Less than two years ago, our officials were crying the blues because they could not collect two years' worth of property taxes from then bankrupt Kmart. I do not think this will be a problem with Wal-Mart. The arrival of Wendy's caused McDonald's and Taco Bell to upgrade and all three businesses are better for it.
So watch the elected officials' responses to this opportunity. Do they welcome competition (a savings for thousands of people in our community) or protect a few existing businesses (an expense to our community)? Whatever their responses are, don't forget by the next election, when they need your vote so badly. We would welcome Wal-Mart, especially if they sell groceries without requiring a "loyalty card'' for "sale prices."
Sale prices should be for everyone! Besides, the prices just keep going up anyway. Come to think of it, some Super Wal-Marts sell gasoline and diesel fuel, also. Wouldn't that be nice?
Charles and Evelyn Judd