To Serve God and Wal-Mart
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But in the process of describing the downside of Wal-Mart, [she] offers penetrating insights into why the chain has been so phenomenally successful… Moreton offers a gracefully written and meticulously researched account of why people not only have been willing to work for the company, but often have also developed fierce loyalty to it… Economists have long recognized the attractions of flexible working arrangements to some segments of the labor force. But Moreton also offers more novel observations about the lure of Wal-Mart. The subjugation of the self to the global corporation, ironically, embraces a deeper set of ideals about the supremacy of family, the morality of self-reliance and the evangelical justification of free enterprise. Bethany Moreton charts this triumph brilliantly. Her prose is extraordinarily lucid and often provocative, and presents the subject in a manner that will hold interest for both scholars and general readers… To Serve God and Wal-Mart should become a standard text in business history courses, and deserves to be widely assigned—in whole or in part—in a broad range of undergraduate and graduate courses on the history of the twentieth-century United States… In performing a deliberate inversion of more conventional approaches to business history, To Serve God and Wal-Mart greatly enriches our understanding of both Wal-Mart and the Sun Belt service economy. A critical appraisal of how religion, politics and economics were interwoven in post-Vietnam American culture and society, To Serve God and Wal-Mart is also a bracing reminder that we, among the most materialistic people in the world, have turned a blind eye to the impact of material conditions on our actions, attitudes and beliefs.
The history of Wal-Mart uncovers a complex network that united Sun Belt entrepreneurs, evangelical employees, Christian business students, overseas missionaries, and free-market activists. Through the stories of people linked by the wo. While industrial America was built by and for the urban North, rural Southerners comprised much of the labor, management, and consumers in the postwar service sector that raised the Sun Belt to national influence. These newcomers to the economic stage put down the plough to take up the bar-code scanner without ever passing through the assembly line. Industrial culture had been urban, modernist, sometimes radical, often Catholic and Jewish, and self-consciously international. Post-industrial culture, in contrast, spoke of Jesus with a drawl and of unions with a sneer, sang about Momma and the flag, and preached salvation in this world and the next. The author has assigned her royalties and subsidiary earnings to Interfaith Worker Justice www.
Pamela E. By Bethany Moreton. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, For years Wal-Mart has been censured by scholars and citizens of a liberal bent for its unfair labor practices and encroachment upon local economies. She places the company in particular contexts: as an Ozarks business with a populist heritage, within the shift from an agricultural to a postindustrial economy, and in relation to the emergence of the New Christian Right in the sun belt. The book fits into a growing historiography about the New Right that does not condescend to moral and political conservatives but that applies historical Most users should sign in with their email address.
Bethany Moreton. Claiming that the Ozarks were a seat of populism, Moreton explains how a critique of big government and anti-chain movement was situated physically and psychologically in the South. It was Arkansas that gave birth to a religious conservatism that would intimately be embraced by Sam Walton and Wal-Mart. Opening five and dime stores gave Walton a business model, cheap goods in large stores within a days drive from a distribution center. The other significant link in the Wal-Mart model was the wholesaler and retailer as one; it was this that propelled Wal-Mart as a powerful buyer of goods. The history of the Wal-Mart business model is well known, Moreton digs in to cultural roots of the stores management and headquarters.
In the opening pages of To Serve God and Wal-Mart , Bethany Moreton makes it clear that her analysis of the retailing giant will not take the form of a narrowly construed narrative of corporate ascent. Rather, she argues that the company provides a window into the development of "Christian free enterprise": a social philosophy and way of life that has permeated the ideas and practices of post-industrial society. This is a history in equal parts of Wal-Mart and the world that Wal-Mart has made. Her analysis, accordingly, canvasses the extraordinary range of late-twentieth-century social developments that Wal-Mart both reflected and helped to bring about: the growth of a conservative populism that embraced rather than excoriated the actions of business elites, the transformation of gender relationships wrought by the increase in two-income households and the transition to a service economy, the collegiate shift away from a liberal arts curriculum and toward vocational training, and the emergence of global corporations that exercised international influence through the allocation of capital rather than the overt application of military force. Wal-Mart has impacted widely varying aspects of American life, sometimes with deliberation and sometimes not. The expansive ambition of Moreton's analysis befits the subject that it attempts to comprehend.
To Serve God and Wal-Mart: The Making of Christian Free Enterprise
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