Corporate Playa Hatas

A few months ago, I wrote:

If one were looking for a shining example of a Randian protagonist, Wal-Mart is it. Wal-Mart is hated for no other reason than being so damn successful.

Some people took me task in the comment thread, but in a later post, I defended my original remarks.

[T]he only thing that meaningfully separates Wal-Mart from its competitors is its incredible success. Wal-Mart got to where it is today by doing what successful businesses do best: developing more efficient practices for delivering value to their customers, cutting costs, inventing new business processes (in Wal-Mart’s case, they revolutionized supply-chain management and database management), and most importantly, satisfying the subjective preferences of consumers. ...

These successful business practices have given Wal-Mart a huge market share, and this makes the company a very visible target. When people think of big corporations, they think of Wal-Mart. When people think of cheap products made with sweatshop labor, they think of Wal-Mart. When people think of the “creative destruction” that capitalism inevitably brings, i.e. the closing of sentimental but inefficient and pricey mom-and-pop stores and their replacement with large, impersonal retail chains, they think of Wal-Mart. These are the reasons why Wal-Mart is hated, and, despite the corporate subsidies enjoyed by Wal-Mart and every other large corporation in a mixed economy, these are the reasons why Wal-Mart should be defended from its critics.

Kip Esquire has a powerful post echoing these sentiments:

It bears repeating -- over and over and over. Companies that are successful are successful for a reason. Yes, sometimes the success is nefarious (e.g., sweetheart deals with government, corrupt business practices, even outright criminal conduct), but they never last long and have more to do with human nature generally than with any inherent defect in capitalism. The real success stories, the Wal-Marts, Microsofts, Apples, McDonalds, etc., got where they are by making the world a better place. ...

Of all the socialist logical-pretzel-twisting arguments one is likely to see, the notion that it's good for consumers to pay higher prices has to be the single most perverse. Perhaps even evil. People who advocate such nonsense are not motivated by concern for workers or small businesses...they are motivated by hatred of the successful.

[Emphasis in the original]

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