Friday, April 9, 2010

Watch the Growth of Walmart

A very cool moving flowchart shows the growth of Walmart from one store in 1962 to a national giant. Watch it here.

And it remains financially strong, surviving only because consumers choose to shop there. No forced programs on the people. No new taxes "to bring down prices." Just plain old providing the consumer with what the consumer wants.


  1. No mention of the free land "given" to walmart by the state through the use of eminent domain?

    No mention of the ingress and egress roadways "given" to walmart by the state, so walmart didn't have to build these roads to its shopping centers itself?

    No mention of the ridiculous labor laws that castrate workers in front of their employers and the ridiculous laws requiring X amount of benefits to be provided to workers, which are enforced by the state, that provide artificial barriers to entry to the market and decrease competition against walmart?

  2. Glen L,

    I couldn't agree with you more, and my guess is Wenzel is aware of and acknowledges these aspects of Wal-Mart's success as well. However, my assumption is that he is operating off of the belief that these were minor reasons for Wal-Mart's success, not major ones.

    Do you contend these items mostly explain Wal-Mart's success, or that Wal-Mart's success is mostly do to entrepreneurial success within a system of voluntary exchange and service?

    And if you contend they are mostly responsible for Wal-Mart's success, can I ask how you quantify and compare the various contributing factors?

  3. I'm certainly not in a position to probably quantify and compare the various contributing factors to walmart's success as these same factors are, obviously, endemic to the entire domestic and global system.

    I will say that I do believe without the state and the grants and subsidies it continuous gives to "big business" to the exclusion of smaller firms, the transportation subsidies it provides by its construction and maintenance of roads (from local streets to cross country highways), and the use of military aggression that helps keep fuel prices down, I believe the entire global economy would look much much different. These outrageous diseconomies of scale that develop in every growing global corporations are, in my opinion, near impossible in a freed market. I would expect more localized economies with smaller firms due to increased competition in both the market for goods and the labor market.

    Sorry if that's something of an unsatisfying answer. Its, of course, possible massive firms like walmart would exist in a freed market, I just don't believe that's true. So, its incredibly difficult for me to parse out or apportion credit to any specific factors for walmart's success

  4. Glen L,

    Good response. I appreciate your thoughtfulness. The point of my asking was to either see if you had some calculation tool that was useful, or if you didn't, to see if you had the courage to admit you don't.

    It's okay to have an opinion like yours so long as you are willing to admit that things could be different. That's the sign of an honest thinker in my opinion. Well done!