Big chain stores correlates with rise in hate groups?

Do Big-Box Stores Help Create Hate Groups? Study Says Yes.

While big-box retailers might offer the lowest prices, they also may be altering a community’s social and economic fabric enough to promote the creation of hate groups, new research shows.

According to the study by professors at Penn State University, New Mexico State University and Michigan State University, the number of Wal-Mart stores in a county correlates significantly with the number of hate groups in the area.

The amount of Wal-Mart stores in a county was more statistically significant than other factors commonly regarded as important to hate group participation, such as the unemployment rate, high crime rates and low education, the research found.

The large, anonymous nature of big-box retailers may also play a role in fraying social bonds, which are strongest when individuals feel their actions are being more closely watched, the study found.

For instance, people may be less likely to shoplift at a local hardware store if they know the owner personally.


“Correlated significantly” is the key words there. But, correlation does not equal causation. That is, the presence of Wal Mart does not CAUSE more hate groups. Unfortunately, with studies that come out in the media, people read into it and come out with the wrong idea.

The bottom line is socialogy is complicated thing because people in a society are affected by SO many different factors in the culture: religion, local economics, poverty, education level, consumer habits. The list goes on…

I don’t care for the way this is framed to make Wal Mart look like the key problem here. I’m not a fan of Wal Mart and some point they make have some merit. But couldn’t Wal Mart reflect our times in the same way as growing hate groups reflect times. I believe you’ll find it’s more complicated than “this” leads to “that”.

  5 comments for “Big chain stores correlates with rise in hate groups?

  1. Fastmover01
    April 16, 2012 at 10:31 AM

    This study is just one of thousands of the wildly popular anti business hit-pieces being floated for “Occupy” advocates to lap up. Grain of salt, and check where the funding came from.

  2. ghi
    April 16, 2012 at 4:12 PM

    yes, they could have dug deeper. walmart does not build stores at random. its presence in a particular community might be symptomatic of larger societal trends at work, in population growth, transportation links, median income, etc. how does its decision process work? it may be that walmart meets less organized resistance to opening such large stores in certain types of communities, as opposed to others. there is no walmart (or target, for that matter) in all of san francisco county. while there is only 1 in urban LA, the OC has countless stores. it’s an interesting idea, poorly executed.

  3. ghi
    April 16, 2012 at 4:16 PM

    i didn’t realize astroturf had such deep roots. do you have like a google alert going, or just a lot of free time?

  4. ghi
    April 16, 2012 at 4:22 PM

    ps: all kidding aside, check out the “related” post above, and try to keep an open mind.

    “Hate groups on the rise fueled by belief in conspiracies”

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