The state of Wal-mart: sovereignty

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posted on Dec, 19 2005 @ 08:25 PM
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sovereignty (n)- Freedom from external control; autonomy.

The corporate entity known as Wal-mart was institutionalized in 1962 by Sam Walton. in 43 years it has grown from a small business to a massive megacorporation. If Wal-mart was a nation, and it's yearly income was that nations economy, Wal-mart would rank the 20th richest nation in the world, between Greece and the Ukraine. Wal-mart holds a market share of 8.9 percent for all retail market stores. That means almost 9 dollars out of every hundred is spent at a Wal-mart store in America. But what does this mean?

Wal-mart has become a bloated monster of it's former self. What the mall did to stores in the 80s, Wal-mart does to every type of store and mall, times ten. With extremely low prices which regular retailers and stores cannot beat for everything from groceries to electronics to clothing and medical supplies. Wal-mart is able to isolate itself in a town and eliminate the competition. In the American Mid-West, there are infact many towns that are soley dependant on Wal-mart for both supplies and jobs.

By every right of the word, Wal-mart is a monopoly. In the late 1990s Microsoft was charged as a monopoly by the federal government, yet it's impact on american life is not nearly as large as wal-marts monopolization of suburbia. So why has the Federal Government not slapped a monopoly suit on Wal-mart? The answer is simply, it has become a sovereign entity. With that 9 out of every 100 dollars spend in a wal mart, can the American government really stand to break up such a behemoth? If it's so rooted into small towns and suburban settings, what kindof impact could the fall of wal-mart bring to american economy, a big, crippling one. The chain franchise is now completely sovereign from America, it has become a nation in its own right; symbiotic to American culture and it's economy.

This can only mean one thing, that we are destined to an America run by corporate entities. Granted in many ways, we are something like that right now, but in twenty, or thirty, or fifty years, how much more will mega-corporations like Wal-mart control our way of life? Will a corporation like wal-mart actuall own towns, cities, states, even countries?

More importantly, what let it grow this big? This is the issue I've been pondered, and I leave for discussion: Is there a conspiracy between Wal-mart and/or other corporations that purposely allowed such mega-corporations to slip under the crack of those who scream monopoly? Is there a plot to overthrow democratic systems with corporate ownership? Is this a coup to take over the United States by certain people, or is this just proof of a poorly designed system?




posted on Dec, 19 2005 @ 08:31 PM
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Originally posted by WolfofWar
Is this a coup to take over the United States by certain people, or is this just proof of a poorly designed system?


I would vote for the 2nd choice. Wal*Mart is not as high tech as Microsoft, so it went undetected and sort of slipped in under the radar. I agree with your point of corporate ownership. Money is power, and WalMart has become so powerful in that sense.

Wal*Mart could actually become the NWO if it acheives enough money or power.



posted on Dec, 19 2005 @ 11:09 PM
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Originally posted by WolfofWar
By every right of the word, Wal-mart is a monopoly. In the late 1990s


What a crock. There are hundreds of places in my town alone to buy whatever you want and never set foot in a WalMart. The only reason I shop at WalMart is because, in most cases, they have what I'm looking for for a better price than I can find anywhere.

I wen't into a Smith's supermarket today to pay a bill and decided to buy something, even though I stopped shopping there five years ago because of rude employees and ridiculously high prices. It took about five seconds to change my mind. Why spend money with people who rob you blind and treat you like crap to boot?



posted on Dec, 19 2005 @ 11:20 PM
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Originally posted by GradyPhilpott
Why spend money with people who rob you blind and treat you like crap to boot?


hear hear, I am the same way. I have boycotted everywhere BUT Big W (which i guess is Wal-mart's equivalent here in Australia ?) Because they always come through for me, whether it is cheaper prices (usually), actually having products in stock and just the service alone. They are much better than any other departmental store we have here, so they can have my money
I am so glad they opened up shop here.



