Was it a coincidence? The Walton family moved to Bentonville, Arkansas, and was taking over the American retail market at the same time wholesome John Boy Walton and his TV family took over our TV screens.
Perhaps it softened our hearts while the real Walton family destroyed the lives of John Boy and his neighbors.
Between 1972 and 1981, the fictional Ike Godsey ran the general store on Walton’s Mountain. He charged the people a fair price for food and hardware. But there was some left over. Ike paid that money to John Walton Sr. for the finished lumber used to build Ike’s store. That sale and others made it possible for John Boy to go to college.
It was a very good but inefficient system. Neither Ike nor John Sr. ever got rich. John Boy spent the rest of his life writing for a newspaper, a profession I know to be fulfilling but not very lucrative.
Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart, had a better idea.
What was never broadcast (and I’m making it up, of course) is that Ike went into bankruptcy. Ike used the same law firm that a few years before liquidated the Gillis Grocery Store, owned by Dobie’s father, and, a few years later, found a receiver to sell the assets of Sam Drucker’s store near Hooterville. In each case a Walmart moved to town and sold merchandise at prices lower than the small stores could afford.
Sam Walton’s idea was simple. He would build large stores in rural communities. The merchandise from the stores would be purchased from China and other low-wage countries. As a result, he would run all the local merchants out of business, replacing them with minimum-wage clerks. Even if the clerks could not feed their families on such a low salary, the government would subsidize their salaries with food stamps, welfare, and later, Obamacare.
It was fascism the way the “good” fascists intended it to work. Industry and the state would work together to create a society in which industrialists were protected and the masses were given just enough to survive. The process made Sam Walton and his family rich. It even made this benign “national socialism” into a national political consensus.
Today, President Trump is fighting the fascists. He is placing high tariffs on imported goods, forcing prices to rise. This is disrupting the dominance of retail giants like Walmart, in part, because it takes away the advantage of massive and expensive overseas distribution chains. It further makes it possible for American steel workers and even American bicycle manufacturers to compete with underpaid overseas slave labor.
Suddenly, American factories can sell their products at a competitive price and pay their workers (or accede to unions demands that workers be paid) a fair wage. For people like Ike Godsey, Sam Drucker, Herbert Gillis and small merchants in Southern Pines, it is becoming possible to obtain wholesale goods from local manufacturers at prices nearer those paid by Walmart.
Of course, that means we all have to pay more for everything, from bike locks to Barbies. That would be all right with the fascists if the extra money went to government projects for welfare and global warming. But in this case, the money is going to the great-grandchild of Sam Drucker, who bought a convenience store last week. The profits will send Drucker’s great-great-grandchild to N.C. State. The fascists are mostly upset that Sam Drucker III will not be forced to take out a student loan.
What was also unreported is that Sam Drucker and Herbert Gillis, depressed by Walmart’s unfair competition, committed suicide. They died just about the same time the government changed television signals from analog to digital, making sure that very few people received “Green Acres” reruns without paying $100 per month to a cable system. Their metaphysical death inspired the expansion of industry subsidized by the welfare state.
The question as to whether Donald Trump will be president of the United States in 2021 (or whether Boris Johnson continues as prime minister of the U.K.) is whether the people want to run their own country or if they want the security provided by the national socialist elites. Such fascists know what they want. America now must now decide.
Will cheap stuff from Walmart define our future?
Contact Robert M. Levy at Law52@Prodigy.net.