“A primer in international political economy.”
My cousin Meredith asked me the other day if McDonald’s had yet conquered Botswana. Botswana does have KFC and a Portuguese chain called Nando’s (America, you’re missing out on some serious peri-peri), but no McDonald’s.
In its burgers, McDonald’s regularly uses calf meat. That, however, is outlawed in Botswana, whose second largest export behind its increasingly precarious diamond supply is beef.
A McDonald’s in Botswana would therefore have to import beef from South Africa. Not impossible: Gaborone is some fifteen miles from the South African border. Still, not going to happen. The main destination for Botswana beef is Europe, which is a stickler for food safety. Were something like mad cow to occur in cows in South Africa, Europe could put a halt on Botswana beef. Botswana would then ban South African beef, and just like that you’d have a vegetarian McDonald’s.*
Batswana do not do vegetarian. Period. In fact, I think I might have gotten scurvy at some point in the last two months. No beef means no McDonald’s, and that’s not a risk the Big American Arches are willing to take. No sir.
Which brings me to another question: with all this beef floating around, why in the world aren’t there more hamburgers? They have beef out the wazoo, and I know I’ve seen hot dogs everywhere. Two plus two, Botswana.