The Man Who Brought Walmart Into the 21st Century Wants to Build an American Utopia

By Elijah Labby Monday, January 18, 2021

You may not know Marc Lore’s name, but you surely know his impact on the online shopping industry. The entrepreneur who founded and later sold it to Walmart also worked to make Walmart’s online presence a threat to Amazon, the worldwide leader in online retail.

Now, Lore has a new mission: create a new American utopia.

“It’s a new model for society we’ll be testing,” he told Vox. “...Imagine a city with the vibrancy, diversity and culture of New York City combined with the efficiency, safety and innovation of Tokyo and the sustainability, governance, and social services of Sweden,” reads the vision statement for the project. “This will be our New City.”

What this means in practice is unclear as Lore declined to give more details, but he said there would be more information forthcoming. What’s clear is that for Lore, it’s a personal project.

“This is going to be a lifelong project,” he said. “It’s the thing I’m most passionate about.”

And he’s got no shortage of funds to work with. Walmart’s 2016 acquisition of the startup was, at the time, its largest purchase at $3.3 billion. The company was just over a year old.

What’s more, Lore also founded Quidsi, an online realtor that specialized in baby products before it was purchased by Amazon for about $550 million in 2011 and dissolved in 2017.

However, while Lore has seen incredible success from his numerous businesses, he has a few concerns with the current economy that drive his desire to reform the way we live.

Lore told Yahoo News that his city would embrace a “reformed version of capitalism” that places more emphasis on closing gaps in wealth and income. He also says, notably, that his vision can be achieved without hiking taxes. And while that may sound impossible, Lore says it’s simply a matter of changing the structure of governance in the new city.

“If it works well we could have both, we could have lower taxes, and less inequality, with still the same upside, you know without capping anybody's upside as well,” he said. “... It would be very hard to implement something like that in an existing country or city, because it's so different.... With a clean slate and a new city you really can, you know, prove it out, you know, unencumbered.”

Lore is moving on from Walmart, but the company is wishing him nothing but the best. Chief Executive Doug McMillon praised Lore in an internal memo, praising his “expertise and aggressiveness.”

“We have learned a lot from him. I have personally learned a lot from him,” McMillion said.

About the Author

Headshot for author Elijah Labby

Elijah Labby is a graduate of the National Journalism Center. He has previously written for Broadband Breakfast, a technology and internet policy website.

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