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Wal-Mart, Always...Lobbying

Lobbying and Political Action Committees are the middlemen between MNCs and the state. Wal-Mart executives know this and take full advantage of this and is of the “top 20 PAC contributors to federal candidates in 2004” contributing 1.6 million (Wal-Mart in Washington). Additionally, according to Wal-Mart they only support pro-business candidates and usually lean Republican. Evidence of this is the relationship of Wal-Mart stores to the voting patterns in the 2000 election. According to Bloomberg News, two thirds of all Wal-Mart stores are located in “red-states.” Wal-Mart has little power in “blue-states” due to its labor and union stance. (Costco, Wal-Mart duel in political arena) Controlling the minimum wage, tarriffs and unions has been a mainstay of Wal-Marts political strategy.

Free-trade is a big part of their agenda. Accordingly, Wal-Mart supports “Bush's expansion of free-trade agreements and its bid to curtail the number of workers eligible for overtime pay.” (Costco, Wal-Mart duel in political arena) Wal-Marts connections with China are well known. When parts of a US-China trade agreement were cut, Wal-Mart knew it had to up their political presence. Thus, they hired their first lobbyist in 1998. Currently, Wal-Mart negotiates directly with Chinese government on the installation of new stores. (Wal-Mart asserts itself) Wal-Marts power is heard loud an clear by NGOs as well. An example of this is their influence on Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) where they lobby changes to allow “Central American manufacturers to use some less-expensive cloth, including denim, from Mexico.” (Joining the PAC: Wal-Mart Opens for Business In a Tough Market: Washington) This results in cheaper manufacturing for Wal-Mart and loss of business for US textiles companies.

The State of Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart makes a great example of “Orthodox Liberalism through Corporate Realism.” This is a corporation that realized the political gain of lobbying and the use of government influence both domestically and internationally. They use every advantage they possible to reduce costs and reduce their restrictions. Neither states nor NGOs have the ability to resist Wal-Mart and their lobbying power and it shows. CAFTA minimum wage restrictions and etc are perfect examples of how Wal-Mart is gaining power through the government. Moreover, Wal-Mart dealing directly with China on store placement and unions are examples of how they are becoming more powerful than states.

Want to read more? Check out part 1 or My Definitions

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