Which has cheaper products Amazon or Walmart

Amazon and Wal-Mart: Pioneers of exploitation


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There are broken pieces on the escalator. Weeds grow between broken granite slabs, dried-up tree stumps remind us that palm trees once stood here. Rolling Acres used to be the shopping mecca in Akron, Ohio. Now the system is one of the so-called dead malls - abandoned malls that can now be found all over the United States.

As once empty factory halls heralded the end of industrial mass production in the USA, these ruins are the sign of another fundamental upheaval. It has not only changed how consumers shop between New York and San Francisco. It also changes the way Americans work. While Donald Trump searches for the culprits for the lost jobs in Mexico and China, those responsible are in Bentonville and Seattle. The two companies that are driving this development are based there: Wal-Mart and Amazon.

The retail group Wal-Mart from the small town of Bentonville in the state of Arkansas is one of the top-selling companies in the world. Amazon is the market leader in online retail and is based in Seattle, Washington state. Both are looking for offers around the world in order to attract as many customers as possible with low prices. In doing so, they not only displace other providers, which is why so many shops and shopping centers have to close. At the same time, they have accelerated the relocation of millions of jobs to low-wage countries and promoted China's rise to global economic power.

Wal-Mart and Amazon are changing the way the American economy works - and that has political ramifications. Donald Trump found his voters especially in the former industrial regions of the Midwest and in the southern United States, where almost all textile manufacturers have disappeared and where most of the empty factories and deserted shopping centers are to be found. The rants against cheap imports and his praise for "made in USA" were particularly well received by the losers of the retail revolution.

But Trump's recipes against the misery - high import tariffs, a wall to Mexico and pressure on companies to manufacture in the USA - will not reverse the trend. Because there are recipes for an economy supported by mass production that no longer exist in this form.

The revolution began in 1950 in the provincial town of Bentonville, deep in the south of the country. At that time Sam Walton took over a general store and founded the company motto: "Every day low prices". Walton's method is the basis of business to this day: In order to make a profit, he looked for producers who supplied him with increasingly cheaper goods.

The method has remained the same to this day, only the dimensions have changed. In 1988, Wal-Mart opened the first Supercenter, a hall the size of a football field with toys, electronics, household appliances, clothing, furniture - plus the classic range of a supermarket. Especially in rural areas and suburbs, the trip to Wal-Mart became a family ritual. Local competition on Main Street was soon left behind. Wal-Mart, meanwhile, achieved a turnover of 486 billion dollars in the past fiscal year - that is more than the gross domestic product of Austria. Every week 260 million customers shop in one of the 11,500 stores.

Wal-Mart soon became the most important customer for many producers. For Procter & Gamble, for example. The maker of Pampers and Ariel makes almost 14 percent of its total sales annually with Wal-Mart, about ten billion dollars, like that Wall Street Journal determined last year. At Pepsi it is 13 percent and at Kellogg as much as 20 percent. Wal-Mart sells a quarter of all groceries in the US. Hundreds of branded product manufacturers have opened offices in Bentonville to be close to their major customers.