Cartoon: Wal-Mart Morality

My cartoon from the next-to-latest issue of Dollars and Sense… If the art is hard to read, you can view a larger version here.

This entry posted in Cartooning & comics, Economics and the like. Bookmark the permalink. 

38 Responses to Cartoon: Wal-Mart Morality

  1. 1
    Sheelzebub says:

    You’re being awfully mean to those poor CEO’s!!

  2. 3
    odanu says:

    As a proud member of the Unitarian Jihad,I find Jesus’ words to be among the many great holy teachings of the world. The positions you list are in direct opposition to his teachings, and are usually espoused by people who publicly and loudly declare themselves Christian. I’ve often thought that a “Red Words” campaign, where thoughtful Christians start teaching from the words of the man their religion is named for, rather than from the more ancient religion he is said to have fulfilled, is long overdue. Great cartoon.

  3. 4
    Kyra says:

    “Overpaid CEO’s: ‘He earned that $17 million!’”

    What happened to “Money is the root of all evil” (see sub-living wages)?

  4. 5
    alex says:

    Actually, Wal-Mart will not sell handguns or ammunition for them. Rifles and shotguns only–hunting arms. They won’t sell anything that looks like an assault rifle either, even if that is mainly a cosmetic distinction.

    They’re still greedy scum, though, and I don’t shop there.

  5. 6
    Robert says:

    I agree, it is scummy that they won’t sell handguns. :P

  6. 7
    LAmom says:

    And don’t forget, something else that’s immoral by Wal-Mart standards is selling T-shirts that say, “Someday a woman will be President.”

  7. 8
    Jesurgislac says:

    alex Writes: Actually, Wal-Mart will not sell handguns or ammunition for them.

    Wal-Mart stopped selling handguns in 1993. They continued to sell ammunition for handguns until Michael Moore successfully campaigned against this – if you saw Bowling for Columbine, you saw this.

  8. 9
    Raznor says:

    Jesurgislac – that was K-Mart that Michael Moore campaigned against in Bowling For Columbine, kinda moot now isn’t it.

    Although I can intellectually recognize the comedic irony in this comic, it makes me more angry than laughy. Which is not a bad thing – in fact I think a comic that can inspire righteous indignation in its reader is great. Still for those requiring a good, politically motivated laugh, I recommend the latest Xqyzyphyr & Overboard.

  9. 10
    Myca says:

    As long as we’re pointing out other good political comics, I always enjoy I Drew This from David C. Simpson. He also draws Ozy and Millie, a sort of gently taoist ‘Calvin & Hobbes meets Bloom County’ starring anthropomorphic animals.

    He, like Amp, is also one of those cartoonists and writers that I suspect it would be a hell of a lot of fun to hang out with.

    As far as Amp’s latest cartoon goes, I agree with Raznor, it makes me more angry than laughy . . . and even the part that’s laughy is laughy is a horrible black comedy sort of way. I mean, any time the topic of Wal*Mart comes up, I can’t help but thinking “My god, how much farther can they go towards becoming supervillians?” It’s become so bad that it’s just absurd now. It’s a little like the Get Your War On cartoon about Henry Kissinger: “Don’t people see the gigantic fucking pile of human skulls he drags around with him? Why doesn’t anyone notice that his footprints track the blood of children all over the place as he walks?”

    —Myca

  10. 11
    Jesurgislac says:

    that was K-Mart that Michael Moore campaigned against in Bowling For Columbine

    Was it? oops. :-(

  11. 12
    mythago says:

    Panel #8 is a traditional solution for the problems in #1-#7.

    Robert, I prefer “alternative liberty-enlarging lifestyle,” thankyew.

  12. 13
    RonF says:

    I don’t like Wal-Mart. I can still remember when they made a big deal out of selling American products; now, they buy more goods from China than all but 4 entire countries. Talk about sweatshops. And the local one is just a bad shopping experience; I only go there when I have to.

    I missed the news on Plan B and Wal-Mart, though. What’s the connection between the two?

