The Instigator
Zealotical
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
bportman
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Walmart is Evil

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Post Voting Period
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It's a Tie!
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/23/2010 Category: Education
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,498 times Debate No: 13739
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (21)
Votes (0)

 

Zealotical

Pro

=======
Definitions
=======

Walmart or Wal-Mart
An American public corporation that runs a chain of large discount department stores and a chain of warehouse stores and the leading United States chain of discount department stores which is the largest retailer corporation in the world.

Evil: ethical, harmful, untrustworthy, wicked, perverse, wrong, bad, morally reprehensible."

===============
My Round 1 Arguments
===============

1. Walmart's average wage is below retail industry standards.
Walmart's national average wage of $11.75 an hour which is 2.5% below the average wage of $12.04 per hour for retail sales people as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

2. Walmart wages are not designed to support a family.
Walmart spokesperson Mona Williams was quoted in 2004 for admitting that, "More than two thirds of our people... are not trying to support a family that's who our jobs are designed for."

3. Walmart is known for forcing overtime, locking bathrooms, providing insufficient wages, requiring pregnancy test, denying access to health care, and firing and blacklisting employees for trying to defend their rights.

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Sources
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http://dictionary.babylon.com...
http://dictionary.reference.com...
http://www.wakeupwalmart.com...
http://ihscslnews.org...

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Round 1 Conclusion
============

If my opponent has any questions about the definitions or if I didn't make anything clear, they should either mention it during round 1 or email me.

I wish my opponent luck and I would like to thank them in advance for accepting this challenge.
bportman

Con

I wish to thank my opponent for presenting this challenge. I look forward to a spirited debate.

The burden of proof in this debate is on Pro. It is up to him to prove evilness. There is no need for me to prove that Walmart is good and virtuous, or even to prove lack of evilness. My opponent must prove evilness. To do this, the first thing that is required is a suitable definition of evil.

Unfortunately, my opponent's definition of evil is nothing more than a list of dictionary synonyms for evil and does not provide an objective standard by which the assessment is to be made. Questions of good and evil are questions of philosophy, and some definite, objective philosophical standard is required for this determination to be made, lest we pass judgement based on mere whim of emotion. We certainly cannot be expected to make the judgement based on a definition that amounts to a truism saying evil is evil.

Since my opponent has failed to properly define evil, I will propose a serious-minded definition of evil.

Evil actions are actions taken with the intent to harm other people for the doer's benefit.

Now that that's out of the way, let's get on to my opponent's contentions.

1. My opponent offers up that Walmart is 2.5% below the national average wage. My opponent does not explain precisely how this makes them evil, but one would assume he is implying that because they do not pay a certain wage they have no regard for the humanity or dignity of their employees. This is not proved by the statistic, whatsoever. In fact, if wages alone were enough to make a firm evil, then every firm which pays below a certain wage level would be evil. This would amount to some large proportion of the firms in the economy, including all that pay below Walmart, which is only 2.5% below the average. Furthermore, where does one draw the line? Why is $11.75 an hour evil while $12.04, or $15 or even $20 is not. My opponent has provided no standard for why a specific wage level is evil.

However, I contend (without the burden to do so resting on my shoulders) that by keeping their costs low, Walmart is able to sell their products at lower prices. This in turn enables low income families to do better with the money they have. Walmart pays their employees the market price for their labor. If they paid over that they would be harming their customers because they would have to hike prices. My opponent's argument zeros in on the supposed evil done to the employees without even remotely considering the good that is done for the consumer in the process. How can an organization that enables millions of low income families to afford groceries, staple goods, and basic needs when they otherwise would go without be evil?

Finally, no matter how they set their prices or who it actually hurt, evil is really about the intent. My contention is that Walmart's setting it's wages at a certain level cannot be and has not been proven to be intentionally malicious. I encourage my opponent to try to prove malicious intent in his rebuttal.

2. Again, here, my opponent has offered up a piece of information without actually tying it back to his contention that Walmart is Evil. Why must a firm "design it's wages to support a family" to avoid the evil moniker? The burden is on my opponent to present some logical reason why this is so.