posted on Dec, 19 2005 @ 11:39 PM
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Keep in mind that regardless of how nice the employees at any given corporate chain are, the people running the show could jerk the the store out of town any time they wish, regardless of local economic impact, just to save themselves some money. Some New England localities have been poverty-stricken from Wal Mart moving in, taking a local monopoly, running local businesses into the ground, offering new job opportunities, and then just leaving the locality altogether, laying off workers and leaving the community to rebuild from the ground up. This is also happening around a town I grew up in right now, which is already in bad shape economically, and I do still have family there. But I guess it's alright for some nonetheless, because Wal Mart may not be the only place in town for you to shop, as someone pointed out (though they still choose to shop there, right? for the low prices? that's kind of the whole edge of Wal Mart, but anyway..), or because the elderly lady that works there gives you a warm smile or etc.

I would more than wager that Wal Mart itself, the corporate monster, is not warm-hearted in the least, though. I take it that's what this thread is referring to: the corporation.



posted on Dec, 19 2005 @ 11:54 PM
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ahh, a topic that i have griped about with my family for years...

i have two family members in wal mart at managment levels.

I can tell you, and from wal mart working experience, i know the inside deal on these stores.

First off, i do believe it is becoming a monopoly, but has not yet acheived it yet. there are still towns who fight tooth and nail to keep wal mart out.

I know for a FACT that walmart will come into a rural town, (while increasing the job market), will lower prices to the point that they take a loss, until local mom and pop shops can no longer afford to keep the doors open, then they will raise them back to the normal "lower price"

It has happened in two towns i have been in. i have seen the cost sheets from my brother..who is an assistant manager in one of the local stores.

Here is the #1 fact ladies and gentlemen..........

WALMART DIED WITH SAM WALTON.--when sam walton died, so did his vision for a great store, with friendly people, and great product at cheap prices. then, the children took over....it has since become all about the money, while i think 70+% of all product in walmart comes from china....to lower overhead, they work people in areas that require multiple hands to accomplish the tasks at hand (i've done it..trust me).....and, they will usually keep the raises to a minimum.....if at all.

Greed, that has what is has become. sad to say, but walmart is dead, and a global super conglomorate has emerged, ready to pay under the table for illegal cleaning crews, underage cashiers, and cheat people out of overtime pay by making them work 4 hours overtime a day, then cuttin the last day of the week short so they get a regular paycheck....all the while, the employees work 10/12/14 hour shifts......

I have worked for walmart, i despise walmart....and i will only go in there if it is absolutely necessary.

I prefer the higher prices of mom an pop stores..usually, it's only a couple of buck anyways....nothing to get freaked about....and, customer service is better.

try going into walmart now days....either there are attituded whiney children working "too hard" at the register, or pissed off stock people who just want to go home. so they take it out on you.

It will get larger, unfortunately.....and i have to watch it from the inside out.



posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 12:07 AM
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Originally posted by bsbray11
Keep in mind that regardless of how nice the employees at any given corporate chain are, the people running the show could jerk the the store out of town any time they wish, regardless of local economic impact, just to save themselves some money.


This is what is known as the free market. Wal-Mart doesn't owe anyone anything. If they do what they do well, they succeed. If they fail to provide a meaningful service, they fail. If they have to close a store to maintain corporate equilibrium, then that's the way it goes. There's nothing new here.

Wal-Mart helps far more people than they supposedly harm. We have more Wal-Marts in Albuquerque per capita than any place in America, I would be willing to bet and they are building more.