    And what’s wrong with selling guns? I’ve had a hand in teaching at least about 15 or 20 kids how to use them (including my own). In fact, at the last Men’s Club meeting at my church, one of the members’ sons sat there during the meeting and cleaned my shotgun to finish up his Shotgun Shooting merit badge requrements. My belief is that a kid who learns though personal experience what a gun does is much less likely to misuse them later. How many news stories have you seen where some kid gets shot after he and his buddy sneak up into Mom and Dad’s bedroom and start fooling around with Mom or Dad’s gun out of curiosity. I figure that if one of them has actually handled and fired a gun a few times and sees what kind of damage it does he’s much less likely to take his buddy up on the invitation.

  13. 14
    Scarbo says:

    Did Wal-Mart make “mom and pop” stores go out of business, or did peoples’ decisions to shop at Wal-Mart instead of the mom-and-pops do it?

  14. 15
    Nomen Nescio says:

    Scarbo, people-in-general can’t be expected to make rational economic decisions when the company that’s trying hard to become a monopolist in their market refuses to internalize the externalities.

    case in point here, wal-mart typically paying wages so low their personnel have to get on (or stay on) public assistance, thus creating a public, taxpayer-funded subsidy to the wannabe monopolist. (google walmart plus “living wage”, for examples.) the “everyday low prices” don’t have a line item for that, so customers end up making bad decisions due to what is, in effect, deceitful marketing practices.

    more generally, individual consumers typically don’t have the whole economic picture of what effects their aggregate buying behaviour will result in. nobody does, really, but large corporations can be expected to have much more of that picture in their accounting records than private citizens can get; they should be expected to put this knowledge to good use by being good corporate citizens. corporations are legal persons, after all, so it ought to make sense that they should carry the same social responsibilities of playing nice as natural persons do. arguably more of a responsibility, for reasons that would be off topic to go into here.

  15. 16
    Nomen Nescio says:

    (oh, and for the record, i see nothing wrong with the lawful trade in firearms either. not even handguns or their ammunition. i could make an argument that such potentially dangerous items ought only be sold by people who know what they are doing and are aware of the various laws and regulations surrounding such items, and that wal-mart is not well known for their careful and thorough employee training programs, but i’m not sure that would lead very far.)

  16. 17
    media girl says:

    How telling that a cartoon that is about a hugely immense retail chain’s refusal to sell birth control generates more excitement about guns. Guns guns guns.

    Any wonder why our murderous society is?

  17. 18
    Jake Squid says:

    I don’t like Wal-Mart. I can still remember when they made a big deal out of selling American products; now, they buy more goods from China…

    I’ve got news for you. Even when Wal-Mart was making a big deal about selling only American products they were buying most of them from China (through American based intermediaries). I seen it with my own two eyes.

  18. 19
    hf says:

    a “Red Words” campaign,

    How do you think this started? Okay, we’ve seen bad Christians before, but the wholesale identification of literalism (or “true Christianity”) with Pop Darwinism seems new. Did it start in 1964? Certainly it opposed “red words” of a sort.

  19. 20
    odanu says:

    hf, the link you provided specifically stated the the Republican party has rejected Jesus’ red words in favor of an Old Testament fire and brimstone, blame the victim theology where a woman who loves her neighbors is turned to a pillar of salt and a girl who loves her daddy is thrown to a crowd of rapists to protect strangers that showed up on daddy’s doorstep.

    It is extremely difficult to use the actual words of Jesus to subjugate people, especially when they are read within the context of the age (for instance, the “Eye of the Needle” is not some abstract construct, but a specific, small gate in the wall of Jerusalem at the time, that would allow one camel through, barely.)

    It is clear that the powers that be decided that the essentially doctineless, immanent spirituality taught by Jesus was far too dangerous, and captured it and stole its light by tying it up in doctrine and ritual. It is significant that those who wish to place biblical teachings in public areas in the US consistently choose passages like the Ten Commandments, not the Beatitudes. As a good pagan, I would gladly support the views of the Beatitudes.

    So long as our political philosophy is centered around “I got mine, bub, if you didn’t get yours, there’s something wrong with you“, the US will be in crisis.

  20. 21
    Scarbo says:

    No one is forced to work at Wal-Mart. This “living wage” stuff is bunk. Don’t like minimum wage? Then get educated and get a better job. Minimum wage doesn’t support a family of four? Right, it doesn’t. Next question.

