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When India Kicked Out Coca-Cola, Local Sodas Thrived (atlasobscura.com)
237 points by samdung 32 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 210 comments



Ha, I have seen this story before. Zimbabwe my country of birth has screwed the economy so bad that no sane person/company is going to invest there. The result is most of the big players have pulled out and all manner of cottage industries have sprung up. I have watched a woman manually pack popcorn packets in her kitchen, all manner of workshops exist to repair electronics and car parts (I live in South Africa (SA) where the old part is mostly just thrown away). In Zim, people make bricks the old fashioned way with not a single piece of automation. Just shovels, wheelbarrows, brick moulds and mud. Without the big players small players can play a role. Zim has taken it too far though, making business conditions nearly impossible without bribes...


India is the same way, no sane person should invest there. They sweetened the pot for the tech sector and then pulled out the rug from under them recently. Wasn't unexpected for anyone who understands Indian politics, but the foreign investors really got screwed.

As for locals, greasing palms is the only way to get a business going. Or anything done, really.


IMHO Very very long term India will do well.

In the short to medium term however investing in India is extremely risky. The primary reason is lack of trust and dishonesty at a fundamental level.

Law enforcement and judiciary are a joke. I heard it’s not uncommon for court cases to take 20-30 years. The institutions that promote a trustworthy transactions are nearly absent or ineffective.


Most of the affected people would love 20 years. The saying goes that son will get to hear the verdict in case his father filed.


Mexican here... I could swear you were describing Mexico in your comment.


Yes it takes 20 yeas But mainly in cases that involve various complications and which have been in lower courts for two long.

For busuinesses there are many tribunals which genrally resolve matters on fast track basis , and if some case has legal complications there are fast track courts instituted for the same


In terms of greasing palms, the USA is no different, except that it's legal there. For example, in India it's illegal for a company to pay a political party for favours; so they pay bribes. In USA this is just called lobbying and it's perfectly legal.


In India, a politicial party can legally and anonymously give money to a political party.


I'm not doubting what you said, but I'm genuinely curious/ignorant. What did Indian gov't do to pull the rug out from foreign tech investors?


India has realized that handing over its enormous market to foreign companies not only stifles local business but is a national security issue. Facebook, Google, Visa, Mastercard all have detailed info on Indian nationals, control communication (WhatsApp, WeChat) and can manipulate the retail market (Amazon, Walmart). So they are imposing restrictions similar to the EU. Data has to remain on local servers. They have created an alternative financial card payment network (National Payments Corporation of India) to challenge Visa and Mastercard. The government wants the ability to throttle communication when necessary (see Pulwama terrorist attack )


That sounds more like an evolutionary step than a serious market debasement. Arguably, the actions of the multinational corporations are debasing.

Maybe a country controlling the internetworked currency exchanges of their currency should be a 21st century equivalent to minting currency.


Also that last line, "The government wants the ability to throttle communication when necessary (see Pulwama terrorist attack )" is exactly the kind of slippery slope that no democracy should head down.


I, by no means, support the Govt's intention to control communication and snoop but India is a country unlike any other - it has its own very unique set of problems sometimes engendered by its own diversity. It feels sad to say this but at times, at places here shutting down the entire communication system in a particular state of region is the only way of preventing mass unrests and riots which almost always result in too many civilian deaths and unspeakable loss of property. I wish there was a better way but there isn't yet. Lack of proper education plays a large role, yes.


Finally a sane voice instead of your usual "they took mah freedom of speech".

I remember when the Nepal's royal family was massacred. We had all our telephone connections cut for 5 days with full blown curfews. They were necessary to stop riots, rumor mongering, and knee jerk reaction of people to the horrible news.


Agreed, that’s ridiculous. Though I can see a carve out being made for first responders. But I don’t think the one requires the other.


India and the rest of the world will face and make even worse decisions in the future.

I really don't see an argument that suggests that China style Censorship is not coming for everyone.

Here are my facts and inferences:

1) Data/content is without inherent Good/Evil value. A sentence "Jihad!" is only terror affiliated if it shows up in a specific context. It could be part of a sarcastic comment for all you know.

2) This context sensitivity creates means that you can rarely identify what is actually dangerous speech given raw data. You need contextual information (person speaking it, lists of people associated with terror networks etc.)

3) Virality - People in India for example, are busy sharing videos of child abductions which are leading to lynchings of innocents in villages. Except those videos are concoted out of Mexican gang videos, health and safety videos, and frames from other countries.

There is no way to stop this, without breaking past the "intent" barrier inherent to all information.

4) Better understanding of human neural weak spots. We are constantly learning to hack human brains - gamification, loot boxes, attention sucking websites, "Addictive UI/UX". We are simply driven by business need to evolve firms and practices that are best able to survive in the substrate that businesses operate in - which is Humanity. Sex sells was true years ago, today we can do Sex sells in a personalized and automated manner to everyone with a cell phone.

Given these basic factors, virality, impossibility to identify intent, human neural hacking, we create a perfect storm.

