As I wrote in my Wal-Mart Watch review of To Serve God and Wal-Mart, the book goes way beyond Wal-Mart in its pages, using Walmart as a kind of proxy for deeper political and cultural changes that have occurred since the company's founding. Robert always liked to use Walmart as a stepping stone to other issues too, so I know he would have appreciated this part (p. 148, endnotes omitted):
"Surveying the millions of dollars worth of "economic education" materials pouring out of corporate PR offices in the mid-1970s, though, the neoconservative intellectual Irving Kristol frankly proclaimed most of them propaganda, and ineffective propaganda at that. Even worse, he declared, honestly improving the quality of high-school economics did not necessarily mean favorable attitudes toward laissez-faire. Far more influential in shaping attitudes, Kristol contended were experience and culture, including the culture of higher education. the repeated findings that college seniors were significantly more antibusiness than freshmen did not necessarily mean that they were failing to study economics in college. Rather, their animus had "more to do with their study of literature, or anthropology, or history or political theory--the 'value-forming' humanities." The remediation Kristol had in mind did not include reducing students' academic exposure to the liberal arts. But through changes in higher education through the 1970s, this path became a de facto solution to the business demand for college-educated yet probusiness white-collar workers. Well before the 1980s "culture wars" over the academic canon, the undergraduate business major became America's default core curriculum."What does this have to with Walmart? Who do you think was funding the business programs at various public and Christian colleges around Arkansas during this era in order to raise its own crop of managers? I'll give you a hint: His first name was Sam. And to think some people believe that letting all that money accumulate in a small number of hands doesn't have real word consequences. On second thought, I guess some people think universities should be run like corporations. I just don't happen to be one of them.