Soon, I’ll write a little about ‘inside the neoliberal mind’. To be able to do this I have to establish my credentials: no, I’m not just an armchair economists but also do know a little about lots of real life companies (largely thanks to the internships of my students) and I will blog about these so now and then. Lots of these companies are truly amazing and worth telling about. Not all companies are amazing – but I tell my students that even crappy ones are survivors which in a competitive economy is quite an accomplishment.
A) Meet Avonturia. Even a pet shop can be an experience. A constructionworker became disabled which made him turn his hobby -birds- into a living. His sons wanted to join this trade – which meant that they had to expand. The options: three large ‘normal’ pet shops at an A location – or ‘Large and Loony’, i.e. Avonturia Their secret: push it to the limit: inside the shop they have a ‘brasserie‘. Which has the best tea bar I’ve seen in my life. In a pet shop… Also: Schulp fruit juices, again the best. Like the whole shop, including this.
B) Beusmeat is bankrupt. Beusmeat is/was the largest European supplier of ‘Pork headmeat’, it cuts and slices pork heads using a dissembly line especially designed by MPS. Division of labour in every activity: pigs heads differ in length so somebody cuts the snouts to the right length – but this function rotates. Yes, groce, but it does produce valuable food. According to the company, the Russian sanctions killed the company. I will however not be surprised if it turns out that it will soon restart somewhere in Eastern Europe.
C) Dutch DOC wants to merge with German DMK. DOC is a large cheese factory (even for Dutch standards) which about twenty years ago opted for a place in ‘commodity hell’, i.e. being a large scale low cost producer of commodity cheese. It is very good at wat it does – but cheese prices are low while, do to the end of milk quotisation, Dutch milk production increases and quite a lot of additional cheese production capacity has been built. Which makes DOC opt for the quick road to diversification, i.e. a merger with DMK, the largest dairy company in Germany. Three years ago the company also tried to merge with DMK, but the members (it’s a farmers cooperation) voted ‘No’. Warning: mergers of medium and large Dutch and German companies have a bad track record.
D) The Bussemaker family is part of cooperation ‘Blauwe Bes’ (blueberry) which produces and sells blueberries as well as all kind of blueberry products and uses satellite information to make decisions about fertilizing and irrigating the fields. As it takes three years for agricultural blueberries to produce berries shifting to blueberries is quite an investment for an arable farmer. Interestingly, the farm is located in a peat reclamation area where from the east large farmers from Groningen settled from, using loans and establishing large farms while from the west former peat workers established small farms, using uncounted hours and specializing in horticulture and production of eggs. The grandchildren of these peat workers still vividly remember that their grandparents, when working as day laborers on these large farms, were never invited to eat in the kitchen but had to eat in the barn (quite an insult, in this area). And still really do not want to work for the grandchildren of these large farmers-entrepreneurs.