Nations can never defend against incoming fake news, hoaxes, psych warfare, riot inducing whats app messages, gossip and more.

The only way to stop this is to go from black lists (let people be on a "free net" and then take down blacklisted content) to a white list (let people only stay on a safe internet, and ensure nothing else gets in.)

This is what China does, and while not fool proof (people still find ways to share their dissatisfaction) its not bad from a central government perspective.

Most Chinese wouldn't know about Tianmen square for example, and are largely happy with the Government. Issues which do crop up with Government satisfaction can be resolved by finding a person responsible and then executing that person.

As long as you keep the system running (economic and job growth) most people will be happy.

Even in a worse case scenario, dissent will be hard to coalesce into outright rebellion.

I don't see how nations wont be driven to copying this model given the success of Brexit, Trump market spam, Virality of Hate speech and forums etc.

Further, techies on places like HN regularly keep moving the needle forward to make such technology easier to implement. I spoke to someone on a flight a while ago who is busy helping create language translation data bases which get used for predictive text recognition.

This reduces the "armor" or "camouflage" that non english languages had when dealing with authorities - eventually with a good dictionary, you can start making more sophisticated tools to identify language patterns and put them to a halt.

I see the above used every day when moderators put it to good use on forums like HN and Reddit. But thats a few evolutions away to being applied to larger scales (unless there is some genuine technical issue which prevents this - which will be seem as a "business opportunity" for someone to crack)

I have spent time moderating forums, I listen and read up on internet arcana and history, have met and speak with people who work on censorship in India, have friends in policy, and so on. I can only call this a hobby, but everything I have seen in multiple realms, I see nothing substantial, so far, which contradicts this thesis.

I see China as the likely END result of all nations, because of our good intentions.


You forgot to mention the impending election coming up and how small businessmen are the crux of the voter base for the ruling party. The FDI marketplace regulations are very much to appease them. The national security issue is such BS. They could have done this anytime if they felt it was so bad.


Probably sold India as an open modern marketplace where tech companies can thrive, without the typical gov intervention at every step. Then after a ton of foreign businesses got heavily committed/invested there the local political leeches swarmed in and made getting anything done hell.


I would say things had changed in the past couple of decades with more public participation in democracy ,It is still not a absolute "land of law" but it is much better now and will outshine china due to democracy


But Indian democracy is deeply flawed in implementation; the central government hogs most of the power while there is little left for state governments to make a difference, there is too little competition between the states. Moreover through the appointed Governors in states, the Centre influences things in the states as well, which isn't something democratic. In short, the federal structure is broken.

The upper house in parliament does not have equal representation for all states, unlike the US Senate. Moreover the central government can dismiss the state government on the flimsiest of grounds.

The buerocracy is deeply entrenched in policy making and execution, where it should be largely in the hands of the peoples representatives.

The courts are temperamental and inconsistent in interpreting the constitution.

The constitution itself is a shaky document, which does not guarantee protections to the citizens with sufficient absoluteness. Many provisions were defined ambiguously.


>the central government hogs most of the power while

This is not true, as most of the day to day life of normal Indians is affected by their local municipal corporation, then district, state and finally Central.

The central government takes up far too much of the mind space of most educated Indians for some reasons, but the poor and middle class who depend far more on local connections consolidate actual power in the local MLA.

> The upper house in parliament Is effectively a formality check for certain legislation. IF the same bill is sent back to the Upper house of the Centre they have to pass it.

> The courts are temperamental and inconsistent in interpreting the constitution.

This is only the supreme court, and that is their role - the larger malaise is the underfunding and unavailability of people to actually be good judges in the lower courts.

This is what is one of the corner stones of the problems the country faces: Actual timely justice.

This follows up with lack of independence and funding of police - however this will never become a core poll issue because the nation can constantly be distracted by a laundry list of issues which politicians can bring up.

IN general, people worry more about Center when they should be focusing on local elections.

The Government may pass strong Right to Information laws, but implementation is up to the States - and there you can see exactly the power States have.

The over focus on Central elections by citizenry gives state governments the ability to do what they please with impunity.


Will it? Do you have any evidence for this, or is this the same wishful thinking that was repeated about China for the last twenty years?

Much to the disappointment of neo-liberals, we have discovered that there is no correlation between democracy, and economic development.

Compare China and India, Cuba and Haiti, South Korea before, and after Democratic reforms... The form of government is tangential.


I am really not qualified to comment on what is happening internally in India but as an African looking on I see quite a number of positives. Most of our drugs are now from India. Companies like Cipla are quite prominent. India manufactures their own cars( Tata and Mahindra both sold here). In Africa we have a few assembly plants, none of the cars or IP is really ours. India has launched a rocket into space and is planning on going to the moon. As I type this the Zimbabwean vice president is in India for medical treatment[0]. It has become common for medical aids here to send people to India for types of operations. I understand India has some way to go but hey at least you are making some strides. I am not so sure about Africa. The people making bricks and connecting solar panels for lighting are making some progress but nothing large scale such as going into space. Our governments are too inept for that.

