The "Walmart-ization" of Altadena?

The "Walmart-ization" of Altadena?

A new report has revealed that six heirs of Sam Walton's Walmart fortune are now wealthier than 42% of Americans combined. Meanwhile, the average Walmart worker earns less than $15,000 a year. Read the new report from the Economic Policy Institute.

The Walton family is now worth about $100 billion -- up from $89.5 billion just two years ago.  While the Waltons and Walmart were growing richer, most Americans were growing poorer.  This is no accident.  Walmart is the nation's largest employer and its business model is to pay poverty-level wages with few benefits and to manufacture the toys and clothing it sells in its US stores in sweatshops in Asia and elsewhere. Several scholars have called the widening gap between the rich and everyone else the "Walmart-ization" of our economy.  

So the debate over Walmart's efforts to open new stores in Altadena and perhaps Pasadena -- to get their foot-in-the-door with groceries stores and then expand into a full-blown super-store -- is both a local issue and a global one. It is important to see the bigger picture because Walmart certainly does.


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Nico July 18, 2012 at 12:41 AM
Kind of like Patch, which pays its educated, well experienced journalists less than 15/hr.
Dan Abendschein (Editor) July 18, 2012 at 12:51 AM
I'm not sure where you got that figure Nico, but it is not correct.
SteveB July 18, 2012 at 01:17 AM
Where's the reference to expanding into a full-blown super-store? I'm sure we'd all like to see that.
Can't Say July 18, 2012 at 01:25 AM
What's the point of this "blog"? No questions being asked. Totally slanted piece. File it under "whatever". The stats have been posted ad nauseam on Altadena Patch & Altadenablog. Something new regarding this would be refreshing.
Peter Dreier July 18, 2012 at 01:27 AM
Here's another great article about Walmart-ization: "Walmart: 50 Years of Gutting America’s Middle Class." Linked here: http://www.cagle.com/2012/07/walmart-50-years-of-gutting-americas-middle-class
Lisa Maiorana July 18, 2012 at 03:13 AM
blah blah blah - jealous of the Walmart family? Then build a store like theirs and sell things at a price people can actually afford and you'll be rich too.
mike July 18, 2012 at 04:45 AM
Walmart doesn't force people to work at their stores and doesn't force people to shop at their stores. If you don't like the wages Walmart pays complain to your government that sets minimum wage. If you don't mine paying $15.00 for a head of lettuce and $20.00 for a big mac than yes, all workers in America should earn $50,000.00 a year with full benefits.
Linda R July 18, 2012 at 08:10 PM
I guess the TRUTH HURTS......and people who support issues never bother to research and check out stuff.....too bad but that's what happens when there are too many sheep. Remember cheap does not equal "for the good of all".......Walmartization will be the end of Altadena as we know it......and a knock off of the Lincoln Crossing Fiasco. Time will show more of the truth!
Peter Dreier July 18, 2012 at 08:26 PM
So you think it is OK for Wal-Mart to pay poverty wages? Plus, the relationship between wage levels and prices is not what you suggest. The grocery workers at Vons and Ralphs are unionized and get decent wages and benefits, but a head of lettuce doesn't cost $15, as "Mike" suggests. He's also wrong about the $20 big mac. Two respected economists, David Card and Alan Krueger, wrote a book about this -- Myth and Measurement: The New Economics of the Minimum Wage -- in 1995. The compared fast food restaurant prices in New Jersey (which in 1992 raised its state minimum wage from $4.25 to $5.05 per hour (an 18.8% increase) and adjacent Pennsylvania, which kept its minimum wage at $4.25 per hour. Did prices in fast-food restaurants go up in New Jersey, as expected? No. Moreover, employment in the fast food sector increased in New Jersey, where wage levels had increased. Why? When the working poor get a raise, several things happen. First, they spend most or all of their pay increase on basic necessities, putting money back into the economy. This has a ripple (or what economists calls "multiplier") effect at stimulating more jobs. Second, a wage increase at the bottom ripples up the occupational ladder and leads to wage increases among the almost-poor and higher levels. This, too, puts money into the economy and stimulates growth and jobs. So Walmart's poverty-level pay scales are not just bad for the employees, but for the surrounding community and economy.
SteveB July 18, 2012 at 08:36 PM
Peter, still waiting to hear about this expansion into a "full-blown super-store".
Richard_Cabeza July 19, 2012 at 03:32 PM
Where is the data?
Lisa Maiorana July 19, 2012 at 03:34 PM
He doesn't have any data Richard.
Richard_Cabeza July 19, 2012 at 03:35 PM
When do you plan to open a business on lincoln to save altadena?
terry Morris July 19, 2012 at 03:50 PM
43 cents. That is what would need to be added to the total of every Walmart shoppers receipt, in order to pay their workers a living wage. I freely admit that I have a double standard. A struggling mom and pop doesn't pay healthcare because it can't. A company where it's owners combined income equals HALF of all the income in this country, doesn't pay because it chooses not to. A good corporate citizen, IMO, can decide that instead of a net worth of 100 billion dollars, it might choose to be worth 75 Billion dollars (numbers out of thin air), so that it's employees don't need to be on welfare or food stamps in order to get by. But that is just my opinion, one clearly not shared by walmart, or most conglomerates.
maryam hosseinzadeh July 19, 2012 at 05:54 PM
FYI - Peter Drier is not a hack who has no data: he is a noted urban scholar and policy analyst who works on food access and environmental issues. He runs the Urban Environmental Policy Institute through Oxy, and is a regarded expert on these matters. While I can't say where he got this data, it very likely is not publicly accessible yet on the internet (perhaps in academic journals available on JSTOR or via SAGE). He may be doing these studies at this VERY MOMENT. If you have questions for him, you can contact him at - Peter Dreier, E.P Clapp Distinguished Professor of Politics and Urban & Environmental Policy Program director, Occidental College, (323) 259-2913, dreier@oxy.edu
Richard_Cabeza July 19, 2012 at 06:12 PM
Then I am sure he can point us to publised, peer-reviwed research papers on neighborhood walmarts?
P Coleman September 12, 2012 at 03:06 PM
I don't get all the hatred for Walmart. I don't shop there but only because their stores are too big. There are lots of comments about Walmarts wages. Has anyone checked what Websters, Super King, RiteAid or any other business in Altadena pays. My guess is they are similar however none of the current small businesses are likely to have ANY benefits such as healthcare or 401k which I believe Walmart at the least has available. And then many of you are complaining about the new store taking business. What about the number of people that will come from other areas to shop and then new businesses will likely popup around the area employing even more local people. The reality is that many Altadena residents still shop elsewhere because Super King and Baja Ranch are mostly ethnic stores and have limited choices. If you want to compare unionized stores to non union just shop at Super king where even as crowded as it is you can still get in and out in a reasonable amount of time because they have all of the registers open. Go to Von's or Ralphs and will find 1 or 2 registers open at 6 and 7 pm with huge lines and when you ask why they tell you they're all on break. The service usually sucks. Unions only llimit the number of employees anyone will hire and provide less than stellar service. Stop the complaining. Most areas beg for big name companies to open because they are good for area. They force other businesses to clean up their act and compete.


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