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Wynn Resorts, WalMart: One coin in the world economy

(James Saft is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.)

Oct 16 (Reuters) - Big fish Chinese gamblers afraid of a corruption crackdown and poorly paid Walmart workers in the United States might seem to have little in common.

But in the global economy, they are in some ways two sides of the same coin, and to understand that is to understand more than why the two disparate groups were blamed for horrendous earnings at two very different companies: Walmart and Wynn Resorts.

The globalization of the past 25 years has been kind to both companies, as cheap labor from China became integrated in the global economy, creating, among many phenomena, great new wealth in China and a buyer's market for labor in the United States.

Now we may be seeing the early stages of a partial reversal of some of those trends, as China seeks a new economic model and politics and economics in the United States are giving wage earners more bargaining power.

Walmart's stock is down more than 12 percent since it said on Wednesday that earnings would fall 6-12 percent this year, a decline it blamed in part on higher wage bills. The retailer said in April it was bumping hourly pay up to at least $9 for all U.S. employees, with another dollar-per-hour hike to come in February. Overall, Walmart says it will spend $1.2 billion to $1.5 billion on higher wages and training next year.

Wynn Resorts has a very different species of problem: too few Chinese high-rollers willing to be seen betting fortunes on the flip...