[0]https://ewn.co.za/2019/02/12/zimbabwe-s-vice-president-recei...


I don't think the argument is that India is not doing well in the absolute sense, but whether it could have done far, far better with a non-democratic political system like China.

I do think its an important question and one that should be answered in good faith. If we do believe that democracy does not hinder but perhaps help economic development, we should know that. If it does hinder, we should ask: is the price paid worth it?


You ask a pertinent question that unfortunately will be shut down. The pro democracy movement has convinced us that even villagers in Africa should have a say in our monetary policy. No I am not saying villagers in Africa are stupid, they just have not been exposed to monetary policy. Same way I know nothing about diesel engines but I know about SQL. Democracy says we all have a say even in things we don't understand so we, particularly Africa end up with charismatic leaders who are willing to wing it. I gather from the little bits of history that I have read that most development in the West didn't happen under democratic rule. It is only relatively recently that the common man has had a say. Trouble with dictatorships is that you get good and bad. Rwanda and South Korea have thrived under "dictatorships". Whereas we have become a dysfunctional state. If only there was a way of selecting benevolent dictators and removing them. Alas there is no clear path.


I suspect that democracy is mostly an independent factor from effective economic development. You can have policies and power structures that facilitate or hinder development under all forms of government.

Though I do think there may be an inhibition of development for economics that accept austerity and classical international investments advice.


Isn't India as a country much more diverse than China? I mean I realise China is diverse too but in comparison. Putting a heavy yoke on a diverse country sounds like a recipe for rebellion.


India has 20+ languages with atleast one million speakers. China has one common uniting language Mandarin. I speak 3 Indian languages, yet when I moved to a new state for work, none of those languages help me while communicating with locals.


Yasheng Huang: Does democracy stifle economic growth? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UR-uWwvpn5c


> Most of our drugs are now from India.

Heh, well that's because India doesn't exactly have a lot of respect for US pharma IP. Which is fine, but don't go giving India the credit for stolen IP.


The drugs manufactured by Indian cos are licensed, not stolen. The US itself imports several billions worth of pharmas from India every year, and the USFDA inspects pharma plants in India for this reason.



The reason that drugs manufactured in India and sold in India and developing countries are so cheap is that India has compulsory licensing and very weak protection for analogues. The US puts up with it because it's a big market and it can't stand US-level prices anyway. But it's not Indian IP, and I don't think it's much of a stretch to call it "stolen," at least insofar as intellectual property can be stolen at all.


The evidence is exactly the opposite; "democracy and economic growth and development have had a strong correlative and interactive relationship throughout history." Refer here: http://ftp.iza.org/dp10880.pdf. This is especially true since World War II, and even more so after 1980, as the Soviet Union collapsed.

"Credit guarantee is one of the most significant positive links between economic growth and democracy. The marginal effects of credit guarantee and foreign direct investment inflows are stronger in democratic countries than they are in non-democratic ones."

China only experienced massive economic success after liberalizing its markets. For that matter, so did India (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_liberalisation_in_Ind...) South Korea is essentially an American vassal state. Cuba is clearly not an economic success story, but of course if you compare it to the poorest country in the hemisphere (Haiti,) it comes out slightly ahead.

Ultimately what matters is whether your government is open to free trade and liberalized markets, and has enough legitimacy to enforce the rule of law (and attract foreign investment)- and has a healthy relationship with the United States. All of these are strongly correlated with democratic governments.


Much of China's growth rate over the last 20 years was as a result of starting from a horribly low base after Mao and the cultural revolution reduced GNP per capita to something like $300. They are mostly just catching up with how Chinese were living outside of China in HK, Sing, the USA etc.


China has done very well for some... but it's far from a communist utopia and very far from what I would consider an admirable goal for any citizen in any country to actually want to strive for.


Agreed, and is interesting to see that the arguments against China are purely ideologic. There is no fact supporting the idea that India would have an advantage over China because of democracy. In fact, people really don't care. As long as the quality of life for people is improving, they don't have any problem with a communist government.


>As long as the quality of life for people is improving, they don't have any problem with a communist government.

But they do or at least they will. At some point the next quality of life improvement you want is to be able to openly express ideas and not have somebody decide your life for you without input from you.


That is the dreaded inflection point the CPC wants to avoid. Its interesting to think about what would have happened if the sophisticated system of censorship currently in place would not have been present: if the great firewall didn't exist, would we have already seen riots, revolutions and such?

And that's the horrible conclusion I get from that fact: technology has always been celebrated as tool of liberation, but the CPC has effectively yielded it as a tool of oppression. And if the CPC can do it, why not other countries?


It's just a tool, like any other tool. Any time someone publicizes a tool as for or against any one thing, it's at most more easily used in that respect for the current time or circumstances.

A bow and arrow can be an effective way to feed your family, or a tool or warfare that changed the outcome of many battles. Advances in textiles can be useful for keeping people warm in winter, or advanced armors with metal sewn inside.

