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Rescooped by Meagan Harpin from Geography Education!

How Wal-Mart Used Payoffs to Get Its Way in Mexico

How Wal-Mart Used Payoffs to Get Its Way in Mexico | Meagan's Geoography 400 |
Wal-Mart de Mexico was an aggressive and creative corrupter, offering large payoffs to get what the law otherwise prohibited, an examination by The New York Times found.

Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

Walmart bribed Mexico officals $52,000 to have the zoning maps redrawn before it was published in the newspapers. So when it was published it showed the allowed area drawen in for the building of the new walmart. The building created uproar from the people. They were upset from the congested traffic and created months of hunger strikes and sit ins that made Mexican media. 


James Hobson's curator insight, September 23, 2014 1:17 PM

(Mexico topic 9)

It is troubling to discover how bribery still continues to promote special interests at the expense of others and their own interests. Though other articles I have commented on discuss the improving economy and politics of Mexico, this one clearly shows an area that needs much more attention.

   Despite this, all of the fuss (though justifiable) may be slightly over-exaggerated in my opinion. Just look at the photo above: the WalMart is at least somewhat set back from the pyramids, BUT the smoke and smog from other industries fills the air right up to and all around the pyramids themselves. I think this is just as much, if not more, of an injustice to the cultural site. While one can choose whether or not to enter a store, it is impossible not to breathe in the polluted air and have one's view limited while visiting such a place.

   Lastly, although bribery is certainly something I deeply frown upon, perhaps it is slightly less "wrong" than it would be in other countries like the US. Since Mexico's government and its departments have a reputation (at least from what I've heard) of being corrupted, perhaps the only way to build a store is to offer a bribe. It would be interesting to see if this was the case with other store locations throughout Mexico.

Kendra King's curator insight, February 2, 8:50 PM

Clearly it is horrible what Walmart did, but what about everyone else in this scenario? Walmart was able to damage public history and jeopardize the traffic safety of Mexico because they figured out the going price for those concepts was: a couple mayors, some INAH official, and an Urban Operations official (see article for in-depth explanations of how each was bought off). All of whom bypassed their duty to the public. See I am not surprised by the corporation’s actions. The corporation is acting for its own self-interest like many corporations have historically done. In fact, compared to the East India Company of 1800 (which had its own standing army) this is tame (see below article). I would prefer companies not to operate as such, however a company will act in such a manner so long as it is permitted. Deterring such actions falls on the fault of the officials who were so easily bought off.


Yet, whose job is it to police a corporation? At one point, the article mentioned that when the Mexican investigation found nothing wrong with Walmart they, “chided protesters for failing to present any specific proof.” I’m sorry, but it isn’t the protesters job to go out and find proof. That is the job of an investigator, whom I might add didn’t do a good job given the evidence the New York Times was able to amass. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) for Mexico, they probably aren’t that apt at forensic banking because they are a largely agrarian society who only relatively recently is being introduced to the corporate world. Looks like there is a whole new specialty that Mexico will need to learn soon due to globalization. I say Mexico needs to learn this also because it is mainly their job to monitor their people. I understand that this is an American company so on some level they will have to monitor their people. However, majority of the people involved in this were in Mexico. Thus, Mexico will need to deal with their side of justice and also start developing environmentally usefully laws under the new corporate rule (i.e. ones that protect historical artifacts even when the “proper” licenses have been secured.)


I am not looking to just pick on Mexico’s corporation problems either because we all know the United States has their fair share of corporate issues. In fact, I think it is safe to say that Walmart could have bought off people in the United States too. Think of all the tainted deals that occurred in the subprime mortgage crisis. We aren’t even sure because no one actually went after them! At least in the case of Walmart there is an investigation going on again. It will be interesting to see what the end result is though. Most times, it isn’t near what a company should get. In the United States some are literally able to get away with murder. Just look at GM's latest court dealings. I hope Mexico can do a better job than the United States when it comes to handling corporate investigations in the future.  



