Essay about Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Prices
1948 Words8 Pages
Environmental Studies is the academic field, which systematically studies human interaction with the environment in which we live in. It is a broad field of study that includes the natural environment, built environment, and the sets of relationships between them. Environmental studies takes into account many different factors that help provide an enjoyable, fruitful way of life, such as national policies, politics, laws, economics, sociology and other social aspects, planning, pollution control, natural resources, and the interactions of human beings and nature. Walmart has had a long-standing presence in America society since the middle of the 20th century, seen as a place to get everything done, Walmart has become a fixation in our…show more content…
Walmart also has had battles dealing with sexual discrimination regarding women and as well as members of the LGBT community. Another big issue affecting the welfare of the human population, which is crucial in the development of a stable society and ecosystem, are the work labor issues involved in Chinese factories. Taking a closer look at the issues will hopefully develop an idea of how hurtful Walmart truly is to the environment. From economic, developmental and environmental standpoints, Walmart is not the savior they claim to be. Some may claim a Walmarts’ arrival in a community is helpful to improve the growth and development in the community, but others tell a different story. Many claim that a Walmart is great way to create new jobs in the community. They are partially right, between construction and development, plenty of jobs are created. Also, about 300 retail jobs are created based on the amount needed to run a Walmart super center twenty fours a day, seven days a week. However, Kenneth Stone, a professor of economics at Iowa State University, conducted a study in which two Super Walmart centers in two different states were evaluated. The study lasted about two years and showed that for every one job Walmart had created, 1.4 jobs were lost in local communities (Davidson 1). Walmarts’ low prices come with additional costs that we are
Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price is a 2005 documentary film by directorRobert Greenwald and Brave New Films. The film presents a negative picture of Wal-Mart's business practices through interviews with former employees, small business owners, and footage of Wal-Mart executives. Greenwald also uses statistics interspersed between interview footage, to provide an objective analysis of the effects Wal-Mart has on individuals and communities.
The film features archival footage of Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott praising the corporation at a large employee convention, intercut with interviews designed to undercut Scott's statements.
The documentary argues that Wal-Mart underpays its workers, paying them an average of $17,000 per year (in 2005 dollars). According to the interviews, these wages are too low for employees to afford Wal-Mart's health insurance, so management counsels workers to apply for government programs such as Medicaid instead. Greenwald also claims that Wal-Mart hires undocumented workers for their cleanup crews, paying them well below minimum wage. Other criticisms of the retail mega-chain include Wal-Mart's anti-union practices, its negative effect on mom and pop stores and small communities, insufficient environmental protection policies, and its poor record on worker's rights in the United States and internationally. Scenes filmed abroad document factory workers in Bangladesh and China creating Wal-Mart goods for as little as 18 cents an hour. One 9-year veteran of Wal-Mart testifies that he was moved to tears when he viewed the conditions in clothing manufacturing facilities in Latin America. He reported the abuses but the company did not correct them. The documentary also argues that Wal-Mart's parking lots have unusually high crime rates, a situation that could be vastly improved if the company were willing to spend the money to place cameras outside the stores.
To avoid accusations of a partisan POV, most of Greenwald's interviews are of politically conservative, patriotic, "red state" citizens who are distressed about Wal-Mart's policies and impact.
As the film draws to a close, Greenwald documents the efforts of several communities that have successfully blocked Wal-Marts from opening in their towns, suggesting that others should do the same.
Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price has enjoyed critical acclaim and earned a 93% on the Tomatometer at Rotten Tomatoes.The Boston Globe calls it "advocacy journalism at its most unsparing, and it demands to be seen, discussed, argued with, and acted upon."  The ViewLondon reviews says, "If Greenwald’s intention was to make the audience very angry indeed then the film is a resounding success." 
The film has been endorsed and promoted by MoveOn.org; unions, through the Wake Up Wal-Mart and Wal-Mart Watch campaigns; and other groups.
Some reviewers have observed that while the documentary features stories of former employees and residents of communities that Wal-Mart has impacted, it does not sufficiently explore the customers' role in Wal-Mart's financial success, despite its business practices.
Wal-Mart has disputed the factual accuracy of the statements made in the film.Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price has been credited as one of the reasons that Wal-Mart created a public relations "war room" in late 2005 to respond to criticism.
- ^"Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price". International Movie Database. Retrieved 24 November 2012.
- ^ abc"Walmart: The High Cost of Low Price (2005)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 14 January 2014.
- ^ abcdBurr, Ty (11 November 2005). "Dogged documentary presents a damning case against Wal-Mart". Boston Globe.
- ^ abRoten, Robert (20 November 2005). "Laramie Movie Scope: Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Prices".
- ^ abTurner, Matthew (10 May 2006). "Walmart: The High Cost of Low Price". The ViewLondon Review.
- ^ abFox, Ken (4 November 2005). "Wal-mart: The High Cost of Low Price". TV Guide’s Movie Guide.
- ^ abcBrussat, Frederic & Mary Ann (4 December 2005). "Film Review". Spirituality and Practice.
- ^Nesbit, John (26 January 2006). "Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price (2005)". Old School Reviews.
- ^ abcTuran, Kenneth (4 November 2005). "'Wal-Mart' seen through the eyes of the disaffected". Los Angeles Times.
- ^ abAnderson, John (3 November 2005). "Review: 'Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price'". Variety.
- ^Clark, Sarah (25 October 2005). "Robert Greenwald to Release Another Misleading Video"(PDF). Walmart.
- ^Barbaro, Michael (November 1, 2005). "A New Weapon for Wal-Mart: A War Room". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 November 2012.