It's not even as simple as a tool shifting from one thing to another either. Bows shifted from a hunting tool, to a tool of warfare, until eventually being relegated to sports equipment for the most part in the modern age. Medieval and Japanese swords used to be the heights of military technology, now they're collector curios.

I'm not sure of any technology that can be used purely for "good" or "bad", or even for one thing at all. The world doesn't often follow absolutes, so we shouldn't fall into the trap of believing absolutes when presented to us. At least not without a lot of justification and the requisite caveats.


Do you have evidence for a lack of correlation between democracy and economic development?


I'm sorry but I think we cannot call a country with no paper money democratic


If you're referring to the new retail rules, the govt left enough loopholes so it didn't really affect Amazon and Flipkart for too long - https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/services/retai...


Thats not true anymore . Most of the services are online and with single window clearances . India has time and again taken steps to keep capitalist greed in control.


That's the problem with autarky. It sounds really awesome: we make everything we use! The problem is that what it really means is that we're not free to choose the best available, but rather must use the best we make.


The problem is that at some point the country becomes developed enough that serious (foreign) investment is necessary to keep growing at a decent pace. Investors will remember any tricks like that and will be much less likely to invest for a long time to come.


Only applies to foreign investors that are trying to gain a permanent monopoly.

You cannot expect to invest 1 dollar to call dibs to control a growing nation.


Everything you said here is self-evidenced in Nigeria.


One of my pet peeves about the developing world (and for marginalized people in the developed world) is how long it takes to do things

ATMs out of cash, gas stations out of gas, cottage industries providing disjointed subpar services to what already exists internationally

This is an ineffecient use of a nation’s potential productivity


> cottage industries providing disjointed subpar services to what already exists internationally

Dont know about other developing countries but in India its because lot of us have a different attitude, in Hindi its called "Chalta Hai" ( Let it go ).

Build something, cut some corners and call it a day.


In my country of birth, Peru, there is a saying that directly translates to the phrase "being able to" ('ser hábil'). It is a very negative and tongue in cheek way of saying that one can accomplish something no matter what, even if that means doing minor crimes or corruption. Obviously this is a credo for criminals in Peru and is used to make light of any "none serious" crime.

It's a toxic attitude to have and a direct detriment to the economy of the country.


In China, the corner-cutting attitude is called "cha bu duo" (Close enough).

Unfortunately this is a problem for Chinese real estate, vaccines, food, etc.


Wouldnt chalta hai be more like "well it works"?


This is excellent, Capitalism will save your country but it has to be allowed to grow as a child would, but always knocked back in line by the parents. Regarding the bribes, as someone who has studied the early American capitalism roots, you won't like it, but some local good ole boys need to remove some of those corrupt politicians from office, by force if necessary.


The end is interesting that after the protections were lifted, Thumbs Up and Limca were quickly bought out by Coca-cola for a paltry sum of money ($40m). Seems like all those protections were for nothing in this case.


Important context is that 40m is an incredibly huge sum of money in the context of immediately post-liberalization India. Our intuitions aren't set very well for the kind of explosive economic growth that Asian countries saw post-liberalization, and it's easy to extrapolate backwards too cautiously to the price level of the early 90s.


An addendum that in South India, there's a brand called Bovonto (from Kalimark a very old desi brand) and it has really thrived despite the presence of Coke there. The reason I guess is that it's simply making available to appeal and making it appealing like these corporate brands. Availability in many different sizes and almost everywhere from a small petty (box) shop to a decent sized Bakery

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bovonto


Bovonto and "paNeer soda" are two of my favorite drinks one finds in Tamil Nadu and hardly anywhere else! (both are Kali mark products)

On a college trip to Rameswaram (southern Tamil Nadu) to watch the 2009 total solar eclipse, I got a whole bunch of friends (~20 people) to try out Bovonto, and boy, were they hooked! It's a pity that we couldn't find any once we left the region.


I didn't know that Bovonto existed even then. I knew about their Paneer Soda (which they've rebranded now). Anyways, Bovonto would make a great case-study for Entrepreneurs and MBAs how to grow an in-house brand and compete with Global brands.


> paNeer soda

Cheese soda? U+1F928


Funny thing is that Thumbs Up remains, iirc, the second largest selling cola on the market, substantially more than Pepsi.


Isn't that a validation of the value created by locals though?

And if they could create successful cola brands, what stops them from creating other things?


Thumps up is dangerously close to coke with respect to taste ( and if they have not changed formula, even before that bought them out ) and better than Pepsi which is plain shit.


Reminds me of how when due to the Allied embargo Coca-Cola couldn't be made in Nazi-era Germany, so Coca-Cola GmbH developed Fanta: https://www.thelocal.de/20170523/fanta-how-the-nazi-era-drin...


Normal economic theory says protectionism makes the pie smaller for everyone - since the best companies, with the most productivity, don't get to compete on a level playing field.

But when the product is soda (bad for you), it's probably better to have less efficient/productive suppliers - you want worse and more expensive companies to be providing it.


"Normal economic theory says protectionism makes the pie smaller for everyone"

Some odd wording. The theories would say that the TOTAL pie would be smaller. It makes no distributive claim.


