Monday, February 18, 2008


A quick rebuttal to the idea (mentioned in the previous post) that people who are concerned about caring for the poor should shop at Walmart in order to save money and then donate such savings to charity:

Shopping at a thrift store, such as The Salvation Army, Out of the Closet, Overcomer Outreach, etc. is in every way a better idea. First of all, it's typically cheaper. Secondly, the wares will probably last longer and be of higher quality. And third, the money goes toward supporting a *good* company, instead of a wicked one.

Case closed. And if you're buying groceries, support a local produce market. Or just buy things that are on sale. And if you really want to save money on food, switch to a diet high in beans and rice, and low in processed and/or luxury foods.


Miranda said...

amen sister.

kellishares said...

I'm sure that your perception is correct that your fellow-students have a strong negative gut reaction to the idea of helping the poor, although it's difficult for me to see how supporting collective bargaining could be personally painful or sacrificial for them. However, be careful that you do not judge either corporations or labor unions too hastily. There is some good and bad in all of them. Their corporate (I'm using the word in the sense of "a unified body of individuals," not the legal sense) motivations may be evil, while their actions do good, or their intentions might be of the purest but their actions do harm. Organizations, like individuals, are always a mixture, and we must be careful to consider both the good and bad effects of their behavior before we make sweeping global statements about their morality. For instance, I have heard Lee Scott speak on the mission of Wal-Mart to bring affordable quality goods to the poorer segments of the population in order to raise their quality of life. And might it not be true that the people who now make Levis need those jobs more than the Americans who formerly had them? And while I applaud the gains that collective bargaining has procured for workers, there are costs to the worker associated with them as well, not least of all the bankrupting of businesses that can no longer afford to provide the extraordinary benefits that labor unions have won, thus destroying the very livelihoods that sustain the workers.

I'm not saying that Wal-Mart is good, nor that labor unions are bad; just that they are too complicated for me to morally categorize wholesale.

I'm done judging you for judging them, and now you can judge me for judging you.

Virgie P. said...

If Wal-Mart's stated mission is to raise the quality of life of poorer segments of the population, yet they do so by creating an oppressive work environment for the segment of the population they are supposedly trying to better, they are defeating their own purpose, and are probably not being honest about their true intentions.

I never denied that Wal-mart may have done some good, nor that unions can be corrupt or cause other problems. But I do believe general trends toward good or evil can be distinguished in both individuals and organizations.

I think that blurring one's vision to the point of seeing everyone and everything as being in some sort of moral "gray" area immobilizes people such that they cannot do the much needed work of naming evil as such and working to stop it.

jenzai studio said...

oh man I wish I had something intelligent to contribute here, but, being someone who can generally see both sides to an argument, I'm kind of left paralyzed. All I can think to ask is whether you've read Barabara Kingsolver's Animal Vegetable Miracle yet? I haven't but am wanting to. I generally tend to think that buying local is always better, on pretty much every front, though I have to admit that we frequently buy our black beans (a staple at our house) at the Walmart "Neighborhood" Market (I can't believe I just admitted that publicly!). It's just so darn convenient!