Globalization Taketh Away

A small town in Switzerland discovers the downside of going global, as a profitable local business is shut down after more than a century in operation:

British American Tobacco (BAT) will close a cigarette manufacturing factory in north-western Switzerland next year and lay off the 220 employees working there, it has been confirmed. This decision will have a major impact on the region, the Jura government said on Wednesday. In a statement, BAT confirmed that cigarette production would be transferred from Boncourt to bigger factories in Europe and that Boncourt would be closed.

Following the closure of the factory, the commune of Boncourt (1,200 residents) will lose its biggest taxpayer – around CHF 2 million in annual tax – from its yearly budget of CHF 9 million.

The Boncourt factory was founded by the Burrus family in 1814 and was taken over by Rothmans International in 1996, before merging with tobacco multinational BAT three years later. The site has produced Parisienne cigarettes since 1887, the second best-selling brand in Switzerland.

I’m sure the little town that has lost nearly one-quarter of its tax revenue and more than half of its jobs will be reassured by the knowledge that the cigarettes that it formerly manufactured will henceforth be produced more efficiently elsewhere in Europe.

Homo economus is not human, but vampire.

Strangely enough, it may be the NFL that provides one potential solution to the economic problem of Clown World. Green Bay is one of the oldest and most successful franchises in the NFL, and it not only survives, but thrives, in a small town because it is not owned by rent-seeking pirates, but by the community. The team cannot be sold or moved without the consent of the public.