3. Here my opponent has leveled a bevy of accusations against Walmart without proper citation. He has listed several links in the body of his argument, but I don't have the time or desire to read through the lengthy articles he has linked to find out if his accusations in this contention have even a glimmer of truth to them. It is incumbent upon my opponent to make his argument. If indeed Walmart does the things he describes, it may very well amount to evil behavior, but my opponent must prove it. As he has stated it here, however, my opponents contention amounts to nothing more than a personal attack. The only portion of the contention for which supporting evidence is provided is the low wage claim, which has been thoroughly discredited in my response to contention #1. I encourage my opponent to provide supporting evidence for the remaining accusations in this contention.

Conclusion:
My opponent has presented a blistering attack against the Walmart corporation, claiming them to be evil. However, my opponent has utterly failed to make even a single valid argument to prove this. He has not even provided a precise, objective definition of what evil is, and therefore cannot claim to be asserting evilness on the basis of anything more than the flit and fancy of his emotions. This is further demonstrated by his 3 contentions. Allegations of evilness based on emotional feelings alone are quite simply insufficient. Some standard is essential for a prudent assessment to be made. If this is not clear enough on it's own, let me present an example:
If I were arguing that "Hitler is evil", my reasoning should amount to more than: "because I hate him". I would be required to make a logical argument such as:
(1)Hitler murdered innocent people.
(2)Murderers are evil.
(3)Therefore, Hitler was evil.
My opponent has failed to make even the most elementary of logical progressions to support his claim. I eagerly look forward to his doing so in rebuttal.
Debate Round No. 1
Zealotical

Pro

[QUOTE]
I wish to thank my opponent for presenting this challenge. I look forward to a spirited debate.
[/QUOTE]

I wish to welcome my opponent for accepting this challenge. I look forward to this debate as well.

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Rebuttal
======

[QUOTE]
My opponent offers up that Walmart is 2.5% below the national average wage. My opponent does not explain precisely how this makes them evil, but one would assume he is implying that because they do not pay a certain wage they have no regard for the humanity or dignity of their employees. This is not proved by the statistic, whatsoever. In fact, if wages alone were enough to make a firm evil, then every firm which pays below a certain wage level would be evil. This would amount to some large proportion of the firms in the economy, including all that pay below Walmart, which is only 2.5% below the average. Furthermore, where does one draw the line? Why is $11.75 an hour evil while $12.04, or $15 or even $20 is not. My opponent has provided no standard for why a specific wage level is evil.
[/QUOTE]

It's greedy because the employees are underpaid for their long hours of hard work. Greed is associated with one of the seven deadly sins and therefore, greed is evil and walmart is greedy which makes walmart evil.

[QUOTE]
I contend (without the burden to do so resting on my shoulders) that by keeping their costs low, Walmart is able to sell their products at lower prices. This in turn enables low income families to do better with the money they have. Walmart pays their employees the market price for their labor. If they paid over that they would be harming their customers because they would have to hike prices. My opponent's argument zeros in on the supposed evil done to the employees without even remotely considering the good that is done for the consumer in the process. How can an organization that enables millions of low income families to afford groceries, staple goods, and basic needs when they otherwise would go without be evil?
[/QUOTE]

The reason why walmart's prices are low for now is because they want to put as many other businesses as they can out of business. When/if walmart becomes one of the only few businesses left, their prices will more than likely go up. This is just common sense as corporations like walmart are greedy.

[QUOTE]
Finally, no matter how they set their prices or who it actually hurt, evil is really about the intent. My contention is that Walmart's setting it's wages at a certain level cannot be and has not been proven to be intentionally malicious. I encourage my opponent to try to prove malicious intent in his rebuttal.
[/QUOTE]

You can do evil things without it being intentional and besides that, You can tell through their actions that it is intentional. Obviously, the walmart corporation knows that their employees are underpaid because they pay their own employees.

[QUOTE]
Again, here, my opponent has offered up a piece of information without actually tying it back to his contention that Walmart is Evil. Why must a firm "design it's wages to support a family" to avoid the evil moniker? The burden is on my opponent to present some logical reason why this is so.
[/QUOTE]

The average employee is paid minimum wage and is strongly discouraged from holding a full time position. Poor labor practices such as these make it hard or impossible for many employees to afford the health care benefits "provided" to them by walmart.

