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The giant retailer Wal-Mart is seen as the most successful business venture in the world today. It is at once a shining example of the magnificent benefits of capitalism and capitalism’s consequent social problems. It epitomizes the dilemma faced by multinational global corporations going forward.

By cutting costs to the bone, Wal-Mart brings food, clothing and an unprecedented variety of other products to shoppers at bargain-basement prices. Conversely, it must be subsidized by state and local governments because it pays such low wages that about half of its employees cannot make ends meet.

Sam Walton, its founder and guiding light, was an extraordinary “up by the bootstraps” individualˉ—a dirt-poor farm kid with an uncanny talent for innovation and a drive-for-success to match. During the 1950s while managing his first retail store, he did away with cash registers scattered around the store and put cash registers by the door so customers paid once rather than six different times for six different purchases. As he expanded his retail empire, he made his store managers limited partners and instituted profit-sharing. But this incentive was not extended to Wal-Mart’s floor workers.

Save and Subsidize

 Wal-Mart’s original floor workers were farm wives supplementing their husbands’ incomes. Then came the financial efficiencies brought by big agricultural corporations, gradually eliminating family farmers. Now Wal-Mart’s floor workers are drawn from the dispossessed of small towns across the USA and world, and the wages they are paid do not enable them to be self-supporting. The same people who save by shopping at Wal-Mart wind up being taxed to subsidize Wal-Mart.

A two-hundred-employee Wal-Mart store now costs local communities $108,000 a year for health care, $120,000 for tax credits and deductions for low-income families, and $42,000 in housing assistance, according to an article, Inside the Leviathan by Simon Head, in the New York Review of Books, December 16, 2004.

Now Wal-Mart’s efficiency is being blamed for a variety of other problems. “Hundreds of employees have testified against Wal-Mart in the many class-action lawsuits brought against the corporation, and their sworn depositions provide a detailed account of what it is like to work at a Wal-Mart day by day, even hour by hour.”

In a law suit brought by Betty Dukes and six female employees of the Wal-Mart in Pittsburg, California, systematic sex discrimination was alleged in both pay and promotion; the suit was brought on behalf of 1.6 million female employees. A US District Judge in San Francisco ruled that this case can be brought to trial, which is now pending.

But according to what is today defined as “free market” capitalism, Wal-Mart committed no crimes and is being punished for its fantastic success. This has to concern other multinational corporations which likewise play by the rules of “free market” capitalism but drain tax-supported social services.

Going Forward  

Does Wal-Mart’s dilemma mark a change in how society perceives giant corporations? Going forward, will Wal-Mart and other giant multinationals continue to be subsidized by taxpayers?

Sam Walton opened what would become the first of his stores on July 2, 1962, in Rogers, Arkansas. Assuming 9 am as the opening time, a chart for this event shows Uranus at 27 Leo conjunct the Ascendant, applying to a conjunction with Pluto at 8 Virgo in the First House. The Sun and Moon are conjunct in Cancer, (with both conjunct the US Venus, Jupiter and Sun in Cancer.) Wal-Mart’s birth pattern indicates an entity with the potential to profoundly (Pluto) revolutionize (Uranus). Indeed, Wal-Mart was viewed early on as something of an Ozark hillbilly rabble rouser in the community of retailers.

Wal-Mart’s Sun and Moon form a grand trine with Jupiter in Pisces and Neptune in Scorpio, giving it plenty of watery passion and potential to expand. Wal-Mart also has an opposition of Jupiter and Pluto, adding tense, dynamic energy to its drive for expansion.

Comparing Wal-Mart’s original store to the birth chart for the USA, July 4, 1776, Wal-Mart’s Mercury conjunct the US Mars forms a grand trine to the US Moon (public) in Aquarius and US Saturn (economic structures) in Libra. Mercury rules business so this could hardly be better for Wal-Mart’s unprecedented expansion throughout the USA and into other countries. Caution is indicated by the Wal-Mart Mercury being square the US Neptune, however, indicating deception or delusion.

On June 22, 2004, when the US District Court in San Francisco sent the Dukes case on to the higher court, Pluto had moved to 20 Sagittarius in opposition to Wal-Mart’s Mercury and the US Mars, putting Pluto also square the US Neptune. Indicating a major change in Wal-Mart’s makeup was Uranus at 6 Pisces, conjunct Wal-Mart’s Jupiter, opposite its Pluto, and forming a T-square with Venus in Gemini.

April 2015 Eclipse

 Pluto, in June 2004, was also opposite a point between Wal-Mart’s Venus and Sun-Moon conjunction, while Saturn and Mercury were moving conjunct Wal-Mart’s Sun and Moon, and Wal-Mart’s Saturn was hit by a Neptune conjunction. With all the heavy economic indicators—Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto—afflicting, the long-range outlook for Wal-Mart’s success is in doubt. This pattern reflects the growing disenchantment with Wal-Mart.

To assess Wal-Mart’s fortunes in the future, I chose the eclipse in April 2015, for that is when the USA’s natal planetary positions are to be hit the hardest and we can expect the most difficult times. A Uranus-Pluto square will form a Grand Cross pattern with the Sun-Saturn square in the US nativity. Given the past history of Uranus-Pluto squares which hit these points, you can bet the farm that the 2000-teens will be volatile. How will Wal-Mart be impacted during this time?

