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More Wal-Mart (and Target) Heroism

April 6, 2004

While Wal-Mart is waging its war for secession in California, it is also working to open stores in Chicago for the first time. The leftists, of course, are screaming. Remember not so long ago when the left decried the supposedly sinister "ghetto merchant" (defended so well by Walter Block) who charges high prices for poor quality and poor selection in the inner city?

Now Wal-Mart comes along to offer poor inner city residents some relief, and the same anti-capitalists complain that Wal-Mart will put these local merchants out of business. I live on the south side of Chicago, around 60th Street, and for about 25 blocks south of me, there's little but "ghetto merchants" offering the basic necessities of life, whose stores neither you nor I would ever want to enter if we could help it. Until recently, these provided locals with their only nearby shopping options.

Today, however, there is a big, beautiful Target store just south of 85th Street, right next to a public housing project. It has the same outstanding selection and the same relatively low prices as every Target store you've ever been in. Local "ghetto merchant" cashiers often understandably barricade themselves behind a thick wall of bulletproof glass because they know the government cops won't protect them at all. You feel more free and safe in the Target store, however, where there is no bulletproof glass, or anything of the kind, because Target can pay for its own private, effective, non-intrusive security while still selling at the lowest prices.

Of course, Wal-Mart would offer all of this, plus even more selection and even lower prices. But the left won't have it. Our commentator writes:

Chicagoans are fanatical in their devotion to the local places to buy everything from food to socks to car parts to liquor to music.

I don't know where this guy lives, but I think it's safe to say that it's not south of 60th Street or even close. Until Target came along, I looked forward to trips back to my hometown in Ohio, where there were stores at which I could actually buy things like socks and underwear. Wal-Mart's political power sometimes is a bad thing. For example, they have disgustingly attempted to use eminent domain to take property from land owners who refused to sell to them. But I hope they defeat the enemies of human well-being who would deny Chicagoans the fundamental rights to buy from, and work for, whomever they choose. (Link via Truck and Barter.)

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