    Living wage = the money it takes to live in the family structure you have chosen. No one owes you this amount of money, it is up to you to figure out a way to get it.

    Scarbo, people-in-general can’t be expected to make rational economic decisions when the company that’s trying hard to become a monopolist in their market refuses to internalize the externalities.

    OK, so we’ll make the decisions for the people who are too stupid to figure things out for themselves?

    Is Wal-Mart doing anything illegal? If so, those things should be brought out and stopped. If not, then, well, tough cookies. Don’t like the economic impact? Then be the next Sam Walton and put them out of business.

  21. 22
    mythago says:

    Don’t like minimum wage? Then get educated and get a better job.

    Since education is affordable and easy to obtain when you have a minimum-wage job.

  22. 23
    RonF says:

    It is clear that the powers that be decided that the essentially doctineless, immanent spirituality taught by Jesus

    If you think that the spirituality taught by Jesus was doctrineless, you need to read the Bible, including the Old Testament; he had read the Old Testament, taught from it, and referred to it in the Gospels.

  23. 24
    RonF says:

    Mythago, people on minimum wages who want to go to school perhaps should have paid more attention when they were kids. Education is free when you’re a kid.

    Now, in those areas where the free education is not available to the kids because the schools are dangerous or ineffective, then I would go along with government intervention to fix those problems. But some changes will need to be made in the government’s ability to do just that, as very often teacher’s unions have not seen that their members’ interests are better served in the long term if bad teachers are gotten rid of and the schools are improved. I would also go along with subsidizing working people who are taking classes to become more productive as long as they demonstrate adequate academic progress.

  24. 25
    RonF says:

    Media Girl, I reiterate; what’s wrong with selling guns?

  25. 26
    Dim Undercellar says:

    So it’s all those dumb bitches faults for getting knocked up and having a kid to support, rather than having been pure virginal souls so they could have the opportunity to go to college if they just tried hard enough?

    Blame the victim much?

  26. 27
    Scarbo says:

    Since education is affordable and easy to obtain when you have a minimum-wage job.

    I never said it would be easy. Because it’s difficult, does that make it the wrong answer? I don’t think so.

    Even though it’s tempting, telling someone who has a poor education (and maybe they bear some responsibility in that, maybe they don’t) that, well, they just should have paid more attention in school doesn’t cut it either.

    But, rather than use force or shame on companies to raise minimum wage to a “living wage”, focus on the use of minimum wage as a lever for people to want to get out of minimum wage jobs altogether. This can be done through GED’s, vocational training programs, etc. All these things are available through most local governments. The programs may not be perfect (and probably aren’t, and this is where I would rather time/money/energy be spent, instead of forcing Wal-Mart and the like to raise wages to the point where you can be non-educated and support a family of four), but it’s the way to go.

    Minimum wage is for teenagers and people who don’t really need the money. You need money, you better be trying to get a better job, somehow, someway.

    And if you don’t have a college education, you can still make some pretty darn good money. At the pharmaceutical company where I work, chemical operators make $25 – $30/hour. High school education is all that’s needed. These people have bigger houses and cars than I do. I was just told that some of the more senior foremen here tested for higher IQ’s than some of the engineers. Seriously. What that means is that what was true long ago is still true today: experience is still a damn good teacher.

  27. 28
    drumgurl says:

    I believe in the market setting the wage. I don’t even support a minimum wage. However, Wal-Mart is far from a free-market paradise. They depend on government subsidies too. Ever hear of corporate welfare?

    I also support free trade. I don’t, however, support sweatshops. A sweatshop is not a free market ideal (and I can’t see how it could be a Christian ideal either). So Wal-Mart fails on that one too.

    I’m okay with the guns. Guns are cool. But denying women contraception? That’s their right, true enough. But I think I will spend my money elsewhere.

  28. 29
    Lee says:

    I don’t shop at Wal-Mart, period, and not just because I belong to a union. I think I’ve been a Wal-Mart twice in my entire life, and to be honest, I was not thrilled with the experience either time. Something is seriously wrong with an organization that actively tries to avoid paying overtime to hourly employees who have earned it as part of its corporate policy!

