Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Fifteenth Anniversary of Opening of First McDonald's in St. Petersburg, Russia

An article from Russia in today’s St. Petersburg Times reminds us that Russia’s second largest city, St. Petersburg, formerly known as Leningrad during the Soviet Era, got its first McDonald’s restaurant fifteen years ago this month.

While common in the United States and much of the rest of the world, the opening of a McDonald’s was a big thing in Russia.

In the eyes of their former Soviet masters, McDonald’s was a sign American decadence and excessive consumerism.

However, following the fall of communism in Russia, the newly freed people flocked to places like McDonald’s to spend their rubles.

The first McDonald’s in Russia opened 20 years ago in Russia and served 35,000 customers THE DAY THEY FIRST OPENED THEIR DOORS! Talk about pent up demand, this type of opening is a capitalist’s dream.

2002 Photo of McDonald's Restaurant in St. Petersburg, Russia
Photo Copyright 2002 by Charles Nugent

When I visited Russia in 2002, six years after the first McDonald’s opened in St. Petersburg, not only did I treat my then fiancee to dinner at one of the local McDonald’s but saw numerous entrepreneurs on the streets selling red tee shirts with McDonald’s famous golden arches superimposed over a bust of Vladimir Lenin and under the words McLenin’s.

McLenin's tee shirt
Flicker Photo by Sjors Provoost
Creative Commons Use Rights

Vladimir Lenin once boasted that the supposed greed of capitalists was such that he would be able to sell capitalists the rope to hang them with.

Instead, following the inevitable fall of communism budding capitalists in Russia mad money selling tee shirts mocking Lenin and applauding the new freedom to eat at the local franchise of the American McDonald's chain.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Labor Day 2011

Today is Labor Day in the United States. While for the many who remain unemployed in this, the longest recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s, it is another year without work, there is hope that next year's election will provide new leadership that will return the nation around by replacing the present Administration's statist policies with economic policies that promote economic growth and job creation.

Despite the hardships being suffered by unemployed workers, this is the day that not only has come to mark the end of the traditional summer vacation season, but is also a day to honor the American worker. This is what those who in the late nineteenth century lobbied for in both the United States and Canada.

Economic growth has resulted in work weeks being reduced to below what these early crusaders envisioned and wages for average workers rising beyond anything the nineteenth century advocates could have imagined.

While this increase in leisure time and disposable income has tended to eclipse the original focus of the day away from the nation's workers and their contribution to our economy and, instead, allow workers and their families to use the increased leisure time and disposable income to relax and enjoy themselves on this day.

So, to everyone who works for a living I say RELAX AND ENJOY THIS DAY. You have earned it!!

Here are links to my other Labor Day articles:

Labor Day and the North American Labor Movement

What is Labor Day?

Labor Day in America

Labor Day Food Ideas

Labor Day 2010 Bad News for American Workers