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A Wal-Mart union?

Readers sound off on how Wal-Mart benefits from diminished U.S. productivity, why offshore outsourcing is here to stay, and what the real facts are about disk imaging.

Regarding “The Wal-Mart Economy”: One thing that will ultimately rein in Wal-Mart will be unions. I am not a great proponent of unions, but in some cases they are absolutely necessary. Wal-Mart has aggressively fought unions in the United States and in Canada. Unions do not have much strength when there is widespread unemployment, as employers have a virtually unlimited pool of people ready, willing, and needing to fill a job slot. But ultimately Wal-Mart will have unions. Recall the way Ford fought unions in the ’20s and ’30s? The unions finally won!

Another problem is with how Wal-Mart benefits from diminished U.S. production ability. The more items we decide to produce offshore, the less production capacity we will have. This means that ultimately Wal-Mart will not be able to buy anything made in the United States, and the laid-off manufacturing workers will have less money to spend, leaving them unable to even buy the cheapest articles at Wal-Mart.

Exporting work to places like China and Mexico improves the standard of living in those places, leading to rising production costs. When higher wages are paid, the costs of goods produced also rises. These increases will raise prices for Wal-Mart also.

These factors, together with its unsustainable annual stock growth, will be the eventual undoing of companies like Wal-Mart. — David Dunbar, [email protected]

I just finished reading your article, “The Wal-Mart economy.” Boy, you sure hit the nail on the head. The sooner municipalities throughout the country realize the negative effect these retailers have, the better off they will be. It’s not only Wal-Mart that’s the culprit, it’s also McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, KFC, etc., etc. Meanwhile, the Home Depots and Loews are knocking the small hardware stores, lumber yards, and nurseries out of the ball park too. Now if the growth of outsourcing isn’t curbed, you could find that the computer industry will be controlled by the Asian countries. — Ed Lubowicki, [email protected]

I have heard the discussion of offshore outsourcing (“Patriot Act”), and read the letters to the editor that you’ve received about this topic. Despite all the anger from displaced workers, it is an economic truth that all those jobs can still be American, but it will be at lower wages than before. It is another economic truth that when all other things are equal, wages and standards of living will tend to equalize. Ireland and India will come up, and Germany, Japan, and the United States will trend toward Ireland and India-just as high-cost California will lose its jobs, or wring out its costs, in competition with Arizona. — David Olson, [email protected]

Your article on disk imaging, “Do as I say, not as I do” was interesting. However, it wasn’t quite accurate. Acronis True Image 6.0 is not the only product out there. PowerQuest’s Drive Image 7.0 can also make an image without leaving Windows. Ghost is the only software in this category that requires you to reboot the computer.

I know your pain. I had the experience of losing 10GB of gaming data, and it happened several times. Backing up the registry could only save some of the settings. I could do nothing except laugh and curse the hard drive manufacturer.

Disk Image can save a computer configuration, but it takes a lot of space. I recommend that users back up on another hard drive or to DVD discs. Another alternative is backing up to CD-Rs or Zip disks. I had a horrible experience restoring computer data from CD-Rs. Current OEM vendors include images of computers on several CD-Rs, but the problem is they don’t work when you need them. I found out that the computer can’t read the third CD, while I already wasted hours on the restoration process.

By the way, I know people can recover data from broken hard disks. Even if fire damages the hard disk, some data can still be recovered from it. However, the the labor involved in this is expensive. The hard disks of my game PC don’t contain any vital business information. I can’t justify paying such price. — Eugene Mi, [email protected]

to start a discussion or ask a question, e-mail [email protected] letters may be edited for style, length, or content. no anonymous letters will be published.

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