Is Walmart the Antichrist? Or is it McDonalds?

The term “antichrist” is thrown around a lot by “super enlightened” Christians.  You know the ones I’m talking about, the ones who think that the other 99.99% of Christians are deceived in an apostate church and that they are the only ones who are truly Christian.  (I, of course, realize that only 95% of Christians churches are wrong, and I realize that a lot of Christians in those churches read their Bible and trust in Jesus and don’t even know their pastors are false teachers.  So, probably there are at least 10% who get it, much higher than what the super enlightened think.)   It’s always interesting to watch one group of apocalypse harbingers try to get the upper hand on another group of apocalypse harbingers.  Of course, there is always a little truth in what they all say, which makes it harder to dismiss them offhand.

The term “antichrist” is also used to create lot of gloom and dooms scenarios for movies and TV shows.  And it also fuels a lot of speculation about the demise of America.  But I wonder to myself if America is really destined to fall or whether it is destined to assimilate the world instead.   Which brings us to Walmart and McDonalds.   Now, I could also have said The Gap and Starbucks and probably been able to make the same argument.  It is not America per se that is the antichrist.  It is the pasteurized, homogenized American mega-business model that is being transferred to and is taking over the world.

Read and interesting book, Fast Food Nation.  The book isn’t that new, coming from the end of the last Millennium.  I believe that it cause quite a stir at the time, since it exposed a lot of evils that have grown up around our mobile, auto-based drive through society.  It had a lot to say about those bad Republicans (because it’s always Republicans at fault, isn’t it?) who were to blame for letting things get so out of hand with deregulation and relaxed safety standards.  But it said all these things on the heals of the greatest boom time America has ever seen.  The country was riding high on the conveyor of success and no one wanted to think about putting any monkey wrenches in it.

Now that we have begun to see the wheels fall of the great American experiment, there seem to be a lot of fingers pointing in a lot of directions as to who is to blame.  St. Dodd and Frank won’t accept any blame for Fanny Mae’s blow up.  Brokers won’t take the blame for selling junk mortgage derivatives.  Bankers won’t take the blame for pushing no-money-down mortgages to people with bad credit, saying they were forced by St. Dodd and Frank.  Car companies wouldn’t take the responsibility for over-producing and the unions wouldn’t accept downsizing.  Bush didn’t have the nerve to let the big boys fail and Obama blames Bush for everything even while he triples down all his policies .

What I want to know is when we are going to set the blame where it is required.  Shouldn’t we be looking at the industries that flood America with unskilled jobs that only an immigrant would love?  Should we be observing the mega-corporations who are killing the American Dream for every small business and assimilating everyone into the corporate cogs?

When we look at what of America projects to other countries, it is homogenized corporate brands.  Behind all those brands is the supply structure that must also be super-sized.  China, of course, has no problem with Walmart, since Walmart uses China as a major supplier.  And entire city of eight million was created just to ship products to Walmart.  If it takes that many just for shipping, just imagine how many are involved in production of goods.  Using the huge Chinese engine for supply and the huge American market for demand,  Walmart has become the world’s largest company.  But McDonalds still has it beat in sheer numbers of outlets.

Of course, McDonalds and Walmart didn’t start this trend, nor are they they only players.  CocaCola was the first brand to be recognized around the world, thanks in no small part to WWII and GI Joe.  But most others were blocked for decades by the Iron Curtain.  Now that the Curtain is down, the large brands, fueled by high profits from low wage structures and automation, have taken the rest of the world by storm.   Of course, most of these businesses are now publicly traded.  So, many people, including legislators, are heavily invested in their success.  It wouldn’t be prudent to worry about such things as health and working conditions that could dampen the profit margins and the stock dividends.

Is McDonalds the antichrist?  I doubt it.  But, in a very real way, the American empire is not so much true as a world run by global companies who just happen to have their roots in America.  As corporations continue to grow internationally and merge with other multinational corporations, the corporation one works for becomes more important than the national flag under which one lives.  Eventually, nations as we know them might cease to exist, replaced, instead by worldwide alliances of corporations.  Governments are already run by corporate yes men.  Over time, perhaps it will play out as with the Highlander–in the end there can be only one.  And so, we will see our one world government be a corporation.  Just something to think about over your morning latte.


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Filed under Economics/ Book Reviews

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