I find that in many libertarian and conservative circles Walmart is an object of reverence, a clear example of the efficiency of the free market, that should not be questioned. I find all the underlying assumptions here to be false. Their entire business model made possible by government funded infrastructure, some of which was created at the company’s request through eminent domain.
The company relies entirely on the tax-payer funded highway system to make their strategy of wide spread distribution possible. This is of course available to all business, but when government subsidizes an input (in this case transportation infrastructure) it makes firms that make heavy use of that input artificially more competitive. This is not to mention that when government uses eminent domain to procure land makes, it makes all alternative uses of that land impossible.
Essentially the entire big box chain business model is a product of government intervention in the market. But Walmart is a pretty big example. They have used individual subsidies ranging from $1 million to about $12 million, in the form of free or reduced-priced land, job training funds, sales tax rebates, tax credits and infrastructure assistance to go from the a regional store to one of the biggest firms in the economy. To quote Charles Johnson:
“Just about every time Wal-Mart decides to build a new store, or especially a new distribution center, they turn to local governments to demand that they grab some money out of working folks’ pockets and put it towards building up “business park” infrastructure and highway interchanges, or widening or extending some existing stretch of road to service Wal-Mart’s trucking needs, or simply to build a new spur out to service nothing but the distribution center.
As such I have to doubt weather Walmart would be the Goliath it is on a fair and free market.