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Is Wal-Mart Good for America?沃尔玛的官僚主义机制对美国经济的研究

Is Wal-Mart Good for America?
1. What is Wal-Mart? It is thousands of various goods under one roof, and it is a chain of nearly 34 hundred stores all over the country. Wal-Mart is a unique company with tremendous power and influence (Wal-Mart’s Revolutionary Power, 2004). It sets a new standard for other companies to follow, if they want to compete.
Wal-Mart is best understood from a functionalist perspective, because it focuses on customer needs and customer satisfaction. And its slogan about everyday low prices is not only truthful, but it also seems to show indifference to financial side. The clearest evidence of it is the ability to buy everyday staff much cheaper, than in other stores. Although the quality of goods is often not satisfactory, still one would hardly find a less expensive store, than Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart is a law unto itself, and it does not regard the opinions of critics, opponents or press. Its main concern is customers; that is why it aims efforts at functional and practical side of business. Wal-Mart’s economy is based on the principle of low pricing. Every dollar, saved by a customer, makes it possible for them to buy other goods. Once a customer visited a Wal-Mart store, it is hard for them to resist the temptation of going there again.
2. Wal-Mart is a large bureaucratic organization, which embodies Weber’s concept of rationalization and there are a lot of evidences of it. First of all, it is important to explain the main ideas of Weber’s theory. Rationalization is a major concept in the analysis of modern capitalism (Lieberman, 2006). It consists of a number of related processes, in the course of which every aspect of human life becomes a calculation. It brings about spread of bureaucracy, state control and administration. While on the subject of Wal-Mart, it should be mentioned that it tries to increase the productivity of work by all means. Some researchers consider that those, who clamor about the Wal-Mart’s business, simply do not understand the economy itself. In economy only those companies who best serve customer needs, achieve success in their business (Semmens). But on the whole, today rationalized system is an inevitable part of business organization.
3. George Ritzer defined McDonaldization as “a process by which the principles of the fast-food restaurant are coming to dominate more and more sectors of American society as well as rest of the world” (Ritzer, 2003). The reason for such a process lies in all those conveniences that McDonalds chain of restaurants provides for their customers. And we can see that the same thing is now happening with Wal-Mart. It becomes more and more popular with customers, but gradually ruins the economy of the country. Wal-Mart embodies Ritzer’s four principles: efficiency, calculability, predictability, and control (Ritzer, 2003). It also exemplifies its rationalization. However, these four principles often work for the prosperity of business, but not customers. Wal-Mart successfully predicts and controls the demands of the customers and fulfills their needs in order to keep business running smoothly. Despite the destructive power of McDonaldization, described by Ritzer, it is clear that the more people visit McDonalds, the harder it is to stop the process. McDonalds and Wal-Mart have much in common. For example, efficiency of McDonalds, as one of Ritzer’s principles, lies in the opportunity to buy food quickly, while efficiency of Wal-Mart lies in providing customers with a great number of low-priced goods under one roof. In this regard, we can see the similarity between these two processes in modern society.

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