[QUOTE]
Here my opponent has leveled a bevy of accusations against Walmart without proper citation. He has listed several links in the body of his argument, but I don't have the time or desire to read through the lengthy articles he has linked to find out if his accusations in this contention have even a glimmer of truth to them. It is incumbent upon my opponent to make his argument. If indeed Walmart does the things he describes, it may very well amount to evil behavior, but my opponent must prove it.
[/QUOTE]

The links contain proof and not only that, the movie, "WAL-MART: The High Cost of Low Price" by Robert Greenwald also provides proof.

[QUOTE]
As he has stated it here, however, my opponents contention amounts to nothing more than a personal attack. The only portion of the contention for which supporting evidence is provided is the low wage claim, which has been thoroughly discredited in my response to contention #1. I encourage my opponent to provide supporting evidence for the remaining accusations in this contention.
[/QUOTE]

Like I said earlier, the links contain proof and not only that, the movie, "WAL-MART: The High Cost of Low Price" by Robert Greenwald also provides proof.

[QUOTE]
Conclusion:
My opponent has presented a blistering attack against the Walmart corporation, claiming them to be evil. However, my opponent has utterly failed to make even a single valid argument to prove this and therefore cannot claim to be asserting evilness on the basis of anything more than the flit and fancy of his emotions. This is further demonstrated by his 3 contentions. Allegations of evilness based on emotional feelings alone are quite simply insufficient. Some standard is essential for a prudent assessment to be made. If this is not clear enough on it's own, let me present an example:
If I were arguing that "Hitler is evil", my reasoning should amount to more than: "because I hate him". I would be required to make a logical argument such as:
(1)Hitler murdered innocent people.
(2)Murderers are evil.
(3)Therefore, Hitler was evil.
My opponent has failed to make even the most elementary of logical progressions to support his claim. I eagerly look forward to his doing so in rebuttal.
[/QUOTE]

I didn't say it was because I hated walmart.... I encourage my opponent to prove that I said it was only because I hated walmart and by that logic I did provide reasons such as but not limited to:
(1)Walmart employees are underpaid because of greed.
(2)Greed is evil.
(3)Therefore, walmart is evil.

This isn't based off of my emotions, this is based off of fact.

=======
Arguments
=======

Technically, Wal-Mart proves it's own evil by selling multiple copies of "Capitalism: A Love Story" by Michael Moore even though they expose the evils of capitalism with walmart being an example of capitalism.

Here is what Michael Moore wrote in response to wal-mart selling his dvds:

"The corporate coup is complete. Corporations like Wal-Mart now call all the shots, write all the laws, pay off almost all the congressmen and essentially (along with the other Fortune 500 companies and Wall Street) rule the nation. They've helped to eliminate consumer choice and the free market while convincing you they are all for "free enterprise" and the "U.S.A."

More importantly, they've snuffed out any criticism or opposition. They've even co-opted liberals, like the people who made the wonderful documentary, Food, Inc. The last half-hour of this movie includes—I kid you not—an homage to Wal-Mart as the filmmakers swoon over this kinder, gentler company that has decided to—bless them! —put an organic food counter in their stores! Thank you, Wal-Mart! Kumbaya! (And hey, granolaheads, don't forget to flash a smile on the way out of the store at the "greeter" who can't afford to see a doctor.)

Yes, Wal-Mart, by selling Capitalism, is saying to me: "Go ahead and expose us all you want! Hahahhaha! We're so convinced that the public has either been dumbed down or made numb enough to not give a lick about whatever it is you're saying about us and capitalism. We can sell a million of these and it won't make a damn bit of difference about our ability to rule the world. So knock yourself out, big guy! Hehehehehehe. Go ahead and put your little movie on our shelves. It will never start a revolution."

======
Sources
======
http://www.newsrealblog.com...
bportman

Con

I wish to thank my opponent for a thoroughgoing response. If I underestimated my opponent before I will not any longer after that response.

My opponent has presented a series of new arguments against Walmart which I will deconstruct herein. I will then conclude with an appeal for capitalism as an inherently moral economic system.

The points I wish to deconstruct are:

-By paying it's employees a certain wage Walmart is being greedy
-Being greedy is evil because it's one of the seven deadly sins

In my conclusion below I will thoroughly refute this. See below.

