Business

Dec 14, 2017

Vegemite is back in our happy little hands! Now what?

Consumers are where nationalism is made, not in the ranks of enormous food brands.

Jason Murphy — Journalist and economist

Jason Murphy

Journalist and economist

Australia celebrated when we got Vegemite back in Australian hands. Bega Cheese bought the iconic brand from US multinational Mondelez International, (formerly Kraft.) The $460 million dollar corporate acquisition sparked a glittering fireworks display of patriotic fervour.

But what did it get us?

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13 comments

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13 thoughts on “Vegemite is back in our happy little hands! Now what?

  1. old greybearded one

    Stupidity has no national origin. Would you care to tell us how the tax dodgers like Chevron, et al are serving us. Perhaps the gas companies? Serving us be damned. They are following money. Hello also to SingTeln via Optus satellites. No doubt some foreign companies are good citizens, getting harder to find though.

  2. Itsarort

    Buy a packet of Campbell Soup Saladas and try and remember when they were more like the picture on the packet rather than the wafer within.

  3. lykurgus

    “Is Made in Australia just ‘fuck off we’re full’ in fancy clothes?”
    No it isn’t! Well, not “fancy” (having once had the job of putting that label over the Made in Taiwan stamp); but it is the Power Balance bracelet of yore.

    1. Draco Houston

      lol. you’re such a fake leftist.

  4. Jackol

    We fight to defend what we see as ours, waving back trade flows and investment flows we imagine as foe not friend.

    The idea we can win without everyone else winning too is increasingly outdated.

    While nation states exist as the most potent expression of politics – and one World government is never happening as far as I can tell – then the notion that our government is supposed to be looking after us will persist. The Japanese government looks after the people of Japan; I expect the Australian government to look after the people of Australia.

    We don’t get a say in who the Japanese government are so I’m not expecting them to be particularly concerned with the welfare of the Australian people, and vice versa.

    Now, the article is trying to make the case that economics exists entirely separate from the politics, and that the realities of globalization mean the parochial gaze is simply self-defeating self-delusion.

    That’s been the neo-liberal argument for the last 40 years. But it is false – the political and the economic are intimately entwined, and this ‘TINA’ argument about globalisation is where the real self-delusion lies. Trump and Brexit are recent potent examples where globalisation itself is being rejected because the on-the-ground impacts on peoples’ lives of globalisation are so profound.

    People want a decent, secure, job with a decent wage. People want to be safe at work. People want their environment to be protected. The implication of the globalisation described in this article is that these expectations are not reasonable – we can’t protect Australian wages, job conditions, OHS, environmental protections in a globalised economy because the people of China or Bangladesh or Africa are ‘equivalent’ pieces in the global economy, and they don’t get protected at work or the same environmental standards etc … so what has happened has been that the things we have valued in Australia – secure, safe, stable, well paid work, and environmental protections – are eroded day-in-day-out because of competitive pressures in the globalised economy. And it makes people stressed, unhappy, angry. And that turns it directly into a political problem that manifests itself in the governments of nation states, with the demand of the public that those governments look after the people they are responsible for – Americans first, Australians first, etc.

    The globalised economy may seem inevitable and ‘good’, but when the political action demanded by the people manifests itself at the national level – because that’s the level that exists that people have any control over – it maybe indicates that globalisation has hit a wall and we need to rethink some of the fundamentals.

    Regardless of what you say about the global economy prevailing, if the politics turns any more sour than it already is the global economy will be in for a rude wake up call. Fascism, populism, war are the endpoints here if we don’t start having a system where our governments better look after us by making sure our economies are working for us and not heading for some lowest common denominator. That this revolves around the Nation state is simply because that’s the only structure that people see as having any power.

    1. Draco Houston

      Yes, Trump destroyed globalized capitalism just like he drained the swamp and locked her up, Lol.

  5. Woopwoop

    Many people favour local ownership not because of some sentimental patriotism as the writer implies, but because it means local employment.
    As for no country now having much in the way of “economic borders”, what about the EU?

  6. Kevin_T

    Quote: “Is Made in Australia just ‘fuck off we’re full’ in fancy clothes?”

    I suppose you could equally ask “Is wanting to see Australian citizens in healthy employment just bigotry?”…. one of us is missing the point.

    1. Draco Houston

      It is, read some Marx.

      1. Kevin_T

        Well there you go…. There is a lot that I think is bigoted and racist in this country, but I have never considered that *genuine* concerns about employment within Australia would be considered that way.

        When I am in the supermarket I will refuse to use the machine checkouts, and will return groceries to the shelves if the manned checkouts are closed while I am shopping, in the hope that it will encourage them to give at least a few first jobs (this used to happen, but doesn’t anymore, so maybe the action has had a small effect at keeping people employed on the checkouts, although I know the numbers are very much reduced). I also favour regional milk, and local produce. I had never considered that Marxists would see this as bigotry.

        I still support young people being able to get a first job, subsequent gainful employment, and ability to make a livelihood. Sorry if you think this is a bigoted outlook.

  7. Duncan Gilbey

    Nobobdy really cares where Vegemite comes from.
    Foreign corporations aren’t disliked because they’re foreign, but because they avoid paying tax on revenues earned here.

  8. AR

    If anyone thinks ‘fuk orf we’re full’ is the bailiwick of bigots, remember Dick Smith’s ozzie made jams – it wasn’t, it was sold and it was over sugared shit.
    Does that detract from the ‘stop 200K pa immigration’ message?
    Is everyone but thee & me mad, and thou art a bit strange?

  9. Nereus

    Don’t let the bulk of the comments put you off Jason, you are right on the money. Most people, most of the time, take decisions in their immediate interests, as they perceive them. We buy our petrol from the cheapest station near us; we buy the house brand milk; we buy clothes sewn in third world countries from cloth woven in other third world countries from – sometimes – Australian grown cotton and wool. Why do we do that? Because it makes sense, folks. You know it does. Whether you are on a pension, a wage or an investment income we maximise our choices and benefits by satisfying our collective wants at the lowest cost available. QED.

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