  29. 30
    Brandon Berg says:

    Blame the victim much?

    I don’t think you understand what “victim” means. Here’s a hint: You’re not a victim if it’s your fault. Given the ready availability of contraception and the legality of abortion in most developed countries, there’s really no excuse for anyone to have a child she can’t support.

    Also, click on my name to see an article I wrote on the problems with requiring employers to provide welfare (e.g., above-market wages) for their employees.

  30. 31
    odanu says:

    Brandon… then I guess the US isn’t a developed country. There are many states in the US where the efforts of the anti-abortion lobby have made it nearly impossible for many women to have abortions. In a few states there are less than 10 abortion clinics statewide, usually centered in urban areas, so that women in rural areas often have to travel for hours to get one. In addition, for people who live on less than $10,000 per year, the average price of an abortion (between $300-$800) is out of the question. Even a middle income family living on the margins, with health insurance but little cushion (perhaps because of a recent unexpected expense) might have difficulty raising the money for an abortion in the short time the option is available.

    As for contraception, not only does it fail, but it too is under attack by “pro-life” organizations. Again, women are being turned away from pharmacies with valid prescriptions. Birth control pills are also somewhat expensive, running several hundred dollars a year. Furthermore, many, many men will absolutely refuse to wear a condom and have no compunctions about lying about a fictional infertility or manipulate or force a woman to have sex without birth control. So again, there are multiple barriers for many women who want to have a normal sex life, yet may have difficulties accessing birth control.

    In abusive relationships, one of the most common methods of control is to keep the victim “barefoot and pregnant”. This is reinforced by the religious beliefs of many people in this country, who believe that contraception is sinful. Many women who have unplanned children value that fetal life very much, and whether they are anti-abortion generally, or simply resolved to do what they believe to be the “right thing” for their fetuses, it’s simply not your call to make.

    I have observed in many people, especially middle class white men, a truly clueless “sex is too good for them” attitude straight out of the last days of French royalty. Rather than being viewed as a normal and welcome part of life in which the vast majority of adult human beings participate, sex has become a luxury that is only “allowed” to those who in these peoples’ own opinion are “good enough” to indulge. And clearly, poverty stricken women “don’t deserve” to have sex. Not with male peers from their own social class with few prospects, and not with men from higher social classes who make and break promises to these “objects” of lust. Because, in this world view, no matter how the pregnancy happened, no matter why the abortion did not take place, the man has no responsibility for his actions. The woman, on the other hand, has a crushing responsibility that can not only destroy her financial and emotional future, but heap the contempt of thoughtless people on her as well.

    In short, get off your high horse. It’s really nice to have the luxury of blaming women who have children they didn’t plan. Since, of course, should you accidentally knock someone up, you can just walk away, stall for a few years with paternity tests and moving from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and then whine that “the bitch wouldn’t let me see my kids”. Not that you would do that, of course. But, see, you have that option.

  31. 32
    odanu says:

    RonF. Yes, Jesus refered to the Torah in his teachings. He also specifically claimed to have “fulfilled” the requirements of the Torah, so that those who believed in him were no longer obligated to follow Mosaic law.

    And Jesus’ core teachings are so similar to Eastern religions of his time (including Buddhism) that there is good reason to believe that in the “lost years” of his life he traveled eastward.

    Let me reiterate. In the actual words of Jesus — not what was written by Apostles, not what was written by anonymous authors over thousands of years, but the four Gospels where the words in red letters are generally agreed upon to have been spoken by the Son of Man — there is nothing that can be used to oppress a reasonable person. In fact, the words of Jesus specifically highlight free will.

    Just for kicks and giggles, I went back over the red letter words again last week. Sure enough, the core teaching is doctrineless and immanent, with very few proscriptions and only two commandments: 1) Love God with all your being, and 2) love your neighbor as yourself.

    The doctrine was built up around these words, to contain and control them. Early Christians were very frightening people to the authorities around them, much as followers of Gandhi and the Vietnamese buddhist monks were to the authorities who dealt with them. You cannot strip freedom from a man or woman who has inner peace. The worst you can do is kill them, and all that does is allow them to move on to the next step.