-Walmart keeps it's prices low to put their competition out of business

Keeping prices low is the whole point of competition. We the consumer benefit when firms compete for our business. We have choices and can get goods and services for reasonable prices. The more competition, the better a deal the consumer can get. If other firms go out of business because one is so efficient they are able to offer the lowest prices, than that is the problem of the firms that go out of business. It is incumbent upon them to offer a competitive product either by lowering prices or selling higher quality products if they must charge more.

Primarily the market sets prices. Let's say Walmart charges lower prices than everyone else because they pay their employees less than Firm B, which pays it's employees $20 per hour. Since Firm B pays $20 per hour, it is going to be able to attract better workers who have better customer service skills, etc. Because they have higher quality workers, there may be consumers who choose to go to Firm B instead of Walmart. Some people will be willing to pay a little bit more to shop at a firm that has higher quality staff because the shopping experience is overall better. Still others will prefer to get the lowest price and not care how good and knowledgeable the staff is. They will prefer to shop at Walmart. This is not evil, it's business.

-You can tell through Walmart's actions that they are intentionally being evil

Saying you can "just tell" something is not using logic or evidence. You must prove your points. Appealing to faith, insight, intuition, or divine revelation is not going to convince anyone of the truth of your statement. You may personally have a deep inner conviction, something you "Just Know" at the core of your being, but in a debate you must prove that conviction true with logic and evidence. A statement like "This is just common sense as corporations like walmart are greedy" proves absolutely nothing and is better left unsaid in this kind of forum.

-Minimum wage

In your initial argument you said that Walmart pays it's works an average of $11.75 per hour. In Round 2 you contradicted yourself by saying they pay the average worker minimum wage. The national minimum wage was raised to $7.25 per hour on July 24, 2009 by the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007, and it is currently at that level. Fourteen states and Washington, DC have higher minimum wages than the federal minimum wage, but the highest of these is $8.55 per hour in Washington state. So which is it? Does Walmart pay the minimum wage, or more than 150% of the minimum wage? If they pay 150% more than the minimum wage, it seems to me that would make them a lot less greedy than a whole bunch of firms that do pay exactly the minimum wage (and there are plenty). Why must Walmart be singled out for demagoguery when they pay significantly more than many other firms?

-Employees are discouraged from holding a full time position

Citation?

-My opponent says his links contain proof.

Unfortunately for my opponent, it is incumbent upon him to restate the facts and arguments made in the sources he has linked. He cannot expect someone reading and judging this debate to read all his lengthy sources and make the connections to his assertions on their own. The proper thing to do is to make an assertion, back it up with a restatement of some argument or fact from one of the sources, and then also cite that piece of evidence properly (i.e. with a numerical list of sources and putting the number in parenthesis at the end of the sentence, or by stating the source in-line as I did with my reference to Adam Smith below). It is not fair to the audience, or to me as your debating opponent, to do otherwise.

-By selling Michael Moore's DVD Walmart proves it's own evil

My opponent seems to be arguing that because Walmart sells an anti-capitalist DVD that proves they are evil because they are so confident in their power that they can make such material available without fear. This is not logical at all. If anything, willingness to allow opposing opinions to be promoted in ones jurisdiction, even when they directly oppose one, is a sign of tolerance and virtue. Walmart, by not restricting their DVD offering to products which are pro-Walmart or pro-capitalism, is promoting an open marketplace of ideas and freedom of speech. My opponent's argument is basically akin to saying that freedom of speech is evil because it allows people to promote communism and other unfree systems. He is arguing that because they are so confident in the superiority of their ideas that they allow dissenting ideas to be heard that they are therefore proving the point of the dissenters. The is ludicrous. Freedom of speech exists because it is the right thing to do, not because it is evil, and the same goes for Walmart's decision to sell Capitalism A Love Story.

CONCLUSION

My opponent's concluding argument is ridiculous. Selling an anti-capitalist DVD proves that Walmart has a tolerant and open marketplace of ideas in their DVD section. It takes some seriously twisted logic to conclude that doing so shows Walmart is evil.

