ethel’s words

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VALUES; BUSINESS OR PEOPLE?

There is a clamor from big business, huge media, and countless misled consumers of mainstream media to discredit, demean, and “belittle” [humor intended] Wal-Mart. Financial harm is the intention.

The publicized “WHY” for this? They under-pay their workers. Wow! Concern about workers from the economic giants. Wow!

Wal-Mart challenges: “Well, raise the minimum wage!”

When that happens, all wages rise.

The indirect response: “We mustn’t hurt the small businesses with a raise in the minimum wage. We must make exceptions for them.”

***

Many of us like to trade with small, family- or individually-owned businesses--but not at the sacrifice of healthful food choices, nor the preferences we are accustomed to--as spoiled Yankee-Americans--NOR do most of us want to dignify deprivation wages.

If a business cannot survive and thrive without exploiting the bottom-of-the-heap workers, then how can its existence be justified? If there is such “free” help for small business, why not for students? If the students cannot make it without loans, then we should lower tuition. But if poor people are allowed to be students, there won’t be slaves for the small businesses. Workers subsidize small business with their underpaid labor.

Is it conceivable that there is a societal benefit in saving businesses that require slaves? Is it good policy to give small business privileges and exemptions so that they can become big businesses? Thus, do we want big businesses? Do some wear white hats and some black?

Most of us think we see some small businesses--especially technological--create millionaires in a short time, and we suspect their employees are not particularly underpaid.

Perpetuating poverty by protecting less-than-decent-living wages is a policy that ought to be stopped.

While we shop at Wal-Mart, we’ll think about that.

Ethel C. Hale