Companies always have one thing in mind, and that is to maximize profits. Large companies, like Walmart, are often willing to skirt around the law if it means they can make a greater profit. That is what we have here in this article by the Washington Post.
It may not come as that big of a surprise to us that Walmart is using shady business practices. Walmart has earned a reputation across the world as an exploitative company willing to do almost anything to make money. In this case Walmart is being accused of false advertising. This time Matthew Adam is suing Walmart. Asserting that Walmart used a “fraudulent, unlawful, deceptive and unfair course of conduct” to market and sell its four Trouble Brewing beers as craft beers. When in fact the beer is made by Genesee Brewing.
Now the fact that Walmart is trying to pass off Genesee Brewing as something else to make more money is not all that surprising. But, it does bring up the question of how Walmart seems to get away with doing such things. I think that Walmart is a good modern example of the Ring of Gyges.
The Ring of Gyges is a magical artifact mentioned by the philosopher Plato in Book 2 of his Republic. It granted its owner the power to become invisible at will. Through the story of the ring, Republic considers whether an intelligent person would be moral if he did not have to fear being caught and punished for doing injustices.
Although Walmart does not have an invisible ring it does possess the next best things, namely money and power. I believe that Walmart uses these sorts of shady practices simply because it knows it can get away with it. At best no one notices and Walmart gets more money. At worst, Walmart will be forced to use some of that money and power it possesses to make things go away. They can simply buy fancy lawyers or influence politicians. Walmart knows that by the end of the day none of this will really affect them. Money, influence, and power these are the modern-day Ring of Gyges, and Walmart has it all in spades.
Even though it may seem that there is nothing we can do to stop Walmart, and other large companies, from doing such things I believe there are things we can still do. The Ring of Gyges only allows its wearer to do injustice because no one can see him to punish him. So, what we need to do is take off the ring and see him for what he truly is. It is up to us the consumer to see what companies like Walmart are doing, and cry out when we see injustice. Especially when no one else seems to be able to see it.