12.30.2004

Saw a genius episode of South Park last night talking about how Wal–Mart helps folks kill their own towns last night, and keeping with that here's one we found over the holiday...
Wal–Mart's China inventory to hit US$18b this year
ChinaDaily.com (11.29.04)

The world's largest retailer, Wal–Mart Stores Inc, says its inventory of stock produced in China is expected to hit US$18 billion this year, keeping the annual growth rate of over 20 per cent consistent over two years.

The trend is expected to continue, company officials revealed.

"We expect our procurement stock from China to continue to grow at a similar rate in line with Wal-Mart's growth worldwide, if not faster," said Lee Scott, the president and CEO (chief executive officer) of Wal–Mart.

Good for Wal–Mart, good for China, bad for our economy since Wal–Mart single handely supresses wages and keeps them low (among other things).

A market rumour says the retailer has its eyes on a 340,000–square metre warehouse at a logistics garden of the Shanghai Waigaoqiao Bonded Area.

Scott covertly visited the site earlier this month, and hopes to own the whole warehouse to accommodate the firm's further expansion in China.

At present, Wal–Mart has quite limited warehouse resources in East China.

Xu Jun, Wal–Mart China's director of external affairs, ruled out the rumour, saying the CEO has never visited that or any other site for a warehouse.

[snip]

"If Wal–Mart were an individual economy, it would rank as China's eighth-biggest trading partner, ahead of Russia, Australia and Canada," Xu said.

Last year, the firm bought US$15 billion products from China, half from direct purchasing, the other from the firm's suppliers in China.

[snip]

Insiders point out Wal–Mart's imports from China have largely influenced the US trade deficit in China, which is expected to reach US$150 billion this year.

Hmmm, maybe we did post this before... oh well, doesn't matter: this can't be said enough so take a look and STOP FUCKING SHOPPING AT WAL–MART!

Economy not kind to working poor Atlanta Journal–Constitution (12.29.04)

Despite reports of an improving economy, some charities say growing numbers of people have come to them in recent months asking for help to pay the rent or feed their children.

The Sullivan Center, which takes applications for rental assistance one day a month, got requests from 399 people Tuesday. Over the previous three months, more than 400 people have come in every month to seek help with rent or utilities, said Sister Marie Sullivan. That's double the number of applicants who came in during the same period last year, she said.

The increase is sobering because the agency can afford to help only 75 to 100 families a month, Sullivan said.

"It's a sign of the times, the economy," she said. "Most of the people who are here, it's because they lost their jobs."

But W. says things are getting better...

A November report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that more than 36 million people, including 13 million children, experienced hunger or worried about it last year. Two years ago, the figure was 35 million people.

"The bottom line is that it's harder and harder for the working poor to make ends meet in this country," said Ross Fraser, a spokesman for America's Second Harvest, a national food bank network.

While the economy is improving, it's still not as strong as it was a few years ago, said Enniss of Clayton Family Care.

"I do think we're seeing some job growth," Enniss said. "The unfortunate part of that is, with most of the job growth, the wages aren't that strong. We're seeing people laid off from a $40,000–a–year job and in order to go back to work they're having to take a $20,000– to $25,000–a–year job."

Uh, that doesn't sound like "better" to us, and it's totally consistent with what we've been hearing. Cheap labor is the name of the game boys & girls, cheap labor is the name of the game.