Umair Haque / Bubblegeneration
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Design principles for 21st century companies, markets, and economies. Foreword by Gary Hamel. Coming January 4th. Pre-order at Amazon.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Fooled by Economics

Only in hyperrational America can we ask a question to which the answer is blindingly obvious: Is Wal-Mart good for America's Working Class?

So good, in fact, that communities in America and the rest of the world alike are beginning to resist Wal-Martization tooth and nail.

It should be absolutely transparent that the financial economies of scale Wal-Mart reaps come at the expense of social capital, cultural capital, imagination, meaning - you know, all the stuff that makes life interesting in the first place.

-- umair // 1:37 PM // 2 comments


How does one quantify and measure social and cultural capital? Obviously the effect Walmart has on employment and real wages can be measured, but I do not know how metrics can be assigned to more abstract concepts. Can their effect on society be determined and plotted (over both the short and long term) without metrics?
// Anonymous Anonymous // 12:29 AM

Hey Zack,

It's pretty straightforward - sociologists and anthropologists have spent the last thirty years doing exactly that.

The simplest way might be to a network analysis of number/strength of ties in towns before and after Wal-Mart. Alternatively, you could measure social indicators, behavioural indicators, cultural output against industry concentration, etc...
// Blogger umair // 1:12 PM

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