February 26, 2013
Case Study Wal-Mart
When you think cheap prices you think Wal-Mart. In fact Wal-Mart has become the largest consumer company in the United States. Wal-Mart’s cheap prices saves consumers money, but it also puts competitors out of business. Wal-Mart can be studied using Sociology’s Social Conflict and Structural Functional theories.
The Social Conflict theory states that in society, some small group controls the means of production and exploits those who are not in control. In the social conflict theory two groups are usually competing with one another for scarce resources. As shown in the movie Wal-Marts super low prices forces other companies to buy and sell cheaper usually causing them to go out of business. Since Wal-Mart exports from cheap labor other United States company’s find it harder to compete with Wal-mart. Being the consumer giant that Wal-Mart is they have the power to demand the prices they want to producers. As Rubbermaid did in the movie if you if you demand high prices Wal-mart is so powerful that it will remove some of their products off their shelves. Another thing that links Wal-Mart to the Social Conflict is that they exploit others to maximize their profits. It’s not a secret that if you want cheap labor you ship your jobs overseas. Wal-mart exports around 80% of their products from China. Using the cheap labor in China, (sometimes paying up to 50 cents an hour), allows Wal-Mart to increase their profits and eliminate their competition. Wal-Mart’s way of business has put small mom and pop stores out of business.
The Structural functional theory states that society is a whole unit, made up of interrelated parts that work together. When all the parts of society fulfill their functions, society is in a “normal” state. If they do not fulfill their functions, society is in an abnormal or pathological state. When the economy is good Wal-Mart supplies consumers with cheap...