The poverty of our century is unlike that of any other. It is not, as poverty was before, the result of natural scarcity, but of a set of priorities imposed upon the rest of the world by the rich. Consequently, the modern poor are not pitied... but written off as trash. The twentieth-century consumer economy has produced the first culture for which a beggar is a reminder of nothing. ~John Berger
Always

Jimmy’s dad ran a pharmacy, Sally’s mom a bakery, Billy’s gramps a tire shop. They all had a great business sense and were liked by the town folk. Unfortunately they paid their employees a fair wage and did not have the buying power of the shiny new Wal*Mart. Long-time dedicated customers began opting for the big-box cheapness over the quality service. Due to slow sales at the bakery Sally’s mom could no longer afford goods at the local tire shop and pharmacy so she too hit the Wal*Mart. Billy’s dad and Kenny’s grandpa followed. A few months later Jimmy, Sally, and Billy were all working at Wal*Mart since their parents could not support them on their unemployment checks alone.

*In the mid-1990s, Wal-Mart had a “Buy American” campaign, which was eventually cancelled. By 2005, about 60% of Wal-Mart’s merchandise was imported, compared to 6% in 1995.

* US counties with more Wal-Mart stores showed evidence of increasing rates of poverty relative to those with fewer stores.

*Many of Wal-Mart’s employees are forced to apply for government-funded healthcare, food stamps, and other programs to make ends meet.

*Wal-Mart institutes pay caps which are primarily an effort to push higher paid, veteran workers out of the company.

*Wal-Mart moved over 1.5 million jobs to China between 1989 and 2003

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