Walmart is not only the world's single largest retailer and private employer, it is also a crystallization and an agent of a broader paradigm shift toward “securitization”: the convergence of financial and security-oriented logics of risk management. This paper examines the way Walmart mobilizes and manipulates risk to cultivate profit and power and to transform the social and cultural politics within its orbit. Walmart emblematizes and advances capitalist securitization and offers a “risk-free” consumer space as a refuge in an uncertain world, yet it ultimately contributes to a world of systemic insecurity and economic anxiety.
Walmart, Financialization, and the Cultural Politics of Securitization
Max Haiven is an assistant professor in the Division of Historical and Critical Studies at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. His articles on financialization have appeared in journals such as Social Text, Cultural Studies, and Mediations. His work on the radical imagination has appeared in journals such as Cultural Critique, Cultural Studies ⇔ Critical Methodologies, and Affinities. More information can be found at www.maxhaiven.com.