Yes, you read that right. I’m making the argument that shoplifting items from Walmart is morally the right thing to do. Furthermore, I believe we should all consider making a habit of it.
Let’s start with a brief overview on how Walmart operates. To do so, let’s first imagine a small town filled with small, family owned businesses. Let’s also assume that these businesses generally provide good products at reasonable prices, and employees are paid a livable wage. In the best cases, let’s even assume that these businesses supply American-made products.
Now, one day Walmart shows up, bulldozes over a patch of trees, and sets up shop. Since Walmart obtains products from third-world factories and sweatshops at dirt cheap prices, (by underpaying desperately poor people, turning a blind eye towards child labor, and disregarding environmental concerns), each new spawn of the Walton’s overgrown corporation is easily able to undercut small, local businesses. Even worse, during the first few months after opening, Walmart is known to intentionally lower prices until the local competition is forced to shut down, at which point Walmart hikes prices back up again.
For every two jobs that Walmart creates, three local jobs are destroyed. Furthermore, positions at Walmart generally pay less, are less likely to be full time, and are less likely to include benefits. Without a doubt, local economies suffer when Walmart moves in, and the introduction of the big box store results in higher levels of poverty, and leads to a higher need for taxpayer-funded welfare. Furthermore, driving competitors out of business means that taxpayer-funded welfare is then spent at Walmart, resulting in an even larger profit margin for the giant corporation. (Profits which, of course, are ultimately funneled directly into the off-shore bank accounts of lazy, entitled Walton heirs feeding insatiable appetites for MOAR tax cuts with illegal tax havens…but I digress). The point is, by underpaying their employees, Walmart forces taxpayers to pick up the bill. By eliminating competition and actively creating conditions that contribute heavily to poverty, Walmart profits. Walmart uses our tax dollars to create an impoverished, option-less customer base.
To recap what what we’ve learned so far: Walmart buys in bulk from factories overseas, enforcing substandard conditions of living while also engaging in environmental destruction. These dirt cheap prices allow Walmart to destroy local economies wherever it goes, demolishing competition so that people have no other choice but Walmart. The resulting closure of local businesses contributes to rising levels of poverty, as the jobs that are lost are only partially replaced by Walmart, and generally pay far less.
To add insult to injury, Walmart then subsidizes their low wages with taxpayer-funded welfare, literally forcing taxpayers to fund a private, for-profit business. Finally, having destroyed the competition, Walmart collects additional revenue when underpaid employees spend taxpayer-funded welfare checks on low-priced items, which now, thanks to Walmart, is all they can afford.
Privatizing profits while socializing losses in this way is the very definition of lemon socialism, also known as socialism for the rich. So, to even the playing field for the American people who are quickly running out of options, I propose that it is morally right to shoplift from Walmart. Walmart is a bully, and is unfairly profiting by destroying competition, practicing labor theft both overseas and at home, and actively ruining the environment that belongs to all of us. Furthermore, Walmart is at least partially a publicly-funded business at this point, meaning that the American taxpayer is entitled to some of the profits. However, since Walmart is probably not going to start paying it’s enormous debt to society anytime soon, maybe it’s time we leveled the playing field, and starting helping ourselves to some cheap crap…
Now, some people might argue that it would be better to just boycott Walmart instead. That’s fine for those who have other options, and for those who haven’t been affected by so much labor theft that Walmart is the only affordable option. However, boycotting Walmart doesn’t help those who Walmart has hurt the most. Here’s why: people in the most desperate situations typically have the least amount of recourse. A poor person who gets arrested for shoplifting (even if only to put food on the table) will be crushed by the legal repercussions of that single action. This is why it is morally right for everyone to help themselves to anything on Walmart’s shelves. Together, if we all begin taking what Walmart owes us, the Walton’s will have a much larger battle on their hands, and things will hopefully begin to change towards a better society – one where the wealthy aren’t allowed to crush the poor and middle classes. Finally, if enough merchandise starts disappearing, maybe Walmart will no longer be able to undercut small businesses with such ease.