TIM WORSTALL DOESN’T UNDERSTAND WALMART…

Tim Worstall thinks we should all be thankful for our cheap plastic crap from China and be good little consumers so that the economy will continue to chuck along producing profits and bonuses and dividends for those with enough disposable income to invest in gamble on the stock market. Writing in Bernie Sanders Doesn't Understand Trade And Why It Is Good That Walmart Saves Consumers $263 Billion for Fortune magazine, Worstall gets around to the Bentonvile Behemoth:
Which brings us to the Walmart comparison. Being able to buy from China and being able to buy from Walmart have the same effect upon households. Both are cheaper sources of the things that we desire: thus being able to get the same stuff with money left over, or being able to get more stuff for our incomes, makes us better off. And we’ve got very good estimates of how much better off Walmart has made us:
There is little dispute that Wal-Mart’s price reductions have benefited the 120 million American workers employed outside of the retail sector. Plausible estimates of the magnitude of the savings from Wal-Mart are enormous---a total of $263 billion in 2004, or $2,329 per household. [We debunked that fake number years ago. JH] Even if you grant that Wal-Mart hurts workers in the retail sector---and the evidence for this is far from clear---the magnitude of any potential harm is small in comparison. One study, for example, found that the “Wal-Mart effect” lowered retail wages by $4.7 billion in 2000.
That’s from Jason Furman, Obama’s Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers. This is not some far out free market estimate, this is the received economic mainstream talking. The reason we trade is to get things cheaper or better than we can make them ourselves. This is true whether we’re talking about buying goods from foreigners or because we start to patronise one retailer over another. The end aim is that we all get to consume more, the very definition of making ourselves better off.
Worstall's analysis falls apart in that last sentence because who gets to be included in that we and that ourselves is critical. I'm sure that the people Worstall associates with are fairing very well (well, maybe not very well, but well enough given the Republican greed driven crash of 2007 that still echoes through our economy eight years later), but I would suggest Worstall curl up with Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America and become familiar with the other 99 percent. Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.Walmart, Wal-Mart

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