  32. 33
    Brandon Berg says:

    In a few states there are less than 10 abortion clinics statewide, usually centered in urban areas, so that women in rural areas often have to travel for hours to get one.

    It’s really not the kind of thing you have to do on a daily basis. You get a Greyhound ticket and you go. If for some reason you can’t even afford that, then you sell something, or you borrow from a friend, or you get a job, or a second job, or a payday loan, or do whatever it takes. A trip to the nearest city really isn’t that big a deal.

    In addition, for people who live on less than $10,000 per year, the average price of an abortion (between $300-$800) is out of the question.

    Planned Parenthood (and other institutions?) offer reduced rates for young and impoverished women, do they not? Ditto contraception. And if all else fails, there’s adoption.

    As for contraception, not only does it fail…

    Be honest: What percentage of poor mothers do you think became mothers despite consistent and correct use of contraceptives?

    Rather than being viewed as a normal and welcome part of life in which the vast majority of adult human beings participate, sex has become a luxury that is only allowed to those who in these peoples’ own opinion are good enough to indulge.

    Mature, responsible adults can have all the sex they want, for all I care. But actions have consequences, and part of being an adult is understanding that. If you’re not prepared to deal, one way or another, with the potential consequences of sex, and you do it anyway, then you’re not a mature, responsible adult, and you have no business having sex.

    The idea that anyone should be able to have sex whenever he or she wants, with or without contraception, with or without a backup plan like abortion or adoption, and Wal-Mart or the taxpayers or whoever should be forced to subsidize these choices is absurd, and it creates a huge moral hazard.

  33. 34
    Camryl says:

    Scarbo Writes:
    November 22nd, 2005 at 12:27 pm

    > focus on the use of minimum wage as a lever for people to want to get out of minimum wage jobs altogether.

    Um. I’m confused. If these Walmart jobs paid a decent wage, would you want to lower the wage to motivate people to get out of these jobs? If so, why? I mean, is there anything *wrong* with these jobs other than, you know, the poor wages and working conditions and other factors which are under Walmart’s control?

    To recast your argument: “We shouldn’t worry about prosecuting muggers because the fear of muggings motivates people to protect themselves from getting mugged.” Yeah, and if we prosecuted muggers, maybe people wouldn’t need to be afraid.

    > Minimum wage is for teenagers and people who don’t really need the money. You need money, you better be trying to get a better job, somehow, someway.

    Ah, I get it. Your notions are based on an assumption that we actually have enough above-minimum-wage jobs to keep all of our working adults busy for forty hours a week, and enough teenagers who are available enough hours to fill all of our unskilled labor positions.

    We don’t. Next suggestion?

  34. 35
    RonF says:

    Camryl says,

    To recast your argument: “We shouldn’t worry about prosecuting muggers because the fear of muggings motivates people to protect themselves from getting mugged.” Yeah, and if we prosecuted muggers, maybe people wouldn’t need to be afraid.

    So choosing to not manipulate the economic forces surrounding Wal-Mart’s wage practices is equivalent to choosing to not prevent criminal acts?

  35. 36
    nerdlet says:

    Planned Parenthood (and other institutions?) offer reduced rates for young and impoverished women, do they not? Ditto contraception.

    They offer reduced rates for contraception for very poor women, but they’re not allowed to use federal money for abortions.

    In any case, I don’t see why someone should be condemned to become or stay impoverished their entire life because they’ve chosen to raise their own child.

  36. 37
    Mendy says:

    I’m sorry but being a single mom and being poor do not have to be synonomous (sp). My sister had her first child at 16 and her second at 17, and she graduated high school and went to college and now she’s doing quite well for herself and her family.

    And she didn’t have that much support from my very fundamentally religious grandmother, and only a very little support from my mother due to her living on disability. No, my sister took advantage of the government provided programs that are available and chose to better her economic situation.

    I’m not saying that it is easy to do this, but it certainly isn’t impossible. Oh, and most community health units pass out condoms for free, so birth control shouldn’t be that much of an issue. Women should have a policy of “no condom-no sex”. And many lower income women can qualify for reduced cost birth through their county health units as well as Planned Parenthood.

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