New Look at Two Companies With Stores in Valley

Two new books contain new information about the biggest and third biggest corporations in the world. Both companies have retail stores throughout the Valley. Wal-Mart is the world's biggest company; Exxon Mobil is the third biggest. (Shell is second.) The companies are ranked by size at:

www.money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/global500/2011

Greenfield resident Al Norman wrote "Occupy Wal-Mart," which was published on May 1. The book's foreword is by award-winning documentary film-maker Robert Greenwald, who praises Norman's book. Greenwald's films have received positive reviews from the New York Times. Norman writes that, "In 2010, Wal-Mart spent an average of $6.575 million every day on image advertising, indoctrinating shoppers to believe that they could 'save money, live better,' at Wal-Mart."

Image advertising is an "Attempt to create a favorable mental picture of a product or firm in mind of consumers." That's according to www.BusinessDictionary.com

Image advertising is different from advertising that is used for "promoting ... functional attributes." That's according to:

www.marketing.about.com/od/marketingglossary/g/imageaddef.htm

The members of the Walton family are the biggest owners of Wal-Mart and largely control the company. The Waltons are the world's richest family. Wal-Mart pays among the world's lowest wages at its factories in China.

"Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power" is a book by Steve Coll, also published on May 1. Coll won two Pulitzer prizes. He is a staff writer for the New Yorker magazine. Coll writes that Exxon Mobil gives hundreds of millions of dollars annually to the dictators of poor nations. The dictators arrest their critics in the countries that the dictators run, and torture the critics.

One conclusion that can be drawn from Norman's and Coll's books is that people in the Valley should shop at locally owned stores like Brown and Roberts Hardware in Brattleboro, www.WilsonsDepartmentStore.com and www.RiverValleyMarket.coop rather than Wal-Mart, and minimize the use of oil and gas by travelling on foot, by bicycle, or by train or bus, and by weatherizing and insulating homes and other buildings.

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