Wal-Mart’s Sun-Moon conjunction in Cancer will be negatively impacted by the Uranus-Pluto grand cross, and also by the Sun-Moon opposition eclipse. It will be a miracle if the world’s largest and most successful retailer survives this period—unless it finds the ways and means to revolutionize its operation and adapt to new circumstances.

Astrologer Manfred Zimmel of Austria, editor of the financial newsletter Amanita, has pointed to this time, the 2000-teens, as the probable end of capitalism as we know it. Wal-Mart epitomizes this dilemma for capitalism—it generates record profits by bringing a cornucopia of products to consumers at rock-bottom prices, yet becomes a drain on these same consumers as taxpayers. This speaks to its Mercury conjunction with the US Mars-square-Neptune. In a society focused on big corporate profits, the costs to society tend to disappear in a Neptunian mist.

What the upcoming Uranus-Pluto square and grand cross promise is a rebalancing of the US and world economy. Wal-Mart could survive this difficult period if it questions its belief in the version of capitalism which has spawned its amazing success. But the chances of that are about the same as the Vatican questioning the Immaculate Conception.

Wealth of Nations

End-of-the-world forecasts for this period, the 2000-teens, come from the legends of many ancient cultures, but don’t despair. The world and we humans have survived many other apocalyptic predictions. And there is a bright beam of sunlight shining over the horizon of 2015. It has to do with a book published the last time Pluto was where it will be in 2015, when the American Revolution of 1776 was boiling up. At that time Adam Smith published what would revolutionize economics: The Wealth of Nations. Smith said that labor creates capital. His modern mega-corporate devotees revised that to “the company provides jobs.”

Some of Smith’s theories are cited by big corporate economists as “holy scripture.” But Smith’s eighteenth century capitalism was very different from today’s mega-corporate capitalism. Small business “profit” is really wages. Big corporate profit is what’s left after all expenses, including wages.

Big corporate enterprises create huge imbalances between a super-rich few and the impoverished many. Smith’s independent enterprises create what is needed for a whole society to survive and prosper: economic balance. That bright beam of sunlight is a recycling of Smith’s anti-monopolistic principles of capitalism. Pluto’s 248-year cycles tend to dig up such lost truths as Smith’s, dust them off, and fit them into a new cultural context.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Robert Gover's book Time and Money: the Economy and the Planets came out in late May, 2005. Euromoney Magazine reviewed it in late 2005. Robert has partnered with a fund manager in Florida, Mike Mansfield, to do a financial newsletter. Robert was the featured speaker at a conference of investors from around the world in Denver on September 24, 2005, He has a BA in economics and has studied astrology since 1965. By the mid-1970s, he had become interested in stock market astrology, and by the mid-1980s, with the advent of astrological software, his interest had expanded to the whole economy. Time and Money may be purchased from www.hopepubs.com, or amazon, B&N and other online vendors, as well as book stores. Robert is a memmber of the International Society of Astrological Research, the International Society of Business Astrologers, and the American Federation of Astrologers. He is also a novelist, and the latest edition of his most famous book One Hundred Dollar Misunderstanding can be purchased at most online bookstores. His other novels may be obtained from used or rare book dealers. He has written one other nonfiction book: Voodoo Contra, about the conradictory meanings of that ominous word.

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For more information about Robert Gover, click here.

Other StarIQ articles by Robert Gover:

  • Pluto and the Fed   12/7/2007
  • The Real Estate Cycle   5/14/2007
  • Saturn-Neptune and the U.S. Monetary System   6/9/2006
  • Global Corporations & Territorial Imperative   3/24/2006
  • Neptune and the New Fed Chairman   2/24/2006
  • Saturn-Neptune Avian Flu   1/16/2006
  • Saturn & Neptune: Money and Oil   11/4/2005
  • Money: Dollar & Yuan   7/29/2005
  • Social Security and Murphy's Law   1/28/2005
  • Mercury, Pluto and the Vote Count   11/12/2004
  • Vietnam, Iraq, Saturn & Pluto   10/8/2004
  • Planetary Aspects & Belief   7/16/2004
  • Zhu Di to G. Bush   5/28/2004
  • The 72-Year Cycle   4/16/2004
  • Class War   1/9/2004
  • Economists and Astrology, Part 5   10/6/2003
  • Economists and Astrology, Part 4   9/29/2003
  • Economists and Astrology, Part 3   9/22/2003
  • Economists and Astrology, Part 2   9/9/2003
  • Economists and Astrology, Part 1   9/8/2003
  • Mayan Time and Money   6/26/2003
  • Dollar, Euro and War   4/24/2003
  • Stock Market Alert   12/12/2002
  • War Fever   10/3/2002
  • Long-Range Economic Forecast   8/29/2002
  • Pep Rallies & Scouting Reports   8/15/2002
  • The Virtuous Circle   8/2/2000
  • Neptune, Pluto and Boundaries   5/24/2000
  • Volatile Stock Markets and Pluto   4/19/2000
  • Neptune and Inflation   3/29/2000
  • Financial Panics Past and Future   3/8/2000
  • The Bubble and Gap of the 1990s   3/1/2000
  • Saturn and Great Depressions Part 2   2/2/2000
  • Saturn and Great Depressions Part 1   1/12/2000

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