This is a bit of a subtle point. In theory, free trade between countries A and B makes the pie larger (or, at least, no smaller depending on your precise model) for A and B compared to no trade. What is at issue is how the surplus pie is distributed. For instance, if you start off with each country having 10 slices, and trade creates an addition 5 slices, basic economic theory would allow for country A to end up with anywhere between 10 and 15 slices.

What protectionism does, from a theoretical standpoint, is provide some control over the distribution of the surplass.

Having said all of that, it should be remembered that we do not live in a spherical void. In practice, it is entirely possible for "free" trade to leave a country worse off then they would have been with no trade.


I tried to work through a proof of “free trade makes the pie no smaller,” and it seems like it only works if you’re considering one good.

I reasoned thusly:

1. Country A can produce good X at price p_a < price p_b the price at which domestic X is available in B.

2. No deadweight trade loss, so X is available at p_a in B

3. Thus for the same quantity n of X, B has a surplus of n(p_b - p_a).

4. But domestic producers of X have lost income, and if there isn’t something else for them to do, the total shrinkage in B’s economy may exceed the surplus (I haven’t worked out this term but it should be pretty easy), thus leaving B worse off.

Factor in deadweight losses and free trade definitely could leave B worse off, by forcing some of its economy to be unproductive.


> we do not live in a spherical void

This got me thinking how odd it is that economic theory only gets invoked in so far as it advocates free trade: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparative_advantage#Criticis...


You can't really aggregate trade at the country level. Well, people do that all the time, but you can't expect it to follow the same rules as the real market.

People participating on the international trade are better off. There are plenty of cases of market failures (monopolies, etc), inertial problems (deflation, etc), or human capital destruction (due to worsened wealth distribution) predicted by theory already. Any of those can overwhelm the usual net positive contributions of trade.


>What protectionism does, from a theoretical standpoint, is provide some control over the distribution of the surplass.

Protectionism provides a mechanism to increase comparative advantage.

American economists drank a little too much of their own ricardian kool aid in the 90s and early 00s when they paternalistically tutted at China for enacting protectionist policies against her own good.

Now that China has stolen comparative advantage in electronics manufacturing, the CFO of Huawei is under house arrest and the tutting has all but dried up.


I think normal economic theory is that information isn't perfectly and instantly communicated through the market (see, for instance, post-earnings-announcement drift). A consequence of that is that new competitors operate at a disadvantage: even if a competitor is better, consumers don't know that yet. So I'd think protectionism to preserve an established producer at the cost of competitors makes the pie smaller for everyone (because it just reinforces a market imperfection that already exists), but protectionism to promote smaller competitors at the cost of an established producer can go either way, depending on whether the competitors are better.


> economic theory says protectionism makes the pie smaller for everyone

This theory is really lacking when it comes to modeling the effects of real world protectionism.

Imagine a country A, with all the natural resources, a country B, with a well developed pharma industry, and a country C, hosting an industrial sector.

Without protectionism, the pie might be large, but most of it is allocated to country B and C. Country A ends up with depleted natural resources, no factories, and a trade deficit which denies them access to drugs and industrial goods.

With protectionism, country A can manage their trade deficit, which allows them to bootstrap the industry it direly needs as soon as all their natural resources have been mined and exported.


You don't even have to use a hypothetical scenario. You just described the Indian state of Jharkhand in "A". Extremely rich in natural resources, as underdeveloped and exploited as it is humanely and inhumanely possible overall (yes, there are small pockets like Tata Nagar but that's about it).


If that were true, when we impose sanctions and embargoes on countries, their economies would surge.


It's readily visible that Country A wouldn't go anywhere without trade, so I don't know why you would think that sanctions and embargoes (which are actively hostile to a country's economy) are a drop-in replacement for protectionism in the model. There are a trillion ways to tie your shoes wrong, and only a handful ways to do it right. It does not help when the one who does the tying is the one who wants you to fall.


They can always trade their labor and offer a business-friendly legal environment. They can also borrow money to start businesses.


Think of developing products as searching a space. Normal economic theory says, your algorithm should just be to uniquely take your current best candidate, throw out all the others, and then greedily hill-climb that candidate.

This is not, it turns out, a particularly effective algorithm, which is why things like genetic algorithms, simulated annealing, etc., have mechanisms to protect and allow "non-best" candidates to survive.

Similarly protectionism can generate better outcomes over the long term.


What kind of “developing” product includes this case? You have got beverage made from sugar and water with well established brand. You being kicked out market, there will be free space. OK, there is always needed take in account national specifics. But nowhere in post-soviet union teritory local copies of coke won market


An interesting angle is in the export of donated clothing to the third world.

It's not that the locals really want the shirts with the logos of our Super Bowl losers and the outfits even Goodwill couldn't unload domestically, but it's what they've been forced to settle for.

It gets dumped on their market so cheaply no local manufacturer can compete, even if they can offer choices better for local styles or needs. Clothing manufacture is fairly low tech and not really location sensitive, so it's something that most countries can do to start moving up the economic ladder beyond raw extraction.

