Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

January 23, 2005

Help the Poor; Support Wal-Mart

Filed under: — Different River @ 9:21 pm

Someone recently sent me an e-mail with a “joke” about a fictional new product: Wal-Mart’s own brand of wine. It came with a list of highly offensive names for this wine, along the lines of “White Trashfindel” and “Chateau Traileur Parc.”

I don’t think people realize how offensive this is. The term “white trash” (or its more economically explicit version, “poor white trash”) comes from Jim Crow-era idea that blacks are inferior to whites, but SOME whites are just as inferior as blacks. In that era, blacks were called “trash” and whites who were considered just as inferior were called “white trash” to distinguish them from what “everyone knows” is normal (i.e., black) trash. In other words, “white trash” is to non-rich whites what the “n-word” is to blacks. It simply boggles the mind that the term “white trash” is any more acceptable in polite society than the “n-word.”

The making-fun-of-trailer-parks is just as distasteful. Why is it OK to make fun of someone because they can’t afford as nice a house as you can? People live in trailer parks because they want to own their home instead of rent, but can’t afford a regular house. What’s wrong with that? I think it’s worthy of respect, that someone works hard and tries to build up assets even if their income is low.

Furthermore, this whole anti-Wal-Mart thing some people have is horribly anti-poor. I mean, what do they have against low prices? Which is another way of saying, what do they have against poor people being able to afford food and clothes and appliances? Whenever I hear someone (usually a rich college student or zoning busybody with an expensive house) inveighing against Wal-Mart “exploitation” of the poor, I think, how can they be so selfish that only they should be able to afford things? And claim that to deprive the poor of food and clothing makes them superior?

(By the way, did I mention that the e-mail came from a liberal Democrat who claims to object to Wal-Mart on behalf of the poor?)

This whole thing reminded me to two posts I saw on Cafe Hayek a while back, here and here.

And in looking up those links, I came upon this excellent article by Russell Roberts.

4 Responses to “Help the Poor; Support Wal-Mart”

  1. Dave Schuler Says:

    Does the Left hate Wal-Mart because they want to help the poor or because they’re allergic to profits?

  2. Different River Says:

    Sometimes I think they are allergic to success in any form, profits or otherwise. And of course, any kind of change that doesn’t come from government.

  3. andrew Says:

    it exploits the poor cause walmart cheats them out of money when they work there. if walmart raise their prices by one cent it would increase employes paychecks by over a $1000. but i guess that is too much to ask of a company who cant even pay a living wage to most of its emploies

  4. Different River Says:

    If “walmart cheats them out of money when they work there” why do thousands apply jobs whenever one opens? In Chicago, there were 24,500 applicants for 325 openings.

    Do you think the poor are eager to be exploited?

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