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The Wal-Mart Effect: How the World's Most Powerful Company Really Works--and HowIt's Transforming the American Economy [Paperback]

Charles Fishman
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Dec 26 2006
Wal-Mart isn’t just the world’s biggest company, it is probably the world’s most written-about. But no book until this one has managed to penetrate its wall of silence or go beyond the usual polemics to analyze its actual effects on its customers, workers, and suppliers. Drawing on unprecedented interviews with former Wal-Mart executives and a wealth of staggering data (e.g., Americans spend $36 million an hour at Wal-Mart stores, and in 2004 its growth alone was bigger than the total revenue of 469 of the Fortune 500), The Wal-Mart Effect is an intimate look at a business that is dramatically reshaping our lives.

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The Wal-Mart Effect: How the World's Most Powerful Company Really Works--and HowIt's Transforming the American Economy + Sam Walton: Made In America
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Fishman shops at Wal-Mart and has obvious affection for its price-cutting, hard-nosed ethos. He also understands that the story of Wal-Mart is really the story of the transformation of the American economy over the past 20 years. He's careful to present the consumer benefits of Wal-Mart's staggering growth and to place Wal-Mart in the larger context of globalization and the rise of mega-corporations. But he also presents the case against Wal-Mart in arresting detail, and his carefully balanced approach only makes the downside of Wal-Mart's market dominance more vivid. Through interviews with former Wal-Mart insiders and current suppliers, Fishman puts readers inside the company's penny-pinching mindset and shows how Wal-Mart's mania to reduce prices has driven suppliers into bankruptcy and sent factory jobs overseas. He surveys the research on Wal-Mart's effects on local retailers, details the environmental impact of its farm-raised salmon and exposes the abuse of workers in a supplier's Bangladesh factory. In Fishman's view, the "Wal-Mart effect" is double-edged: consumers benefit from lower prices, even if they don't shop at Wal-Mart, but Wal-Mart has the power of life and death over its suppliers. Wal-Mart, he suggests, is too big to be subject to market forces or traditional rules. In the end, Fishman sees Wal-Mart as neither good nor evil, but simply a fact of modern life that can barely be comprehended, let alone controlled.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

The "Wal-Mart effect" has become a common phrase in the vocabulary of economists and includes a broad range of effects, such as forcing local competitors out of business, driving down wages, and keeping inflation low and productivity high. On a global scale, Wal-Mart's relentless commitment to "everyday low prices" has had a massive impact on the trend toward importing from countries like China and the resultant loss of manufacturing jobs here. Because of its strict policy on secrecy, surprisingly little is known about the inside workings of the largest corporation ever in the U.S and now the world. Although much has been written before on the legendary story of Sam Walton, Fishman finally takes us inside the carefully guarded workings of the "Wal-Mart ecosystem," where management surrender their lives and families, working 12 hours a day, six days a week, in a near-holy quest toward the never-ending goal of lower prices. He brings to light the serious repercussions that are occurring as consumers and suppliers have become locked in an addiction to massive sales of cheaper and cheaper goods. David Siegfried
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Starting in the early 1990s, a change swept through a line of products that most adult Americans use every day. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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By flerm
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Well researched. Not just another pro or con book, but in insight into how pervasive the Wal-Mart corporate ideology pervades our lives. Hopefully people realise that a race to the bottom still ends up at the bottom. Unfortunately, most people are selfish and will happily support this if it benefits themselves.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Informative and Interesting April 23 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I found this book to be much more interesting than expected. It's informative, with a lot of the information and arguments put forth being original to the author, at least at the time of publishing. It is well written and easy to read. I recommend the version of the book with the new introduction by the author.
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Mr. Fishman has written a very focused book that explores the “Wallmart Effect” to the consumer, the supplier and society in general. For the consumer, Wallmart has been an effective bargainer getting the best prices for the consumer that money can buy. As a consequence, consumers have been able to buy more stuff at cheaper prices. An interesting story is used to illustrate the consumer accumulation of stuff as observed by the Haines underwear company. With a drop in price of boxers, y-fronts and panties, the company thought the consumer would save their money to spend on other items. They’ve observed the opposite. Consumers spent as much money on their underclothes as they had done previously at the higher prices. They were simply purchasing more of them to the extent that Haine's marketing specialists couldn’t figure out what consumers were doing with all that underwear. They couldn't possibly wear it all. My daughter purchased enough underwear to only have to do laundry once a month but how many of us want to do that? For suppliers, Wallmart can be their best friend and their worst enemy. Suppliers are squeezed to sell their products at the very cheapest price often to the detriment of the quality of that product and the sustainability of their company. The Levi name was added the list of products offered by Wallmart only to be forced to sell an inferior product under their name. The “Snapper” company ended their relationship with Wallmart because they didn’t want an inferior lawnmower sold at that store to be mistaken for the more expensive version sold elsewhere. The impact of Wallmart on the towns and small communities where it’s introduced is also explored. Read more ›
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book on so many levels March 3 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I may be biased because I had the opportunity to have a Q&A session with the author in my MBA class. Either way it is an in depth and insightful look at one of the most influential companies in history.
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