Give them a protected window of a few years without cheap imports, and you can ramp up supply and distribution networks (so you can compete more effectively on price) and also potentially improve local standards of living enough that the workers can afford to buy the goods they're producing.


> Normal economic theory says protectionism makes the pie smaller for everyone

And when those theories are discussed by serious minded people they are frequently forced to qualify the discussion with "except for those left behind," mostly because of the unavoidably obvious destruction all around them.

"Those left behind" being a euphemism for the working class of otherwise extremely wealthy countries.

When you've heard enough of this for enough decades it eventually dawns on you that it's just about cheap, exploitable labor. The rest is the professional class b.s. spin used to rationalize it.


This assumes already established local companies. For example, Coca Cola has had decades and decades of head start on its supply chain and economy of scale. On that alone it may be enough to outcompete a superior product that is in its earlier stages.


I believe the bigger issue with a playing field not being even is that people who "don't deserve" the reward end up accumulating the profits they wouldn't have otherwise, and then not providing the resources to the actual innovators; this isn't to say that the system isn't broken on the other side of the coin, where innovators are simply amassing resources and perhaps not efficiently reintroducing them into the market for everyone's gain in quality of life, etc.


To me the more important attribute of soda is that the main way to differentiate it is marketing. Were the Indian sodas really worse?


Probably less experienced at bottling, a worse global sourcing network, less marketing expertise, etc. They've almost certainly caught up by now.


Which is sort of my point, it's not like cars where there's an endless amount of improvements you can make and protectionism leaves you with an inferior product forever.


After the revolutionary war, the US used protectionist policies to get domestic industry going. It worked. George Washington, probably the most wealthy person in the new US, famously put aside purchasing things overseas and bought American made.

Very few policies and political theories are correct for all times and all cases.


What's "normal economic theory"?

What history shows us is that protectionism is a necessity for less developed countries to develop and catch up to more developed countries.

The US, Germany, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China, etc all used protectionism to help local industries and companies develop.

The US became the largest economy in the world due to protectionism. Germany, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China, etc all copied our template to become successful economic powers.


>What's "normal economic theory"?

What the established economists are paid to peddle in countries that have already taken advantage of centuries of protectionism to build their economies and industries and now want everybody else (regardless of the stage they are in) to open to their wares.


>Normal economic theory says protectionism makes the pie smaller for everyone

Then again normal economic theory is peddled by people whose careers are tied to the establishment. They can't afford to speak in favor of protectionism if they still want their careers and grants and policy advisor positions.


"Normal economic theory says protectionism makes the pie smaller for everyone"

If A protects, and B and C are open, A can get way further ahead by strategic investments, dumping, etc..

'Free Trade' only work if A, B and C work.

If A doesn't open their markets, then B and C should close theirs to A as well.


To my downvoters:

This 'strategy game' type dilemma is why 'Free Trade' negotiations actually exist in the first place.

If 'open markets' benefitted both parties irrespective of what the other party was doing, then most nations would simply 'open the kimono' as wide as possible to everyone, essentially reaping the benefit, waiting for the 'full benefit' to be yielded when the other parties eventually open up. Negotiations wouldn't really be needed.

But it doesn't work that way.

During the establishment of free trade, there's considerable negotiation around tit-for-tats on protected industries like telecoms, agriculture etc.. Also, there's a lot of rules in such agreements about how governments are allowed to subsidize specific industries.

If the Canadian gov. is giving massive loans to the lumber industry below market rates, enabling Canadian lumber makers to sell very cheaply and therefore wipe out their American counterparts, and then of course acquire them for pennies on the dollar ... well, this would be considered a 'subsidy' and you can see the problem aka 'strategic dumping'. (FYI this is almost a kind of problem right now - Canada leases 'Crown Land' (i.e. government land) on the cheap to forestry corps. and US believes that's a subsidy)

Hence 'Free Trade' only works if the parties play by an agreed upon set of rules.

Without such agreements, and assurances that counterparties are playing by a set of rules, then a degree of protectionism is warranted.

If one side cheats, they can win in a much bigger way.

All of that even when parties are ballpark in the same sized economies, at similar levels of development, i.e. France-Germany.

But with US-Venezuela for example, it's another ballgame as unprotected access to undeveloped markets can possibly lead to a total takeover of the economy, rendering one state a commercial vassal of the other.

In reality there are no perfect, textbook scenarios for fully bilateral and open trade agreements which is why there are always special cases and things to be negotiated.

Canada's banks and telecoms for example, are not up for sale in NAFTA/USMCA.


> The Foreign Exchange Regulation Act of 1973 required many multinationals to hand over 60% of the equity in their local subsidiaries to Indian partners. Coca-Cola would have had to release its top-secret syrup recipe and IBM its computer codes in order to comply. Faced with an ultimatum from Fernandes, Coca-Cola—along with Mobil, Kodak, and 54 other companies—left.

