Trump’s low-cost strategy for America, with apologies to Wal-Mart

When I was in graduate school my classmates and I studied about the difference between a “value-added” and a “low-cost” business model. All businesses buy their basic products or raw materials from a supplier and then do something with them to make the product they offer attractive to a particular group of customers. For example Nordstrom Department Stores appeals to customers by adding exceptional customer service to products ( especially clothing), making the products they offer of higher value than products found at other retailers like Macy’s, Dillards, Kohl’s etc.

Wal-Mart, on the other hand, is the classic provider of products for the lowest price/cost. Wal-Mart has competitors that also operate with a low-cost model. K-Mart, for example, which purchased Sears in 2004, was in business long before Wal-Mart but no retailer offers the breadth of products for the price that Wal-Mart does. Wal-Mart’s strategy can be attributed to Sam Walton’s and his executives’ ability to buy products in such large volume they can demand extraordinary low costs from suppliers, along with Wal-Mart’s extraordinarily efficient transportation and supply chain operations. No other retailer comes close to Wal-Mart in these two operational capabilities.

Following is Harvard professor Michael Porter’s famous “Competitive Advantage” matrix which my classmates and I studied in great detail. It illustrates the position within which a business operates, depending on it’s Competitive Scope (i.e. Narrow vs. Wide) and Competitive Advantage ( Low-cost vs. Uniqueness). Wal-Mart is clearly in the upper left quadrant, while Nordstrom is likely in the lower right. None of these positions are “good” or “bad”. All offer the opportunity to earn profits as long as the managers of the business operate their strategy successfully.

The cost of operating a nation-state, like The United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, etc. has little to do with financial costs or dollars and cents. It has everything to do with the amount of freedom and liberty the state assures it’s citizens.

Those states that assure a great deal of freedom operate a value added, high cost, strategy, while those that limit their citizens freedom operate a low cost strategy. Trump is attempting to change the strategy of the United States from a value-added one, that offers a large amount of freedom and liberty, to a low-cost one, that offers very little liberty. His attacks on the press, on mosques, and on other institutions, explicitly protected by the Bill of Rights, demonstrate his strategy quite clearly.

Trump is attempting to make the United States the Wal-Mart of Nation-states. Trump and “tolerance” are not words that go easily in the same sentence. His standard operating procedure is to bully his opponents into silence and limit any discussion that would incur the cost of allowing free people to express their thoughts and respect their freedom of expression and right to free speech. Trump’s low cost-strategy to operating a nation state is the practice of tyrants who rid themselves of free people “yearning to be free” as inscribed on the Statue of Liberty. Low cost states stand at the boundary of Low-cost and Value-added operating models , much like Darth Vader stands at the border between his state and that of the Statue of liberty’s in the image below.

The presidential oath of office, which Trump recited, demands that the president “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States” but recently Trump advocated depriving immigrants of due-process rights, saying they were not entitled to have their detention by immigration officers reviewed by immigration judges. The Supreme Court of the United States interprets the Due Process clauses broadly and concludes that they provide the following protections to “all” individuals detained and charged with a crime in the United States:

Trump has little respect for anyone’s freedom of speech other than his own. Trump has repeatedly said that the president’s pardoning power is unlimited, even though Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution does provide limitations. In his private life, he has repeatedly abused libel law as a plaintiff. A committee of media lawyers affiliated with the American Bar Association (ABA) commissioned a report on Donald Trump’s litigation history which found that he has filed numerous groundless suits against individuals who have criticized him, but he never won. Trump has also repeatedly attacked the First Amendment guarantee of a free press, attempting to undermine its legitimacy whenever it covers him negatively.

In international relations Trump simply abrogates treaties and agreements in which the United States was expected and needed to behave as a member of free nation-states.

For trump it’s simply easier to avoid the cost of engaging in discussion with free people about issues on which he and they may disagree.

Both at home and abroad Trump’s actions jeopardize the well being of all Americans and put our lives at risk. It’s been almost sixty-five years since Michigan University professor A.F.K. Organski described his Power Transition model of international relations

According to Dr. Organski an even distribution of political, economic, and military capabilities between contending groups of states is likely to increase the probability of war. Peace is preserved best when there is an imbalance of national capabilities between disadvantaged and advantaged nations; He explains that peace is preserved not by a “balance of power” but rather by a “balancer” nation-state ( e.g. U.S., Great Britain, Rome, etc). An aggressor to the balancer will come from a small group of dissatisfied strong countries; and it is the weaker, rather than the stronger power that is most likely to be the aggressor. As trump weakens the freedom of Americans at home and withdraws, the United States from international agreements he creates the very opportunity for China and perhaps Russia described by professor Organski.

As trump weakens the U.S.’s “balancer position” in international relations, China, among others, feels embolden to expand it’s own relations. Rising Chinese defense capabilities erode American supremacy. China’s new anti-carrier weapons endanger U.S. force projection capabilities in the Western Pacific; its anti-satellite programs imperil U.S. global surveillance and communication capabilities; its growing operations in cyberspace menace U.S. government operations and the economy of the American homeland alike. These are serious challenges, not just to American hegemony, but to core U.S. interests and world peace that are much more acute because of Trump’s abusive domestic and international policies.

Donald Trump is a “clear and present danger” to the citizens of the United States. He should not be allowed to be the President of the United States with the risk his low-cost strategy is likely to result in large numbers of American citizens being harmed, injured and killed!







Originally published at on June 27, 2018.

Husband for 49 years. Dad forever! Very lucky man.