In 1990, Wal-Mart officially became the largest retailer in the United States, and the subsequent "Wal-Marting of America" has only flourished in the early 21st century. But while Wal-Mart owners, the Waltons, consistently rank among the richest Americans--the 2005 Forbes list counts five Walton family members in the Top 10--the retail giant has been the target of increasing criticism for business practices that include mistreating its own employees with low wages, substandard benefits, and union-busting; harming local communities by driving small competitors out of business; and negatively impacting the larger U.S. economy by outsourcing jobs overseas and contributing to the enormous trade deficit with China.
PBS's FRONTLINE series examines the economic repercussions of Wal-Mart's business model through the contrasting stories of economically depressed Circleville, Ohio, which lost its livelihood when the town's sole factory shuttered due to Chinese competition, and the bustling city of Shenzhen, China, which thrives because of its trading partnership with Wal-Mart. Hosted by correspondent Hedrick Smith, IS WAL-MART GOOD FOR AMERICA' also includes interviews with retail executives, product manufacturers, economists, and trade experts for a multifaceted exposé of the corporate behemoth's far-reaching business practices.
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