Wal-Mart
2701 Carlisle Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM 87110 (1.49 miles away)
505-884-6650

Wal-Mart
301 San Mateo Blvd SE, Albuquerque, NM 87108 (2.26 miles away)
505-268-6611

Wal-Mart
8000 Academy Rd NE, Albuquerque, NM 87111 (3.02 miles away)
505-856-5274

Wal-Mart
400 Eubank Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM 87123 (3.32 miles away)
505-293-8878

Wal-Mart
1909 Bellamah Ave NW, Albuquerque, NM 87104 (5.06 miles away)
505-766-6976

Wal-Mart Supercenter
2550 Coors Blvd NW, Albuquerque, NM 87120 (7.05 miles away)
505-352-1870

Wal-Mart Supercenter
10224 Coors Byp NW, Albuquerque, NM 87114 (8.05 miles away)
505-898-2400

Wal-Mart SuperCenter
3500 Coors Blvd SW
Albuquerque NM

I think that's all of them and there's supposed to be one going up over on Wyoming Blvd, but I haven't been over there to take a look.

[edit on 2005/12/20 by GradyPhilpott]



posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 12:16 AM
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As Wal-Mart rolled out its franchises, it sucked commerce off Main Streets, destroying traditional retailers that had served their communities for generations. But in the face of the abundance Wal-Mart produced in the form of more jobs, consumer savings, and expanded trade, the loss of Main Street life seemed an incidental price to pay.


When Wal-mart comes to town

This is exactly what I'm talking about. Wal-mart comes in, invades, and assimilates the town, becoming one of the sole source of jobs and supplies for the town.

And Grady, though I appreciate your view on the subject, but just because it hasn't happened in your town yet doesn't mean it's not happening everywhere else.



posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 01:56 AM
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Check out a PBS show called "Is Wal-Mart Good for America?", you can probably find it on p2p somewhere, but it has lots of company owners' stories about being forced by Wal-mart to go overseas (China) sometimes in order to save pennies. The companies like Rubbermaid who couldn't meet Wal-mart's financially unreasonable demands closed factories and sold off the manufacturing equipment to China.

I think Wal-mart is obscene and digusting, and a trip through the store leaves me with the thought of "economic cattle herding" when i see shopping carts full of some of the most useless things imaginable pulling zombified people towards the . I've been there maybe 3 times this year, for safety shoes twice and once for an mp3 player i couldn't find anywhere else. Fortunately my town won't get one, as town is so small that they'd have to knock down one half of town for the store and another half for the parking lot as well as leveling a mountian and filling in a canyon.


My question is of their motive for overseas production. Are they really trying to save 1 cent on a pair of socks or are they playing economy games for ultimate political ends?



posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 02:06 AM
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Most of the people you see at Wal Mart are those who have families to feed and clothe. They have been to the other stores and they know where their dollar goes farthest. I would agree that there is much that is "useless" in the modern consumer market. One of those items is the mp3 player. However, I would like for you to tell me one product that Wal Mart sells that is not sold at any mall or at any one of a number of other stores in a community near you large enough to have more than one store.



posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 12:40 PM
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Most of the vitriol over WalMart is spewed by people who do not understand basic economics, or who DO understand economics and would prefer that the United States move from a mixed-economy to a command-economy. First of all, Walmart is only "worth" what it is worth because it creates "value" in the economy. A source of inexpensive goods of every shape and size all under one roof. Not only does a shopper save on the price of the goods but in his/her overall time and travel involved in those purchases. All economies are about the DISTRIBUTION OF GOODS. In lassaiz-faire economies (which the US does not have) the consumer decides what should be produced and in what quantities by virtue of his demand for that product. Companies that make what people want and need and can provide greater value than other companies will be rewarded for following the will of the people. At the opposite end of the spectrum, command economies are dictated by beaurocrats in centralized locations. Ivan decides that this year the state will produce 50,000 red sweaters, 20,000 blue ones, and 10,000 white ones and so forth. It doesn't matter what the people want, and they have something similar to rationing which tells them what sweater they will get this year. This is incredibly difficult to manage. What is easier, to try to figure out how much of EVERY single good to produce, or to just let people figure it out for themselves. Command economies are incredibly inefficient and therefore have TREMENDOUS waste and overhead built into the cost of goods.

Here in the good ole US of A we have what is called a "mixed" economy. It is a combination of lassaiz-faire (French for "hands off") economy, where consumers have their own money (which is just a distribution system) and make their own purchase decisions and command, where the government decides how much of that money to take out of circulation via taxes and command that it be spent to purchase roads, dams, tanks etc.