Bob Beaven's curator insight, February 5, 2:32 PM

This article shows the "forced globalization" of Mexico.  I thought it was interesting how Walmart de Mexico would use such cutthroat means to build a "intermediate sized store".  Yet the Walmart officials in Mexico realized that being not too far from a major tourist attraction would help business.  There were many groups who tried to stop it from happening, but they could not stop the store from being built.  This article shows how corporate Globalization is ruthless, and it doesn't care about disobeying laws.  This article also shows that if a company is big enough, it can, in effect do whatever it pleases.  In the United States on the other hand, this type of bribery could never have happened. 

Rescooped by Meagan Harpin from Geography Education!

Dhaka: fastest growing megacity in the world

A five-part, multimedia series on the coming dystopia that is urbanization.


This is a great introduction to the explosion of the slums within megacities.  This video as a part of the article is especially useful.   Click on the title to read the accompanying article.

Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

The city of Dhaka has experienced a massivie boom in population. Both the rich and the poor are flowing into this city causing many problems that all complain the government is ignoring instead of fixing. The city is very inefficient, with traffic so bad that it is costing the city millions of dollars. There are frequent water shortages resulting in protests in the streets. There is much infrastructure throughout the city as well. But it is also represents a sense of hope to the people that are coming in and moving into the slums, that with the better jobs and money they will be able to get they can better provide for themselves or their family.

Rebecca Farrea's curator insight, November 19, 2013 10:58 AM

This video is incredibly interesting in that it describes just what it means to be the fastest growing megacity in the world.  Every year, hundreds of thousands of people are moving to Dhaka, Bangladesh from smaller towns outside the capital city.  The current population of Dhaka is 15 million but people are migrating to the city so quickly that it does not take very long for the census data to become outdated.  People are moving to Dhaka with hopes of a better life for themselves and their families.  Their situation upon moving goes from worst to bad.  People move out of slums and squatter settlements in their hometowns into other slums and squatter settlements in Dhaka, but they still believe they are beginning a better life.  There are many interesting aspects of this video.  For one, there is a girl who is happy because she works in a fabric factory and she might receive a $4/month increase in pay.  To us in the United States, this is nothing, but to her, it is a huge help to her and her family.  Also, there is a girl who could rarely afford fish or meats but she can now buy one good piece of meat each week because she can afford it in Dhaka.  While there are many glimpses of hope and opportunities to live better lives in Dhaka as seen in this video, there are many geographical implications for Dhaka as it becomes larger and larger each day.  The government is very informal and people who move to Dhaka do not have any land to build homes on, so they build illegally on someone else's land.  Also, traffic on Dhaka's streets is, for lack of a better term, insane.  The city just cannot handle all of the migration from elsewhere.  Resources such as clean water and food are very slim.  Even though Dhaka might suffer as a city due to its rapid growth and inability to support everyone, newcomers still choose Dhaka as the gateway to a better life.

Brett Sinica's curator insight, November 19, 2013 2:21 PM

I recently did a project on the topic of megacities in the past, present, and future and how the natural risks they posed.  In past decades there was Tokyo, New York City, or even Mexico City.  I also covered present cities such as Shangai and Los Angeles to name a few.  The city that basically topped the growth charts in my statistics was Dhaka.  The city literally is growing like a chia pet, but with no direct plan or proper use of land.  According to future calculations, the city of Dhaka can reach roughly 23 million by 2025, that's about 600,000 new people coming in every year up until that point.  This video is just an example of how poorly planned this megacity is, and what the future holds for all of the people living there.  It's simply chaos.  There are already squatter settlements and unorganized living conditions for the current residents, picturing the population to grow even more is outrageous!

Joseph Thacker 's curator insight, April 6, 2014 11:23 PM

Dhaka is the fastest growing city in the world, as rich and poor people move to the city everyday. So many poor people are moving here due to the fact there is no other place worth living in Bangladesh. The city is facing many problems, such as lack of traffic signals, minimal clean drinking water for residents and horrible housing for many people. However, some feel the city’s slums offer the best chance for an improved life.