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Abstract Wal-Mart is by far the largest retailer in the United States It consistently puts competitors out of business and has sales larger than the Gross National Product of most countries However on average it pays its employees lower wages than most retailers and uses contractors who use sweatshop labor overseas to produce goods that have been labeled Made in America Wal-Mart is accused of increasing the need for social services in areas where its stores are leading employers as many employees qualify for public assistance Wal-Mart is also in the business of making moral decisions for its customers such as refusing to carry Previn a morning-after pill and censoring music and videos This teaching case study aims to draw out discussion about these issues in undergraduate ethics and political economy classes In particular some questions we hope arise from this study include What are the responsibilities of a corporation especially one as large as Wal-Mart Should a corporation be concerned with the effects it has on a society ecosystem or community What are the rights of communities when it comes to allowing or not allowing businesses into their area What are the policy implications This case study aims to raise more questions than answers in these areas in the hope that classes can use the study as a guide for lively discussion about the marketplace social welfare cultural homogenization labor and other issues in the context of expanding global corporate influence in society Wal-Mart or World-Mart Introduction Wal-Mart is a company that most Americans are familiar with a company with stores that offer everything a person could need at low prices What began as a company based in a small Arkansas town has grown to be the largest employer in the United States By 1998 Wal-Mart had the fourth highest annual sales revenue of any American company and had stores throughout four continents It is estimated that within a few years
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