Is Walmart Change We Should Believe in?
1. I was glad to learn from BIG THINKER Daniel that Walmart has become a catalyst for change on the Green or environmental front. That's good news, because what that corporation's brains decide to do makes a big difference.
2. But someone might say that the most important issue might be "social ecology." When Walmart comes to town, do human beings live better as social beings?
3. Walmart is surely, on balance, good for consumers. The stores have a huge variety of stuff at mostly low prices--including, of course, cheap prescription drugs. Walmart might be understood as a blessing for a large American family, especially if both parents have to work. Almost every imaginable need can be efficiently satisfied with one stop.
4. Still, when Walmart comes to town (meaning relatively small town), "Main street" closes down. Locally owned stores--such as hardware and grocery stores--go out of business. People just don't make the choice for quality service and the personal touch over affordable convenience often enough. Main Street is sometimes eventually revitalized, but hardly ever as a retail district. It becomes a fake-historic place full of restaurants, coffee shops, etc., and so not a real center of the social and economic life of the community.
5. So Walmart makes small-town America stupider. The brains of the store are at some undisclosed location, and specific orders are issued to the locals, who are pretty much stuck with doing what they're told. American brainpower is centralizing in the cities. And a Marxist might even say that the sticks are being proletarianized. Marx says that the development of capitalism saves people from rural idiocy (by forcing them into the cities), but he forgot to add it would make the remaining rural people more idiotic.
6. Walmart is a central part of the drab homogenization of country into depressing strip malls. Major urban areas and fancy bourgeois bohemian towns are semi-exluded, but ordinary America is getting increasingly boring and predictable from the perspective of the consumer. From that view, even consumers in general are getting stupider or more easily satisfied.
7. Localities usually just don't have the power to keep Walmart out to defend a particular way of life. So someone might say that Walmart is a main vehicle holding ordinary Americans hostage to the impersonal imperatives of globalization.
I could say more about the case for Walmart, but I thought I'd add a bit of balance to BIG THINK by pushing the case against.
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Big tech is making its opening moves into the health care scene, but its focus on tech-savvy millennials may miss the mark.
- Companies like Apple, Amazon, and Google have been busy investing in health care companies, developing new apps, and hiring health professionals for new business ventures.
- Their current focus appears to be on tech-savvy millennials, but the bulk of health care expenditures goes to the elderly.
- Big tech should look to integrating its most promising health care devise, the smartphone, more thoroughly into health care.
Turns out pushups are more telling than treadmill tests when it comes to cardiovascular health.
- Men who can perform 40 pushups in one minute are 96 percent less likely to have cardiovascular disease than those who do less than 10.
- The Harvard study focused on over 1,100 firefighters with a median age of 39.
- The exact results might not be applicable to men of other age groups or to women, researchers warn.
Here's why universal basic income will hurt the 99%, and make the 1% even richer.
- Universal basic income is a band-aid solution that will not solve wealth inequality, says Rushkoff.
- Funneling money to the 99% perpetuates their roles as consumers, pumping money straight back up to the 1% at the top of the pyramid.
- Rushkoff suggests universal basic assets instead, so that the people at the bottom of the pyramid can own some means of production and participate in the profits of mega-rich companies.
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