Business Heaven

by Rob Horning

24 January 2007


Usually when the chamber of commerce for some region wants to promote its business friendliness, they put in a multi-spread insert with glossy photos of smiling natives and supplicant political leaders next to scenic vistas and colorful graphs and charts and that sort of thing. And usually some paragraphs of indigestible business speak are inserted to convey the impression that the region knows how the game is played and can speak the lingua franca.

But for this ad, from this week’s Economist, the country of Macedonia has taken a decidedly more straightforward approach. This looks the kind of ad you’d ordinarily see selling used cars or office space, not a nation. Not just a business haven; it’s business heaven! My favorite part is the pencil checking off the outline of the nation on the map, as if a CEO is sitting there studying the European map like a fiendishly diabolical Diplomacy player, deciding finally, “Macedonia? Abundant cheap labor and Wi-Fi? Check!” There’s almost something appealing about this ad’s bluntness, the useful checklist for would-be outsourcers.  There’s no shame, no lip service at all for the victims of globalization. Since the ad was slipped in the middle of a long special section about how justified exorbitant CEO pay really is, perhaps all parties involved assumed no one who didn’t share these values—no one who wouldn’t be appalled at the way just how little the average worker makes is proudly trumpeted as as a benefit—would notice it.

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