conway photo Lovely Conway, South Carolina

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Yet despite this illustrative tale, cities around the country are still trying to prevent Wal-Mart from opening new stores on the grounds these stores would "threaten" other businesses (where customers are treated as if they were the enemy) and replace higher paying jobs with lower paying ones. In reality, such cities are using government coercion to prevent free competition, contends Dr. Edwin A. Locke of the ARI. In my view, no business has the right to be protected from competition.The business that offers the customer the best value for the money wins. This is the way capitalism works; it's a core value in the American system of free enterprise. Yet the hoards of anti-business critics would suggest that Wal-Mart is un-American. What rot! Like barking bulldogs, they make a lot of noise, but when you ask them why they are barking so loudly, they give you a dazed look.

As well, no city has the right to dictate local wages, directly or indirectly. Wal-Mart's low prices, which are particularly beneficial to lower-income individuals, are made possible in part by paying lower wages than those paid by unionized stores. But no business can force an employee to work for a given wage without the employee's consent. Wages, like prices, are properly set by the free market.

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