Andrew Young Stuns Labor Activists And Then Some


Andrew Young, one of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s top aides, a former United Nations ambassador and former mayor of Atlanta, announced last month that he would head a group formed to spread the word about the positive contributions of Wal-Mart Stores.
Young says he was drawn to the Wal-Mart venture because the company is creating wealth, especially in rural and inner-city communities shunned by other retailers.
“I got involved with Wal-Mart because I think Wal-Mart is making middle-class lifestyles available to poor people. … I agreed to chair the (national steering) committee of Working Families for Wal-Mart because there was another side of the story that wasn’t being told,” he says.
His company, GoodWorks International, is being paid an undisclosed amount to help promote Wal-Mart through interviews, speeches and editorials. One of Young’s goals, he says, is to get the retailer into Africa. Working Families was formed last year and is funded primarily by Wal-Mart Stores.
He describes Wal-Mart’s business practices this way: “It’s hard-nosed capitalism that’s very rough around the edges. But that’s what it takes to produce a quality lifestyle for poor people.”
“Poverty in America is market potential unrealized. The largest underserved market in the world is not China or India. It’s the (American) rural poor and the inner cities. That’s approximately a $2 trillion market that nobody pays attention to.”

About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am now head of brand strategy and creative direction at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.