How Walmart is changing China | Arkansas Blog

Friday, November 25, 2011

How Walmart is changing China

Posted By on Fri, Nov 25, 2011 at 6:43 AM

SIMILAR CULTURES: Walmart, the Arkansas-based retail giant, and China.
  • SIMILAR CULTURES: Walmart, the Arkansas-based retail giant, and China.

Care for some reading?

Try Orville Schell's piece in The Atlantic on Walmart in China, both grappling with issues of environmental stewardship. Walmart is pressing its Chinese suppliers to comply and the consequences are huge.

Can Walmart change China, a country resistant to many other outside forces? Schell thinks they have more similarities than you might think at first.

Both are animated by a mythologized grand progenitor. Sam Walton’s smiling visage (beneath a shovel-billed company cap) today hangs prominently in Walmart stores, much as Mao Zedong’s iconic image still hangs in Tiananmen Square and adorns China’s increasingly powerful currency. Even today, these founders’ successors rule supreme—as Walmart’s CEO and as the Chinese Communist Party’s secretary general.

Each is not only unelected, but also anointed with quasi-cultish Big Leader status to reign over a fundamentally authoritarian organization held together by an elaborate belief system or ideology bordering on the religious. And each presides over an enormous and complex apparat staffed by a professionalized core of operatives—namely, Party leaders and cadres in China, and senior executives and mid-level managers at Walmart.

Each of these leviathan organizations seeks to influence the outside world through the media, advertising, and PR while at the same time maintaining the kultur among its own minions, through written propaganda, motivational campaigns, and sometimes coercive measures aimed at bringing refractory “comrades” or “associates” back into line. In fact, each system employs a significant amount of monitoring, even outright electronic surveillance, to make sure that employees and citizens and customers alike stay within the boundaries of “correct” behavior.

And finally, each professes a proud populism, always proclaiming a responsibility to better service. China’s leadership, with its socialist roots, has long stressed “serving the people,” while Walmart, with its capitalist roots, emphasizes “service to the customer.” In fact, Walmart stores in China prominently display personnel charts that are inverted pyramids, with the customers and lowest workers situated on the top tier and the managers on the bottom.

Tags: , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (15)

Showing 1-15 of 15

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-15 of 15

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Bipartisan deal to continue subsidies Trump ended. But ...

    Everyone's reporting that Sens. Patty Murray and Lamar Alexander have struck a bipartisan deal on to continue federal subsidies for health coverage that Donald Trump cut off.
    • Oct 17, 2017
  • Tuesday: Open line, news roundup

    The open line, plus the day's news roundup.
    • Oct 17, 2017
  • James Lee Witt corrects Trump on grade for Puerto Rico relief effort

    Donald Trump twice yesterday used James Lee Witt, Bill Clinton's widely hailed FEMA director and now in the private business of assisting in disasters, as a reference on the work he's done responding to hurricanes this year. Media, particularly on the conservative end, have echoed the Trump remarks.But hold on: Witt wasn't talking about Puerto Rico.
    • Oct 17, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Auditor Lea caught not telling the truth

    State Auditor Andrea Lea, who began her tenure in statewide office with a degree of competence unseen in some other Republican counterparts (think Treasurer Dennis Milligan particularly), is becoming more deeply mired in a political scandal.
    • Mar 4, 2016
  • Your daily dose of Jason Rapert

    Sen. Jason Rapert really, really didn't like it when a KATV reporter asked him about the hypocrisy of his political arguments.
    • Feb 4, 2017
  • Another Republican miracle-working governor

    Great piece in Washington Post on the budget crisis in Louisiana. Big tax cuts and corporate welfare will do that to a state, particularly to a state whose previous governor, Republican Bobby Jindal, refused to join the Obamacare-funded Medicaid expansion. There's a lesson there for Arkansas.
    • Mar 4, 2016

Most Shared

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Tuesday: Open line, news roundup

    • As I remember and I could be misremembering, that the ICE raids usually took place…

    • on October 17, 2017
  • Re: Tuesday: Open line, news roundup

    • OMG--could he be any more insensitive? Trump told soldier's widow 'he knew what he signed…

    • on October 17, 2017
  • Re: The Medicaid charade explained

    • How I Got My Desired Loan Amount From A Reliable Loan Company. My name is…

    • on October 17, 2017

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation