[Marxism] Wal-Mart's bank and objective socialization

Andrew Pollack acpollack2 at yahoo.com
Fri Mar 10 10:15:59 MST 2006

The story below (featured also in today's Wal-Mart Watch) 
describes fears that if Wal-Mart is allowed to set up its own 
bank it could endanger the stability of the US financial
system should the bank, or Wal-Mart as a whole, go under. And
of course opposition also comes from companies threatened by
the competition -- even through the Glass-Steagall firewalls
between commercial and investment banks, and barriers between
manufacturing and finance, have largely crumbled.

What's most interesting but unmentioned is what this says
about the objective socialization of the US economy. I've
mentioned in past posts how Wal-Mart's vertical and horizontal
integration, and its ultra-high-tech logistical software, shows
the potential for planning: the data linking suppliers, 
distributors and retailers is all in one place, it's just
not publicly owned and controlled.

This story takes that argument the next step, by extending
Wal-Mart's reach into the sphere of finance. One day when we
take it over we're going to find all the data we need (and
the data analysts and programmers who maintain it) ready to 
hand to turn it into a socialized goods distributor.
US lawmakers: Wal-Mart threatens US payment system
Fri Mar 10, 2006 10:21 AM ET

By Kristin Roberts

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A group of lawmakers on Friday said an industrial bank 
owned by Wal-Mart <WMT.N>, the world's largest retailer, could threaten 
the stability of the U.S. financial system and drive community banks out of 

In a highly critical letter to the acting chairman of the Federal Deposit 
Insurance Corp., obtained by Reuters, a group of more than 30 Congress members 
asked the bank regulator to reject Wal-Mart's application to open a bank in 

"Wal-Mart's plan, to have its bank process hundreds of billions in 
transactions for its own stores, could threaten the stability of the nation's 
payments system," the lawmakers wrote.

"Given Wal-Mart's massive scope and international dealings, it is not 
possible to rule out a financial crisis within the company that could damage the 
bank and severely disrupt the flow of payments throughout the financial 

The congressmen said the losses to the FDIC, which insures deposits at banks and 
thrift institutions, could be staggering if Wal-Mart begins to have financial 
troubles that bleed into its bank's business.

"Consider the consequences if Enron or WorldCom had owned a bank," the 
group said.


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