It seems that I can't go more than a few days without someone bringing up Wal-Mart these days. In my opinion they are one of the primary forces behind the downfall of western civilization, and I have no problem telling people that. Most of the time people just look at me like I'm a total nutter and the conversation fizzles.
Finally it seems, someone has taken the same arguments and thoughts I've shared and put them into a nice book. Which will probably not be sold at Wal-Mart. ;-)
Tarcher/Penguin recently released a book by John Dickers entitled The United States of Wal-Mart. In it, he details how the effect of Wal-Mart consumerism creates a sense of "entitlement" for the public. In my opinion this is a huge issue, but it takes a back seat in Dickers writing where he prefers to focus on the political and economic cloat wielded by the largest private employer, the largest retailer, the largest grocery store, and the largest corporation in the world.
At the heart of Dickers arguments, which are replete with factual data, references, and so forth, is that as Wal-Mart grows bigger and bigger our choices become fewer and fewer. Examples include numerous banned CDs books and even comedy albums (Sheryl Crow, Eminem, Jon Stewart, Eddie Murphy, etc).
There is lots of good background and insightful question-raising in the book and a total dearth of solutions, suggestions, or bad-mouthing. He just presents the issues, the facts, and the questions and leaves the follow-up to the reader.