Archived Might have rocked my Econ professor's worldview a little...

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StackerMistress

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My economics professor loves to use real-world examples to highlight economic definitions and theories. He knows I work at Target, and will frequently use Spot as an example, because obviously it's a giant company and works well to illustrate lots of points.

We were discussing the things consumers expect from businesses (that they sell what we want, that they produce efficiently, that they have no exploitation). I asked if he meant exploitation of the consumer (i.e., "getting ripped off") or exploitation of the worker. He clarified he meant exploitation of the consumer, but mentioned that exploitation of the worker causes some consumers to not patronize a store. He listed Walmart as an example, and said that he thinks the people that refuse to shop there are exaggerating the exploitation of their employees, because he went there and asked the employees if they like their job, how long they've been there, etc. "One guy told me he's been working there for 25 years and he loves it!" So, Prof is obviously trying to make a point that we don't have it that bad, stop whining.

I told him, "Honestly, if you came to our store and started asking questions like that... of course there are some people that genuinely like their job and would tell you as much, but most would lie to you because they would think you're from Corporate."

He paused, then said, quietly, "Really? That's really sad."
 
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This quote on Target's wikipedia page under Criticism sums up the idea succinctly:

Aesthetically, we all like Target better, but their wages are in many places low or just as low, and they all represent the Wal-Martization of our economy, which is the exchange of low prices for poor work conditions.
—Liza Featherstone, The Trouble with Wal-Mart: An interview with Liza Featherstone
 

commiecorvus

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Gotta love these econ professors who seem to be totally out of touch with the real world.
So many of them try to make their cases based on math or revisionist history that it's scary.
These are the people who the leaders of our country turn to when their are economic problems?
And all too often that the leaders of our country took classes from.
Ever since they gave the Nobel prize to the guy for the theory (and I'm boiling it down to the essence here) 'that no matter how good your economic system is people are going to screw it up', I've had limited respect for economists.
 

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Yeah, economics can really be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, economists can figure out how to make more companies adopt green energy, for example. On the other hand, they can reduce living, breathing, suffering people into dollar signs that need to be cut to make more profit.

My professor has taught around the world. He's shared a lot of heartbreaking stories from India, in particular. I understand his point, that the exploitation we deal with in this country is nothing compared to what people go through over there. But not being able to feed your family is not being able to feed your family, as far as I'm concerned. He's also 77, so he comes from a time when the American Dream was something people could actually, you know, achieve.
 
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