Ice-Cold Beer in a Red, White, and Blue Label
One of the creators of the “SaveAB” website posted the following commentary on the Columbia Daily Tribune‘s blog:
“Americans don’t want the Statue of Liberty bought by the Saudis or the Washington Monument purchased by the Chinese. Shareholders should resist choosing dollars over American jobs. Selling out to the Belgians is not worth it ? because this is about more than beer: it’s about our jobs and our nation.”
While I certainly appreciate the sentiment and nostalgia surrounding the Anheuser-Busch drama, I cannot agree with the author’s logic. The InBev bid is a perfect example of what capitalism is all about the migration of capital to the places where it can be used most productively. It is this free flow of capital that has powered the U.S. economy since its inception.
For example, during the past decade Toyota has created 36,632 new American jobs. Is Toyota destroying U.S. culture? No. It has been fundamental in fueling innovation in the automobile industry and ensuring that those 30-some-odd thousand families have a home to live in and food on their plates, and are able to contribute to the growth of the U.S. economy. In fact, there are currently more than 5.1 million Americans (4.4 percent of the entire labor force) employed by non-U.S. companies. If we deny Anheuser-Busch shareholders the right to choose whether to accept InBev’s bid, what are we saying about the long-term prospects of millions of Americans’ jobs?
Moreover, if foreign investment is such an “affront to democracy,” then why is the Missouri legislature paying Bombardier Aerospace (a Canadian airplane manufacturer) millions (of taxpayer money, no less!) to build a factory in Kansas City? If we rely on nationalistic sentiment, shouldn’t we demand that those jobs remain in Toronto? Or shouldn’t we demand that Anheuser-Busch bring back the jobs of the nearly 24,000 people it employs outside of the Saint Louis area? If we were to follow this kind of protectionist sentiment to its logical extreme, we would simply revert back to an economy of sustenance farmers, completely dependent upon our local economies for our entire means of production.
How “American” is that?