As a way of provoking students, I sometimes offer odds on a large corporation going out of business sometime in the next ten to twenty years.  To be really provocative, I sometimes roll out supposedly solid companies including Apple or Microsoft or Wal-Mart.

My task is sometimes made easier when one of the corporations evinces an intent to self-destruct.
Walmart is starting to look like a Soviet-era retailer. The prices are still low, but shelves are going empty for months while products sit unwrapped in storage, lines are interminable, and no one is around to help.

Bloomberg reports that in-store service problems for the world’s third-largest corporation are so bad that people are willing to pony up the extra cash to shop at stores like Target and Walgreens.
Via Media cites an analyst who suggests current labor market policies are making it harder for corporations to hire cheap labor.  There are at least two other hypotheses that come to mind: first, doing more with less, which appears to be de rigueur in business these days, is a formula for doing what you do badly (see the first paragraph supra); second, low wages are a signal of low productivity (see the second paragraph supra.)  Sic transit gloria Walmartia.

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