When Wired draws ominous parallels between Google and Wal Mart, it is like saying "absolute power corrupts absolutely". But the case against Wal Mart and now Google could be a lot more nuanced than that.
In a time when Wal Mart bashing is getting to be as politically correct as Microsoft bashing, some intelligent counterpoint provides much food for thought.
"Walmart is an example of how ruthless capitalism has always worked. US consumers have proven time and again that want cheap goods more than keeping their neighbors employed."
The same reasoning explains the dragnet charm of America to illegal migrants who will not stop even at sewing themselves into car seats to get across the border.
"The great danger of Wal Mart's success is that the low-price mantra will infect every segment of our commerce and society to the detriment of quality, service, and even our own humanity."
This echoes Gandhi on his Swadeshi movement of which he said:
" What I object to is the craze for machinery, not machinery as such. The craze is for what they call labour-saving machinery. Men go on 'saving labour' till thousands are without work and thrown on the streets to die of starvation.
I want to save time and labour, not for a fraction of mankind, but for all. I want the concentration of wealth, not in the hands of a few, but in the hands of all. Today machinery helps a few to ride on the backs of millions. The impetus behind it is not philanthropy to save labour, but greed.
The aim of 'swadeshi' as such, is a call to the consumer to be aware of the violence he is causing by supporting those industries that result in poverty, harm to workers and to humans and other creatures."
He could have easily been talking of the evil consumers perpertrate on themselves in shopping Wal Mart !
"The standard of living for Americans will decline relative to most other countries. The process of globalization affects a leveling of the standard of living in all countries. Neither governments nor personal outrage will be able to long divert the course of this accelerating process. Wal-Mart is just a visible participant in the change.
Rich countries with high production costs will be forced by economic pressure to accept lower wages in some sectors of the economy. Poorer countries with lower production costs will improve their circumstance. Those of us who wish to oppose this process will be economically disadvantaged if not exhausted. The rest of us will have to work a little harder at accepting change and making the process as painless as possible."
Brilliant argument grounded in the laws of conservation of mass and energy.