How interesting. Meanwhile, when China asks the same of foreign companies today, the foreign companies seem to offer half of the local subsidy and the entire IP on a silver platter.

Just one recent example, but there are others involving Microsoft with Skype, Windows 10, and so on:

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/12/10/qualcomm_layoffs/


China required 51-49 joint ventures; also this happened mostly in the 90s when the oppurtunities in China were more apparent.

India is still a harder place to do business than China. In particular, their law on patent ownership is really harsh such that foreign companies will avoid filing for patents at all from India (if something needs to be patented, the filing employee has to transfer out of India first).


> (if something needs to be patented, the filing employee has to transfer out of India first).

That does not match my experience at all. I only had to sign some paperwork to authorize a patent agent to file on the company's behalf outside India. I work with people with several patents granted both inside and outside India and have never heard of anything of this sort.


What is the basis of your comment that for filing patents companies have to move their employees?

Multitude of my coworkers in India who have filed and have been granted hundreds of patents would vehemently disagree with you!


I worked for a company (Microsoft) that did R&D in India as well as China. When we (coming from China) visited India, some of the employees there casually explained to me the problem with patents. The gist of it was that if Microsoft filed for a patent in India and that patent was used in say Windows, then India would demand that all Windows profits be booked in India, regardless of the rest of the IP used in it.


China is a much bigger market than India in 1973


Specifically in 1973 the US economy was 16.4 times larger than India and 10.3 times larger than China.

Today the US economy is about 7.6 times larger than India and 0.5 times larger than China.

India's economy was equivalent to ~$500 billion in 1973, inflation adjusted to today's dollar (per the US Govt figures). That would be good enough for 25th or so globally, behind Belgium. Not tiny per se, definitely small for what India's market is capable of. They're of course 7th now in national GDP, set to overtake France and the UK this year and move into the 5th spot behind Germany.


I highly recommend the writing of Ha-Joon Chang, a heterodox economist, on this subject. He discusses how all of the advanced economies that now advocate free trade used protectionism to develop their native industry and gives the modern example of South Korea, which developed rapidly over 50 years by protecting its native industry.


This makes me super curious about trying this Indian sodas.

"Thums Up was the most distinct, being fizzier, spicier, and less sweet than the others"


Available in most Indian groceries or restaurants in US if you wanna try.


I haven't seen it where I live, but I am now inspired to pay more attention to that portion of the menu. :D


I'm quite glad I have never encountered this, though I'm intrigued. I simply can't drink most pop as being too sweet. Diet or any encountered overseas with HFCS are even worse.

So my consumption peaked at the odd can of Irn Bru, or Red Bull a month, summers only, when nothing else is available. I can't finish a Coke or Pepsi can. The kids think I'm weird. :)


Same, actually. Which is interesting because I used to drink 2-3 cans a week when I was younger. I think it's because I stopped and now going back I realize how terrible it tastes.


I feel the same about breakfast cereal, I used to eat a couple bowls without blinking, now it just seems inedibly sweet to me...


Agreed. I used to guzzle soda as a kid and young adult but now it just feels disgusting.


'Thums Up' is the best soda ever for me - very distinct nutty taste. And a dry lingering after effect.


It's in the Coke museum in Atlanta.


Because it does not have the "high fructose corn syrup" but regular sugar.

All sodas in India (even Pepsi, Coke sold in India) use sugar instead of corn syrup so it doesn't leave sticky sweetness in your mouth.

Try "Pepsi Cola" in US that still contains sugar.


I would bet the US produces a lot more corn than India. The climate in India is much more friendly to sugarcane than the US. The US climate is not really right for sugarcane except some of the southern most parts of the south.

Cuban relations and bad foreign policy in the 1970s forced the switchover to corn syrup. Despite the wishes of Coke[1].

[1]http://www.searchamelia.com/cubas-uneasy-sugar-cane-revenge


I'd highly recommend it. I'd pick it over a Coke/Pepsi any day if given the choice. You can find it in pretty much any Indo-Pak grocery store in the US.


There's a "stronger" version of Thums Up called "Charged" which is fizzier and even less sweet than the regular one.


It is really good - try it out sometime.


I would agree with this. (Just came from Delhi yesterday) It's a milder taste than the acidic coke. I prefer it over pepsi or coke.


How was your trip ?


It was interesting. It was challenging and it was fun at the same time.


When Austin kicked out Uber and Lyft, local ride-(hail|shar)ing apps thrived.

https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-41450980


One quibble, Austin didn't kick Uber and Lyft out, they refused to pay for fingerprinting ride-hailing drivers and suspended operations on their own accord.


True, I was just trying to maintain the parallelism with this title :-P


Every time I was in Austin I found the quality of drivers to be atrcious. Seriously the worst drivers in any of the dozen+ cities I’ve used ride sharing


I mean, if you ban the largest manufacturer of any highly addictive substance, the next companies in line will obviously thrive, right? If you banned the sale of soda, local sodas will still thrive.


There are Indian products that can be superior in taste to their Western equivalents. In my opinion, Thums Up and Limca are not those products. I'm going to pick a Pepsi or Coke if taste is the most important factor and I want a soda.


