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How to Think About Walmart

The Atlantic

Last week, four economics experts publicly debated whether the retailer represents the best capitalism has to offer, or the worst.

While the company’s economic impact is historical and undeniable, a recent debate, put on by Intelligence Squared U.S. in New York, asked whether Walmart’s existence is something that leaves Americans better off. John Tierney, a contributing editor of City Journal, and Richard Vedder, an economist at Ohio University who wrote 2006’s The Wal-Mart Revolution: How Big-Box Stores Benefit Consumers, Workers, and the Economy, argued in favor of the retailer. Making the case against Walmart were Nelson Lichtenstein, an economics professor at UC Santa Barbara, and Amy Traub, from Demos, a left-leaning research and advocacy group.