Showing posts with label chain stores. Show all posts
Showing posts with label chain stores. Show all posts

Monday, December 10, 2012

What Investments Does Colombia Want?

Come inside for your aguardiente, tequila and whisky!
Colombia should be careful about what it wishes for in free trade and foreign investment.

I took these snapshots the other day of one of the Mexican Oxxo chain stores which are invading Bogotá.

Junk food, anyone?
This one is located directly - and strategically - right across Ave. Septima from La Javeriana University, where the store advertises several kinds of alcoholic beverages and junk food in its window. Undoubtedly, many more kinds are waiting inside.

Needless to say, in Colombia excessive drinking (and unhealthy diets) among students is a big concern. I had even understood that a law restricted alcohol sales near universities, so I'm not sure why this store is allowed to so brazenly offer intoxicating beverages to students.

Colombia is opening itself to foreign investment like few other countries - for better or worse. Perhaps rather than opening a floodgate it should try to apply a sieve and actually select the investments which really benefit Colombia's economy, its people and its culture.

Then they can ask whether chain stores pushing junk food and alcohol and displacing locally-owned businesses bring many benefits.

This situation also invites reflection on the issue of drug legalization. Alcohol is legal, but few people (besides alcohol makers and vendors) would argue that offering it to stressed university students is a very good idea. And, if drugs like cocaine and marijuana were legalized here, it wouldn't be a good thing for them to be advertised across the street from a university, either.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours