More from the 'Walmart sees an advertising benefit to promoting American manufacturing' saga

Posted by LDonia on 02/05/2014

From the "We're glad someone else is saying it this time" file:

Walter Loeb, writing for Forbes last week, expressed some concerns with a recent attempt by Walmart's philanthropic arm to spark the company's recent Made in America PR effort. It seems the Walmart foundation contributed $10 million to the cause. But it's not the size of the donation that Loeb finds disconcerting:

The funding is for a five year period. While noble and noteworthy, it seems like a very small amount from a company with $466 billion dollars in sales worldwide and operating income of over $30 billion.

Hear, hear, Walt.

While Loeb say he understands why companies are making products overseas, and how it may post a superficial benefit to both company and consumer, he is very clear about the true cost of the low low prices:

A few years ago on a trip to Asia, I witnessed, firsthand, working conditions in a number of factories, and was appalled by some of the environments. Kids were playing in the corner while mothers eked out meager living sewing garments. The recent fires and sad mortality rate in Bangladesh made clear to the world the unsavory working conditions in many low cost countries, which may now be improved at the insistence of horrified US consumers.

Unfortunately, these same consumers demand the low prices for apparel they find in their local Walmart store, which perpetuates the practice of manufacturing in the lowest labor cost countries.

Ultimately, Loeb comes down on the side of 'Wal-mart's efforts aren't really going to go anywhere.' At the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM), we're inclined to more or less agree. As we've pointed out in this space before, Walmart's efforts to promote American manufacturing, run counter to the entire business model upon which the company's success is predicated.

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