It's been a while since I posted anything overtly political, so I'm overdue. Here are three links to articles that I found particularly relevant. Thanks to Cecie for posting them all in her blog where I could get hold of them.
An op-ed from the New York Times explaining why Toyota chose Canada for their new Rav4 plant, over the US South: http://www.knowledgemessenger.com/Prod/KMTasks/uploads/Toyota%20op-ed.pdf
A link about how Ireland became the second-richest country in the EU (and an object lesson for the US about the value of social investments):http://www.knowledgemessenger.com/Prod/KMTasks/uploads/Ireland%20op-ed.pdf
An article in the New York Times about the labor practices of Costco versus those of Walmart, including disparaging comments from analysts: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/17/business/yourmoney/17costco.html?ex=1279252800&en=8b3103305fea6d68&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss
... [N]ot everyone is happy with Costco's business strategy. Some Wall Street analysts assert that Mr. Sinegal is overly generous not only to Costco's customers but to its workers as well.
Costco's average pay, for example, is $17 an hour, 42 percent higher than its fiercest rival, Sam's Club. And Costco's health plan makes those at many other retailers look Scroogish. One analyst, Bill Dreher of Deutsche Bank, complained last year that at Costco "it's better to be an employee or a customer than a shareholder."
Mr. Sinegal begs to differ. He rejects Wall Street's assumption that to succeed in discount retailing, companies must pay poorly and skimp on benefits, or must ratchet up prices to meet Wall Street's profit demands.
Good wages and benefits are why Costco has extremely low rates of turnover and theft by employees, he said. And Costco's customers, who are more affluent than other warehouse store shoppers, stay loyal because they like that low prices do not come at the workers' expense. "This is not altruistic," he said. "This is good business."
Emme Kozloff, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Company, faulted Mr. Sinegal as being too generous to employees, noting that when analysts complained that Costco's workers were paying just 4 percent toward their health costs, he raised that percentage only to 8 percent, when the retail average is 25 percent.
"He has been too benevolent," she said. "He's right that a happy employee is a productive long-term employee, but he could force employees to pick up a little more of the burden."
I'd write my own commentary on these, but I'm too busy and mindblown to do so, so you'll just have to read them on your own and comment here.