Barbara Ehrenreich

Barbara Ehrenreich is the author of several books, including Nickel and Dimed and Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America.

Recent Articles

Wal-Mart -- It's Alive!

If Wal-Mart is a person, as the Supreme Court contends, it's a behemoth terrorizing the countryside. But when it comes to workers' rights, it remains curiously immune from lawsuits.

(Flickr/James Moore)
W hat is Wal-Mart—in a strictly taxonomic sense, that is? Based on size alone, it would be easy to confuse it with a nation: In 2002, its annual revenue was equal to or exceeded that of all but 22 recognized nation-states. Or, if all its employees—1.4 million in the U.S. alone—were to gather in one place, you might think you were looking at a major city. But there is also the possibility that Wal-Mart and other planet-spanning, centi-billion-dollar enterprises are not mere aggregations of people at all. They may be independent life-forms—a species of super-organisms. This, anyway, seems to be the takeaway from the 2010 Citizens United decision, in which the Supreme Court, in a frenzy of anthropomorphism, ruled that corporations are actually persons and therefore entitled to freedom of speech and the right to make unlimited campaign contributions. You may object that the notion of personhood had already been degraded beyond recognition by its extension, in the minds of pro-life...