Wal-Mart: Profits First, America's Security Second


When I was walking precincts last year, I came across a man who insisted that the free market was perfect because businesses strive to provide us with what we want.  I countered that this was not true; businesses are only interested in maximizing profits.  When our interests and their profits are in conflict, they'll choose their profits over our safety any day of the week.

This video illustrates that point.  I don't know about you, but if the high cost of low prices includes a dirty bomb, I prefer paying higher prices, thank you very much. . . .

LA - biggest port in the USA

We have the biggest port in the USA, maybe the world. So our odds of passing a bomb into the country are greater than anywhere else, all other things being equal. On the other hand, it means that our ports can afford to implement any mandatory container screening procedure, and in the long-term, we'll be safer than other ports (because, lacking the same scale, they end up paying more per-container for inspections, and hence, are more likely to cut corners).

The thing is, it must be mandatory, so that everyone suffers the costs of screening. Otherwise, no port will be willing to be the first to add an expense to their operations.

Wal-Mart obviously doesn't want to support anything that increases the cost of imports. That's too bad, because something *must* happen, if only because people want it to happen.

I imagine a lot of displaced American workers in the Midwest would benefit from greater port security, because it makes imports expensive, and hence, less competitive against domestic goods. (On the other hand, it makes life tougher for people who make a living from selling imported goods.)