When you grasp these concepts you will realize that the "evil" Walmart is only wildly successful because it serves the will of the people. In that sense it is more egalitarian than any socialist society could ever be. And as soon as they "jack up the prices" they allow another competitor to enter the market. Although they have some impressive competitive advantages, their size also offers large disadvantages. Walmart does not specialize in anything. They offer inexpensive goods, but only a handful of the available product. Will they put businesses under? Of course, but I submit that a "mom and pop" shop that is 2000 sq ft and is selling toilet paper, toothpaste and canned soup is destined to go the way of the buggy-whip salesman anyway, Walmart just hastens the arrival of the 21st century. If you want to go head-to-head with Walmart offer products that you will never be able to find there. Here's a hint, if it's mass produced in China don't put it in your boutique, you will get clobbered.

What most people who dislike or protest Walmart will not admit is that they are not just anti-Walmart, but also anti-capitalism, and anti-corporation. They believe in things like "the collective" and "living wage" but do not understand that a products price (including labor) is determined by the demand for it, and not a union's idea of "fair practice." The real reason that Walmart is so targeted is that they have successfully resisted repeated and costly attempts to unionize their workers. People do not want to have wages garnished for a bunch of guys who pretend to look out for them. You never get your money's worth. Our founding fathers called it "taxation without representation." However, at Walmart, you always get your money's worth, and then some.

Before you take the anti-Walmart bait hook, line, and sinker, consider the source of the information. Also ask yourself if there isn't a little bit of envy and resentment of the big guy. After all, everyone loves an underdog, and noone likes the gorilla in their midst.



posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 01:02 PM
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Wal-Mart has outgrown itself, and in the next ten years, could force out the rest of small and medium size business. Suddenly. all you will have is Cotsco/Sam's/ Walgreens/and Walmart. Once this is done, they can control and slowly raise the price wihile continuing to import for less and make more.


Small towns can still try to keep them out, but larger ones just can't. Didn't anyone see the South Park with the Wal Mart. We folks, consumers have created it, and it will continue to grow, because as is stated in these threads, they have it all for less.



posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 01:50 PM
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Originally posted by esdad71
Wal-Mart has outgrown itself, and in the next ten years, could force out the rest of small and medium size business


Outgrown itself? What does that mean? Walmart cannot and will not compete with small specialty stores. Walmart will not compete with other chains that specialize either. They may partner to include more under one roof, but they will never do so unless doing so BENEFITS the consumer in some way and thus Walmart's bottom line.



Once this is done, they can control and slowly raise the price wihile continuing to import for less and make more.


First, they will never force ALL other businesses out. This is an oversimplified and flawed view. Walmart will never become mortgage brokers, sell insurance, repair ANYTHING on site, open a French restaurant inside, etc etc. Secondly, as soon as Walmart and their "accomplices" go about raising prices either someone will break ranks or another company will pop up to burst the profit bubble by selling it cheaper, just like Walmart began.



Small towns can still try to keep them out, but larger ones just can't.


Actually, you have it backwards, small towns welcome Walmart with open arms because of the tax base and jobs they bring to the local economy. In fact, one of Walmart's biggest successes is in buying "worthless" land on the cheap at the edge of a community and then infusing that land and the surrounding areas with value buy building a Walmart on it. It is the big cities that refuse Walmart such as Oakland, not just because of a liberal social view, but also because of a negative stereotype about back-woods midwestern Walmart shoppers. Call it what you will, it's snobbery and ignorance.


We folks, consumers have created it, and it will continue to grow, because as is stated in these threads, they have it all for less.


