Wal-Mart so weit das Auge reicht?

Möchten Sie wissen, welcher Videoclip bald den Entscheidungsträgern auf der ganzen Welt einen ungeheuren Schrecken einjagen wird? In einem Szenario, das auf unheimliche Weise der Ausbreitung einer globalen Pandemie ähnelt, hat der Ökonom Thomas Holmes eine dynamische Kartensimulation erstellt, die die Ausbreitung der Wal-Mart-Einkaufszentren in den Vereinigten Staaten zeigt. Angefangen im Epizentrum in Bentonville, Arkansas, wo Sam Walton 1962 sein erstes Geschäft eröffnete, haben sich die riesigen, kastenförmigen Wal-Mart-Geschäfte bis heute so stark vermehrt, dass der Durchschnittsamerikaner weniger als sieben Kilometer von einer Verkaufsstelle entfernt wohnt.

Interessanterweise zeigt das Video, wie sich die Geschäfte wie die Blätter einer Blume ausbreiten, die immer dicker werden und sich ausdehnen. Anstatt sich auf die Küsten zu stürzen – 80 % aller Amerikaner wohnen in einer Entfernung von bis zu 80 km vom Pazifischen oder Atlantischen Ozean –, haben sich die Wal-Marts organisch durch eine sich ständig ausdehnende Versorgungskette ausgebreitet. Obwohl jedes neue Geschäft den bereits bestehenden Wal-Mart-Geschäften in der Nähe Kundschaft wegnimmt, trägt die ständig verbesserte Versorgungseffizienz dazu bei, das Gesamtwachstum der Kette aufrechtzuerhalten.

Ob man die Kette liebt oder hasst, unbestritten ist, dass Wal-Mart das Beispiel für Kosten und Nutzen der modernen Globalisierung schlechthin ist. Die Verbraucher bezahlen wesentlich weniger als in herkömmlichen Läden. Wirtschaftswissenschaftler schätzen z. B., dass die Lebensmittelabteilung von Wal-Mart 25 % billiger ist als die einer typischen großen Supermarktkette. Der Preisunterschied ist bei vielen anderen Verbrauchsgütern sogar noch größer.

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