March 16, 2005

Prof. Bainbridge's Conservative Case Against WM

I missed this well-rounded net assessment of the economic impact of Wal-Mart, which is guided by an understanding of the importance of the small retailer in American economic life. He concludes thus:

Being a conservative is supposed to be about things like tradition, community, and, yes, aesthetics. If I'm right about that, it's hard to see why a conservative should regard Wal-Mart as a societal force for good even if Hugh's right about the job story.

So what do we do? Well, we must strike a balance between respect for private property rights (see my Kelo post) and our other values. How? On the one hand, government should not legislate against Wal-Mart and its ilk. On the other hand, government should not subsidize Wal-Mart either through zoning or tax breaks. Wal-Mart�s a big boy, so to speak, who can take care of itself. We ought to let it compete in a free market. And those of us with a bully pulpit out to use it to encourage Wal-Mart to become a better neighbor and citizen.

I'll note one thing; this is perhaps the most honest, respectful, and courteous WM-cautionary tale I have read since starting this blog. Even when dissing WM, one fails to find nastiness in Prof. Bainbridge's prose...

Posted by Kevin on March, 16 2005 at 01:24 PM