And what is wrong with that? WalMart is created in our image, not the other way around. If we don't like what we see, then we need to change ourselves as consumers, not demand that retailers stop selling us what we want for prices we can't resist. Perhaps if we (Americans) saved our money instead of buying into the "consumption for the sake of it" model we would have different stores with different attitudes and products. But until that time, I say lighten up, after all where else can you buy new tires, clothes, groceries, and eat a hotdog while you wait for your tires to be installed? Oh wait, did someone say Costco?.....



posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 01:55 PM
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And by the way, Walmart is NOT sovereign in the sense that you imply. Walmart must obey the laws of whatever country they do business in. Walmart does not have a constitution, it doesn't have a standing army, a central bank, nor citizens.

Walmart is sovereign in the same sense that you and I are sovereign individuals, governed by the laws of the USA, (or wherever else).

edit: grammar

[edit on 20-12-2005 by informatu]



posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 02:42 PM
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Interesting posts and perspectives all around, I thank everyone for their input.




And by the way, Walmart is NOT sovereign in the sense that you imply. Walmart must obey the laws of whatever country they do business in. Walmart does not have a constitution, it doesn't have a standing army, a central bank, nor citizens.


True, it's not a true sovereign state, yet. As for the obeying the laws, Wal-mart should have most definitely been checked as a monopoly YEARS ago. No it does not have a constitution, though it does have its own rules and regulations. As for a standing army, it has it's own employees and has been known to hire private security forces to deliver or secure theyre stores, sounds like an army to me.
And for it's citizens, it doesn't? As I have said before, in small rural towns wal-mart has become the central hub to the town. In the article I linked to, it stated that in the small town of Bath, Maine; Wal-mart has practically replaced Main streets stores and has become one of the sole suppliers and providers to the town. In a very real way, Wal-mart has given certain towns a social identity of "wal-martites" they work at wal-mart, shop and wal-mart, and believe in wal-mart. In a way, they are "citizens" to the Wal-mart stores. Just like how in the 80s there was alot of cultural identity with Mall-rats, the same for Wal-mart.

And yes, for now, Wal-mart has to abide by the laws of the government, but at the point where Wal-mart becomes something that supplies the lively hood of the country, when no other store is available to do so, will the laws really apply to it?



posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 03:07 PM
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Originally posted by WolfofWar



As Wal-Mart rolled out its franchises, it sucked commerce off Main Streets, destroying traditional retailers that had served their communities for generations. But in the face of the abundance Wal-Mart produced in the form of more jobs, consumer savings, and expanded trade, the loss of Main Street life seemed an incidental price to pay.


When Wal-mart comes to town

This is exactly what I'm talking about. Wal-mart comes in, invades, and assimilates the town, becoming one of the sole source of jobs and supplies for the town.

And Grady, though I appreciate your view on the subject, but just because it hasn't happened in your town yet doesn't mean it's not happening everywhere else.



Just because it is happening in your town does not mean it isn't everywhere else. The sole source for jobs? I believe Albuqerque for one has a university, casino's, and pretty decent job market, The Wal marts are there because they have money to spend and need things.



posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 03:21 PM
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WolfofWar,

WalMart is not a monopoly which is defined as the exclusive provider of a product or service. Your gas company is a monopoly, the electricity provider is a monopoly, your local water company is a monopoly. These monopolies are allowed to exist because the US is not a pure capitalist system, but a hybrid called mixed-economy. Yet, WalMart is not the only store that sells toiletpaper and popcorn. There is Target, KMart, and Sam's Club.

Private security is hardly an army, and once again, this is no different than you or I hiring bodyguards.

The fact that Walmart has replaced many of the main streets says more about those stores than it does about WalMart. They couldn't compete, and why should they try? If some communities are full of WalMartites it's because these people realize the benefits. Who are you to second-guess their judgement? Oh, I get it, they must be ignorant hicks who don't realize they are being made suckers for the big evil corporation.

WalMart will always have to obey the law, period. That doesn't mean they won't lobby for "unfair" laws that give them an advantage or greater flexibility, but you won't see WalMart stop paying taxes or getting away with infractions to labor law.

