In response to Fast Company‘s December feature about Wal-Mart, Dave Pollard diagrams what he terms the “Wal-Mart Dilemma.” So doing, he considers the role of regulation as an intervention that can help slow the race to the bottom.”
The answer is not to blame the Wal-Mart shopper for buying imported goods there, because in the vicious red cycle it’s all they can afford — they’re paradoxically forced to perpetuate the cycle and sustain their own and others’ poverty. And the answer is not to blame Wal-Mart either: They’re doing what their corporate charter dictates, using their immense buying power (they sell a quarter trillion dollars worth of goods each year) to increase earnings per share, and in the process they have introduced some unarguably beneficial innovations into their, and their suppliers’, business processes.
The answer is to recognize that ‘free’ trade laws need to be limited to goods and services that cannot be reasonably produced domestically, and pressure politicians to reimpose duties and other regulations on those goods and services that can.
What do you think? Is regulation the answer?