Guest Column

Wal-Mart Refuses to Bow to Its Attackers

Another View
By Dr. Andrew Bernstein
Feb. 15, 2005   

The on-going persecution of Wal-Mart, including the latest uproar over the closing of one of its Canadian stores, is a clear indicator of the malevolence of the anti-capitalist left, charged Dr. Andrew Bernstein, a senior writer for the Ayn Rand Institute.

Wal-Mart, which said that labor organizers would require it to hire 30 unneeded workers and submit to inefficient work rules, chose instead to close its unprofitable store in Jonquiere, Quebec, after its employees voted to form a union. CEO H. Lee Scott declared that Wal-Mart would not accept “altruism” as a way of doing business.

This is a remarkable identification on Wal-Mart’s part, Bernstein emphasized. “The moral code of altruism--the idea that the good lies in sacrificing your wealth, happiness, and even life for the sake of others--is the weapon of choice for those who attack business and capitalism. In the end, the charge is always that productive companies and individuals are evil because they are advancing their own interests, not the interests of others.

“Wal-Mart should follow up by declaring that it proudly works only for its own profit. And it should point out that far from breeding a dog-eat-dog world, its relentless pursuit of profit creates harmony among productive, selfish, just individuals. It deals voluntarily with its suppliers, who prize the vast distribution network created by Wal-Mart, and who try to find ways to lower their own production costs. It deals voluntarily with its 1.5 million employees, who find Wal-Mart’s jobs more profitable than others they could obtain, and who accept that they are paid their market value by their employer. And it deals voluntarily with its customers, who demonstrate with every single self-interested purchase at Wal-Mart that they want good products at low prices.”

Bernstein concluded: “The fact that Wal-Mart’s productivity enriches countless lives reveals that its attackers don’t actually care about others. The doctrine of altruism is not a tool to advance man’s welfare but a weapon to penalize the successful for being successful.”

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Dr. Andrew Bernstein, a senior writer for the Ayn Rand Institute, is available for interviews on this topic. Contact: larryb@aynrand.org or 800-365-6552 ext. 213.