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What's Right about Kansas

Tim reposts a thumbnail portrait showing what's right about Kansas (other than some silly regulation), on the day of the Kansas primary-caucuses. This reminds me of my quick visit to Russell, KS in 1996, home at various points of both Bob Dole and Arlen Specter. Be sure to hit the A&W Root Beer when driving through Russell!
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Discussions - 3 Comments

Is the A&W in Russell significantly different than the one in Ashland, Ohio ?

(The one in Ashland is independent - not part of the national chain...somehow - but still has A&W root beer and great coney dogs, clam dinners, and fries, but the one in Russell is part of the corporate franchise.)

Maybe, I think they are all part of the corporate franchise, it just depends when they signed the contracts. I have been to several. The one in Ft. Sill is a bit unusal in that it is attached to a bowling alley. The Army I suppose can negotiate for anything it wants, including getting waivers for suppliers and tradedress. It used to be contracts left a lot of things open. Now that would almost be considered malpractice. Typically almost everything has to be standardized complete with a certain tradedress.

If you have money for a lawyer you can still contract for anything, depending on if the corporation is willing to risk its good name by giving up control. But in theory A&W could let you use the trademark, the drinks and a partial menu, and leave open certain aspects of the trade dress. Generally the older the franchise the more freedom the entrepreneur had.

Some business models are super detailed, and almost everything is taken care of by the corporation. Say a McDonalds. You are an entrepreneur in some ways if you own a McDonalds, but probably not in the glorified sense.

A&W has chains and the option to franchise for anywhere from $1.1-1.7 million. Who knows what they would let you negotiate? I think if you already owned several, and you hadn't screwed up they would let you get innovative. Maybe. Problem is the contracts have grown up around the laws. Almost no typical smuck has a chance. It is hard to know what you could negotiate, and you would hate to overpay in royalties for an asthetic value. I figure you probably could have negotiated more back before it became part of YUM.

It is possible that in Kansas you could have picked up a waiver from the policy, but that would also involve a lawyer...

I think the answer to income inequality is to be found in our laws, in our contracts, and in our increasing bureaucratization, which has further titled things against the entrepreneur. Income inequality= barganning power.

It is actually even the case that the small business owner is almost always someone with over a million dollars, who doesn't have much barganning power himself.

It is interesting that in Kansas where so many are farmers and small business owners, folks vote for Santorum. Is this against interest? Or is this just a reflection of a certain view of how business should be done. Less contradiction between libertarian freedom of contract, and christianity/character based trust.

Is a feel that Romney has too much of a big capital view of capitalism? In Kansas Romney didn't even carry a clear majority of the "small business" owners.

I think these folks hate Obama because they see him as the admin law guy, but they see Romney as the Bain Capital guy. A future competing with Burger King (or working there?). A lot of small business hate these sorts of chains.

From the Burger King website: "We are currently recruiting highly qualified multi-unit franchisees who can acquire a minimum of five restaurants and subsequently grow their business by developing new restaurants. If you possess the entrepreneurial drive, a minimum net worth of $1.5 million and the experience to operate a BURGER KING® franchise, please complete the pre-qualification questionnaire to see if you qualify. Thanks for your interest in the BURGER KING®brand."

A minimum of five restaurants? 1.5 million net worth and loans to cover the rest? How much barganning power does even that buy you? Does the circle R stand for Romney?

Small business owners of the world unite!

Interesting perhaps that Thomas Frank got the culture war thesis in Kansas somewhat right, but he made a mistake I think on the economics by seperating it out, and being too neo-liberal. Christianity and the homogeneity of community is all part of trust, which itself goes a long ways towards being a lubicrant and a preventative for standardized contracts and other forms of bureaucratization.

On the other hand I think Thomas Frank got pity the billionaire more or less wrong. He got a large part of the rhetoric right,(The right wing copyright industrial complex is strong) but in terms of unwinding that in local communities, he was wrong.

No one pities the billionaire.

"On the other hand I think Thomas Frank got pity the billionaire more or less wrong. He got a large part of the rhetoric right,(The right wing copyright industrial complex is strong) but in terms of unwinding that in local communities, he was wrong.

No one pities the billionaire."

Actually, I've found numerous manifestations of billionaire pity, both online and in my own communities (friends, family, neighbors, work, etc.).

John, I've only started Frank's newest book (hope to finish it this weekend); could you elaborate (a concise paragraph or two?) on what you mean by "unwinding that [his rhetoric about the right-wing copyright-industrial complex?] in local communities"? What does that mean, exactly, and how do you think he got it wrong?

(Thanks)

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