With all of that being said, I can sympathize with your paranoia. ATSers (myself included) are usually distrustful of large centralized organizations. Corporations act in their own interest and those of the shareholders, which is profit. This is their sole reason for existence. That being said, if you believe in the goodness of WalMart's soul you have bought into marketing exactly as they would hope. I personally am not worried about the impact of WalMart where I live. They are just one of a half-dozen big-block superstores and are kept in check by competition.



posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 07:40 PM
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Saying a gas or electirc compamy is not a monopoly is notcorrect. Try and go somewhere else for your water, electric, sewer and gas. You will wind up urinating in bottle, defecating in the bsuhes and taking showers at the local gas station.

Walamrt works their employees like slaves( just ask one), are pushing out small and medium size businesses with low prices and overstock and there are major legal battles when they attmept to build in certain places. 2 in the last 3 years here in St Pete.

thank you also for the definition of soveriegnty, I thought Wal mart was it's own nation. C;mon man, make a better arguement. Do you even remember whem Wal Mart proudly announced eferything eas made in America.It was, and now, as someone else pointed out, they purchase from the far east at lower rates than to buy domestically. In a nut shell, wal mart sucks for the little guy, but at least we can all get a new filter for our brita water purifiers at 4AM.






[edit on 21-12-2005 by sanctum]



posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 07:58 PM
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Originally posted by informatu
WolfofWar,

WalMart is not a monopoly which is defined as the exclusive provider of a product or service. Your gas company is a monopoly, the electricity provider is a monopoly, your local water company is a monopoly. These monopolies are allowed to exist because the US is not a pure capitalist system, but a hybrid called mixed-economy.


Lets break down what Wal-mart is. Wal-mart is a supply chain that provides retail consumer goods. Food, pharmacuedicals, clothing, electronics, etc. Now, when the retail chain, Wal-mart, is able to push out all competetion in an entire town, ripping out Main streets businesses and cutting prices so low that only Wal-mart will survive, well what exactly do you call that?

Monopoly (n)- exclusive control of a commodity or service that makes possible the manipulation of prices.

When you get to the point that a business can simply plant a store down and sell so low that it destroys the businesses around it, then it has clearly monopolized the market, in this case, the retail outlit.

Microsoft was charged as a monopoly because they made it so that you could "only" buy a computer with a windows OS. Wal-mart is doing much more then that, it is underselling and eliminating all competition.

Now, is it a sovereignty yet, no. But given years of unchecked growth? who knows. As I said before, certain rural towns RELY on Wal-mart for it's supplies and it's employement. If we feed it more, and it's able to do the same with suburbia, underselling and destroying all competition, what's left? Entire urban cities? States? Countries? At what point does the convienance of a wal-mart turn into dependancy? 9 dollars out of every hundred go to a wal-mart in america. Thats an insanely large ammount of money considering all the stores in the country. Will that growth stop? What happens when 20 dollars out of every hundred is spent at a Wal-mart, or 40? maybe 50? How about 70? There is a threshold between a good business and a monopolizing corporate entity. The United States Government held Microsoft to that threshold before, why not Wal-mart? The same reason the Oil tycoons aren't held by that threshold, the government realizes that we are relying on them for goods and economy. Also, just for alittle information, Your Water and Electricity companies are not businesses, they're utilities run by the state, so they can't by held under the scrutiny of the monopoly police.

Are we solely dependant on Wal-mart? is it a sovereign entity? Not yet, but I firmly believe that we are slowly becoming depending on Wal-mart, both economically and on a personal level.



posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 08:06 PM
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Typically, semi-autonomous companies like Wal-Mart, Microsoft and Haliburton/KBR fall under the title of 'megacorporation'. We're talking multibillion dollar money intakes a year, plus diversification.

In small towns, Wal-Mart undercuts all the local bussiness because it can provide everything at those slave-labor prices.

We're not talking AAA type megacorporation just yet, give it a few years and expect some serious oomph behind Wal-Mart requests.

DE





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