American Brands Victims of Globalization

With the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling, billionaires and international conglomerates can pour money into U.S. political campaigns with no disclosure requirements.  Thanks to the high court, it’s never been easier to buy an election.  And there’s nothing to stop a foreign government  from getting in on the fun.  Now I didn’t much like the ruling, but we live in a day and age when corporations reign supreme, not the people, or governments.  We are governed by an international corporate ruling class. China holds a good chunk of U.S. debt – something in the order of 800 billion, an alarming statistic.  But none of this should come as any surprise.  We are an outsourced nation.  Not only have our jobs gone overseas, so too have iconic American brands.   Say it ain’t so but it is.

What do Gerber baby food and Purina cat chow have in common?  You may be surprised to know that the Gerber baby is not American – he may not even speak English – in fact, it is quite possible he is trilingual, or will be by the time he learns to speak because he’s Swiss.  And so too is Purina cat chow.  And get this.  Gerber is owned by the pharmaceutical company Novartis. Strange.  Who’d have known?

And I bet you didn’t know that the Brits own Ben and Jerry’s, Vaseline and the Good Humor Popsicle brand too.  They do. It’s probably Good Humour by now.  Actually the British-Dutch Unilever company owns these iconic American brands – a company better known for Lifebuoy soap.

The Japanese have gone on a U.S. feeding frenzy snapping up Firestone Tire and of all things 7-Eleven.  I’m not big on Firestone after millions of their tires were recalled back in 2000 for essentially disintegrating at high speeds.  Not exactly the kind of performance one would expect from a tire.  Nor am I big on 7-Eleven.  They remind me of those gas station quicky marts that sell all kinds of crap at inflated prices.  And their stores are too brightly colored – like Burger King, designed to get you in and out as quickly as possible.  You don’t shop in these places really.  The only thing I respect 7-Elevens for are slurpies.  I’ve read that 7-Elevens in Japan don’t even sell them.  Now that is just plain wrong.

I am not anti globalization.  Nor am I xenophobic – if I were, I doubt I’d be able to spell the word.  That said, I do want to draw your attention to one final insult to American pride.  Brace yourself.  Car and Driver magazine is now owned by the French. What car have the French built that inspired the admiration of the world?  Ok, maybe the Fiat Panda.  I’ll give you that.  Alright and the funky Citroen, the one that looks straight out of the Jetsons and also that VW bug knockoff.  But other than those?

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