Monday, March 14, 2011

Catching Up: Globalization and WalMart

New research finds that the more globalized a country or an individual is, the more likely they are to favor globalization. Globalization may itself help create the global public goods we need to govern globalization. The shocking part to me is that it’s Bourdreaux linking to a piece supporting global public goods when I’ve heard him speak out against the very notion.

A defense of globalization in mitigating famine.

A defense of WalMart
Wal-Mart makes downtown areas more diverse and lively. … This happy effect of Wal-Mart first dawned on me back in the mid-1990s when I lived near Greenville, SC.  Many of my older friends in South Carolina … described the hardware store that no longer exists on Main St., as well as the barber shop, the mom’n'pop grocery store, the diner, and the pharmacy.  But the Main St. in Greenville that I knew (having moved to South Carolina only in 1992) was booming and lively with fusion restaurants, art galleries, wine bars, and up-scale gift shops.
In chatting with a friend about this proposed effect, we wondered what coordination effects were necessary for this happy outcome instead of the sudden death of an area that becomes unrecovered urban blight. Would a study to evaluate under what conditions WalMart produces blight or upscale neighborhoods be best done by its critics or its proponents? Which would be more readily believed?

Speaking of WalMart, in a piece that is more optimistic that M. Nestle’s thoughts, WalMart’s moves to improve the nutrition of the foods it offers is seen as part of a greater trend in our more highly concentrated food market. The larger firms become, the greater a difference their individual impacts have. This increases the moral salience of their choices and so they will continue to internalize their externalities. This impact is independent of third-party monitors and culture.

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