Aside from that contention, my opponents argument essentially comes down to an attack on the system of free market capitalism. He asserts that greed is evil because it is one of the seven deadly sins, and that Walmart's business practices are obviously greedy, therefore they are evil. My opponent seemingly disagrees with my proposed definition of evil, though he has not said so explicitly. He seems to be proposing that the "seven deadly sins" define what is evil. The origin of the seven deadly sins is The Book of Proverbs, but in fact greed was not listed in this or any biblical list (http://en.wikipedia.org...). As you can see from the cited wikipedia article, the traditional list of sins that includes greed was the work of the 4th century monk Evagrius Ponticus, who listed Avarice (greed) as one of the sins for the first time. My opponent is therefore rejecting my definition of evil in favor of an arbitrary list by a 4th century monk. I reject this and strongly urge my opponent to consider my definition of evil and show how Walmart's behavior is evil under my definition, or alternatively explain why his definition is better than mine.

Greed is not always evil. What my opponent calls greed, I call enlightened or rational self-interest. Walmart is a firm operating in a competitive marketplace. In order to compete they must keep their prices as low as possible. That's not greed, it's business. There wouldn't be any reason for Walmart or any other company to do business if they did not have some incentive, specifically the possibility of profit. That means the whole reason Walmart or any other company provides the goods or services they provide is to seek a profit from the endeavor. To quote Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations: "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interests."

While you could define greed to include this type of behavior, you must overlook an overwhelming preponderance of evidence that this behavior is good and virtuous in order to call it evil. The profit motive has produced an age of material prosperity beyond our wildest dream
Debate Round No. 2
Zealotical

Pro

Zealotical forfeited this round.
bportman

Con

Why has my opponent failed to post a response? I can only surmise that he has either been convinced of the rightness of my arguments or lost interest in his own contention. In either case, it does his argument no justice. The burden of proof that Walmart is evil is on the Instigator of this debate, and he has utterly failed to make a compelling case. I urge my opponent to do some soul searching and return with a well thought out line of reasoning for the next round.
Debate Round No. 3
Zealotical

Pro

Zealotical forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
Zealotical

Pro

Zealotical forfeited this round.
bportman

Con

bportman forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
21 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by SuperRobotWars 6 years ago
SuperRobotWars
*yawn*
Posted by bportman 6 years ago
bportman
Define immoral then...

Saying the definition of evil is immoral doesn't tell us anything. My definition at least put forth some definite standard of what is evil. That was my critique of my opponent's definition, that it didn't actually put forth any clearly defined standard, and neither does yours.
Posted by Woodycanuck 6 years ago
Woodycanuck
egregiously immoral?
Posted by bportman 6 years ago
bportman
Why don't you propose your own definition of evil if you don't like mine?
Posted by Woodycanuck 6 years ago
Woodycanuck
Stealing a car then. You intend to deprive them of their car for your own benefit. They are harmed and you intended it. Is it evil? I'm wondering if the harm has to be for no other reason than to cause the harm. Like the actor must take personal pleasure in the loss or suffering of others?
Posted by bportman 6 years ago
bportman
In addition to being irrelevant to this debate, your example of using a roommates peanut butter does not necessarily amount to harm or theft. It depends on terms of the roommate relationship which may or may not be spelled out. It may very well be understood between roommates that taking something such as peanut butter without asking is generally OK within reason, and that both roommates can benefit from this communal attitude.

In any case, my definition specifically said "intent to harm", which you are ignoring. That is a crucial distinction. Nobody intends to harm their roommate when they take peanut butter without asking.
Posted by Woodycanuck 6 years ago
Woodycanuck
Theft certainly causes harm.

Wiktionary:

harm (plural harms)
1. Injury; hurt; damage; detriment; misfortune.
2. That which causes injury, damage, or loss.

Do you mean only bodily or psychological harm?
Posted by bportman 6 years ago
bportman
No clue what your talking about Woodycanuck. Taking your roommates peanut butter without asking by no means implies intent to harm that person.
Posted by Woodycanuck 6 years ago
Woodycanuck
"Evil actions are actions taken with the intent to harm other people for the doer's benefit."

That's setting the bar kinda low, no? That time I was really hungry so I used some of my roommate's peanut butter without asking? Totally evil.
Posted by InquireTruth 6 years ago
InquireTruth
Your first definition of evil is ethical. That's new.
No votes have been placed for this debate.