Today’s must read: Russian economic development, as seen through McDonalds

Go here, at the NY Times, and read the article now.  I’ll give a few tiny snippets to whet your appetite, but you really do need to read the whole thing:

Today, private businesses in Russia supply 80 percent of the ingredients in a McDonald’s, a reversal from the ratio when it opened in 1990 and 80 percent of ingredients were imported.
From the day it opened the gates on the $50 million factory, McDonald’s had intended to hand out its functions to other businesses and eventually shut it down, said Khamzat Khasbulatov, the director of McDonald’s in Russia.

Arms-length transactions for supplies allow McDonald’s to step back from the interaction of franchisees and food-processing companies, sparing them a headache. Russia’s 235 restaurants have not yet been franchised.

“We knew from Day 1 that our goal was to outsource all its functions,” Mr. Khasbulatov said.

Today the restaurants in Russia employ 25,000 people, a number far eclipsed by the businesses in McDonald’s supply chain, which employ 100,000, Mr. Khasbulatov said.

That is successful economic development.  Right there.

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