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Cadbury Meltdown

Cadbury was a great British company, there are not many of them left. It is a truly iconic British brand that belongs here. It started operating in 1824 and thrived in the dynamism of the Victorian age right through the ups and downs of the 20th Century until a month ago when Kraft bought them out. 186 years of profitability and giving to local communities, all gone in an instance.

Cadbury, in late 19C early 20C, was a model employer that cared about its employees, even building the Bournville village for its work force so that they could have somewhere, with a house and garden, to live away from the unsanitary conditions of Birmingham. This is the kind of philanthropic, paternal employers we need now, ones that will invest their profits in their workers and not in their own bank account.

Cadbury became a modern company trading in the world markets, remaining extremely profitable and still contributing hugely to the local communities. It is estimated that about 30,000 British jobs rely on this business which are now all under threat. Kraft has already reneged on its promise to keep the factory at Keynsham open and its misanthropic directors are as slippery and untrustworthy as the Cadburys' were philanthropic and honest. It doesnít look good for the rest of the Cadbury business in the long run.

Of course businesses move on and failing businesses need to be taken over by better companies to help them back to profitability but that was not the case here. Cadbury was profitable in the UK and employing many people, Kraft is profitable in the US employing many people. There has to come a point where people and communities take precedence over a few greedy people at Kraft wanting to get a bit richer.

This worship of mammon, this modern day obsession of squeezing the life out of companies to make a few people a bit richer has destroyed and continues to destroy whole towns and their communities. The cost to peopleís lives and the communities is immeasurable. This is not progress it is a backward step. Cadbury was about putting money into the local community Kraft is about taking it out and putting it into the directorsí pockets.

The worst exponent of this modern day destruction of livelihoods is the private equity company. It is the vulture, the scavenger of the business world picking the bones clean of companies and selling off the carcass. They buy companies with the express purpose of selling them again with the sole intention of making as much profit as possible which means selling off assets and making people redundant. Bad news all round for workers and communities. This short-sighted focus on getting more and more profit, this greed, is still a dominant force in the market even though it has resulted in the recent world recession.

Governments have a responsibility to provide work for the population, not to allow a few people to get rich at the expense of everyone else. Societies will decay and disintegrate if we donít look after the welfare of all the people. Governments have to legislate to protect jobs and communities from the greed of the corporate world which has been allowed too much free reign. We need to re-build our communities with secure jobs for everyone. We need ethics of the Cadbury family back in our businesses. In the meantime we the people can do our bit to fight back against this destruction by boycotting Kraftís products. Hit them where it hurts in the pocket and maybe they will realise there is more to business than just profit.



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