Tuesday, August 29, 2006

 

The Door on Wally World

NewMark's post on Wal*Mart and some comments below...

Check it out here.

Comments:
Chris,

Interesting post. I'd say that the quote probably makes sense for the most part concerning the composition of Walmart's opposition. Of course, as we saw in Chicago, even poor people that would benefit from Walmart's low prices can vote and even ralley against their best economic interests.

Side track:
I think it's very interesting how Democrats have taken the place of Republicans as the "snobs" party in recent years. Didn't Republicans used to be considered the party of the rich?

My guess is that the definition of "snobbery" has become less related with income and more concerned with "tastes." George Bush comes from old money and went to ivy leaugue schools, but he's not a snob because he likes beer and football. On the other hand, an English professor making less than $40,000 a year might be considered a snob because she drinks wine and like NPR. *shrug*

I don't know if this is a new development or something I'm just look at incorrectly. Maybe tastes no longer depend as much on income? Maybe our definition of snob is changing? Maybe I am assigning the wrong definition of snob. :P

Oh well. Bak to work.
 
Student, I think you've correctly identified snobbery, just failed to really nail down the cause: people choose to be snobs.

In a society where class differences were more visible (say, Victorian England), one could only be a snob if one had money, servants and rank. In modern America, the requirements are different and people are on more equal footing. Almost no one has full-time servants; increased production and trade mean that once-luxury items are now commonplace. So, people choose to be snobs based on other things.

First and foremost, in order to be a snob, one must never shop at Wal-Mart.
 
There are different kinds of snobs. When working in the inner city I encountered a very real "ghetto snobbery," otherwise recognized as "the love of the ghetto." Try to feed a ghetto snob "white food." I'm not talking about all black people. I'm referring to what Sowell appropriately calls "Black Rednecks." Levitt notices this snobbery in the difference between black and white baby names.
"Ghetto snobs" love Wal*Mart.

Those snobs who refuse to shop at Wal*Mart are missing out on some great deals. I don't know too many of these though. Rich people are smart.

Nathan
 
Huh? I was with you and then you lost me...
 
I'm agreeing that wealth doesn't equal snobbery.
 
I realize this is a little off-topic, but does anyone think that Wal-Mart is wrong for using eminent domain laws with "economic development" language to build stores?

I used to not blame them, but now I'm not so sure. They deserve at least some of the blame, no?
 
I'm not sure how much responsibility we can place on a rational individual/business for using the legal opportunities presented them by government.

It would be irrational for people or businesses NOT to take favors when government hands them out. Moreover, unless said person/business has some kind of libertarian bent or stated agenda, it might not even be hypocritical of them.

Example: I am a giant hypocrite for taking money from the UNC system for being a grad student. My liberal grad student buddies are not.
 
This, to me, identifies the central problem with libertarianism. Most of us are hypocrites. I'd have to estimate that fully half of all Libertarians I have met work for the government, or receive government favors in some way.

I've hypothesized that liberty won't ever have a chance unless those who believe in it are willing to live by it.
It's just so inconvenient.
Nathan
 
The thing about government jobs and stipends from state universities is that they're fungible. If libertarians don't take them, they'll simply go to some other person. They won't go away.
 
They are also already sunk
 
"I'm not sure how much responsibility we can place on a rational individual/business for using the legal opportunities presented them by government."

Jenna,

Then is a politician not to blame for expanding a program just to have more people beneath him? It is perfectly rational for him and he is just using the existing framework and "legal opportunities" presented him, just like a private business takes advantage of laws like eminent domain.

I don't see the distinction.
 
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