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Walmart: 50 Years of Facilitating America’s Industrial Decline

Common Dreams staff

Retail giant Walmart, the second-largest corporation on the planet, has not gotten the scrutiny it deserves for "facilitating America’s industrial decline," says a report released Monday from Demos.

The report, "NOT Made in America: Top 10 Ways Walmart Destroys US Manufacturing Jobs" comes as Walmart celebrates its 50th anniversary this week and is on the heels of a weekend protest in which 4,000 Walmart workers and supporters marched in Los Angeles under the banner “Walmart = Poverty” while similar marches took place in New York, Chicago and other cities.

Demos' report highlights ten ways in which Walmart has played a role decline of American industry:

1. Buying billions of goods that weren’t made in America.
2. Pushing U.S. companies to move their factories overseas.
3. Making it easier for other U.S. retailers to buy from foreign factories.
4. Forcing layoffs among its U.S. suppliers.
5. Promoting domestic sweatshops.
6. Squeezing U.S. manufacturers out of business.
7. Discouraging American innovation.
8. Driving competitors to squeeze manufacturing.
9. Lobbying for policies that make it easier to move U.S. jobs overseas.
10. Making growing inequality the accepted norm

As Local economy advocate Stacy Mitchell writes, "Walmart's history is the story of what has gone wrong in the American economy. Wages have stagnated. The middle class has shrunk. The ranks of the working poor have swelled. Whatever we may have saved shopping at Walmart, we've more than paid for it in diminished opportunities and declining income."

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