I found Thums Up to be foul. Maaza (the mango juice) was my jam though!


This is exactly what China has done with its tech industry - ban the foreign competition and allow the local companies to flourish. Not a bad strategy if you have a sufficiently large market.


The policy is called Protectionism (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protectionism) and is a subsidy paid by local consumers to local producers. It biases local producers towards less naturally-profitable production and is a market shock whenever instituted or removed.


A subsidy that buys you increased local tax income, jobs, economic development, maintenance and development of knowledge, and makes you less vulnerable to foreign economic pressure.


By this reasoning, an economy which banned all imports would thrive more than one where trade wasn't micromanaged. Do you believe isolationism is a wealth-maximizing strategy?

>makes you less vulnerable to foreign economic pressure

Should someone in the city block next to mine be allowed to sell in mine? How about the next town, state, country, continent? Where ever you draw the line is who you've --implicitly-- declared economic war with.


Reduced trade and economic interference does not equal war. And just because the strategy doesn't make sense when taken to the very extreme, doesn't mean it's not good in small amounts - the dose makes the poison.

But why argue theory when we have empirical evidence. From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparative_advantage#Criticis... : "none of the world's most successful trading regions, including Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and now mainland China, reached their current status by adopting neoliberal trading rules."


>economic interference does not equal war

Please tell me how you are able to interfere in trade without violence. Interference necessitates violence. If country A has a ban on products from country B, country B sends a ship with products to country A. To enforce the ban, men with guns from country A are going to detain the ship.

You are arguing for a paradigm where the crew on the ship should be imprison or arrested (or worse) when they have aggressed against no person nor their property.


By that logic, the very existence of borders means war. Or are you making the point that ultimately, all authority derives from violence? Including the authority to enforce contracts and private property?

And I have no clue where you got the idea the crew would be worse than arrested. This has happened before, you know - they're simply not allowed to unload the ship or enter the country. By the dreaded men with guns.


>are you making the point that ultimately, all authority derives from violence?

Authority is different from aggression. If Alice and Bob, ex ante, agree to have Mandy the mediator settle a contract they have willingly given her authority. Mandy's authority does not depend on a violation of two-party consent.

>they're simply not allowed to unload the ship or enter the country

The implicit action is that they'll be shot or imprisoned if the refuse to follow the orders.

If I own the dock and then the political establishment changes who I can associate with "Anyone except those foreign devils from Country B!" they have effectively stolen from me (called a Taking). I used to have a product that could do X and Y and now only X. Saying that I'm free to immigrate to a different country is theft apology.


You knew the terms of business in Country A when you bought the dock there. If you don't like them, you're free as in Free Market to do business in a country you prefer better.


>Please tell me how you are able to interfere in trade without violence.

It's impossible to conduct trade on a meaningful scale without debt, and debt is always backstopped by violence.


Bankruptcy laws and public credit histories allow debt without violence.


> Please tell me how you are able to interfere in trade without violence.

Innovation and open competition can interfere with trade without violence.


In relative biological term, can "Coke" be called "an invasive species" just like Asian Carp Fish in Mississippi River?

"Asian carp cause serious damage to the native fish populations in the lakes and rivers that they infest because they out-compete other fish for food and space. " https://www.nps.gov/miss/learn/nature/ascarpover.htm


A country can engage in import substitution practices without large scale protectionism. Economies benefit from foreign direct investment, but suffer from excessive reliance on imports.


Sometimes, protection is about timing most of all.

If you're "good enough" today, you might be able to develop significant marketshare and be able to prevent a better, but later competitor from developing momentum.

I wouldn't be surprised if many of the successes of American internet companies abroad are that way. They have the scale to drop a basically complete product on a new market overnight. It may not be perfectly designed for local tastes and needs, but it's good enough and nobody local who comes later is going to have the economic muscle to compete with Google/Amazon/whatever. Over time, they might gradually get the right product, but there's no priority if you're already an unchallenged #1.

With protectionism, local competitors can make a case for investment and long-term thinking. If you know that the foreign competitors are going to be hamstrung, you have the breathing room to spend the extra effort to build the right product.

I suspect both Yandex and Baidu benefitted from this type of protectionism and evolved into successful businesses of their own, who can now compete on their better product-market fit. In a cutthroat market, would they have lasted 12 rounds with a localized Google?


Short-term protectionism may be beneficial. And it is even more true in the world where you have to take into account geopolitics.


South Korea did something similar to heavily support their car manufacturer & electronics manufacturer companies. Hyundai, Samsung.. Population of 40 million and up.


Meanwhile look at Brazil, sure it isn't the same policy exactly but it is certainly a case of protectionism gone wrong.


To varying degrees of success. Wechat for example, is a killer app that provides immense value to users (privacy concerns aside) and probably would not have been developed without the firewall.

On the other hand, online search services in China are still relatively garbage, which is why China had to block Bing recently.


I mean, you missed a large part of their tactics: significant government sponsored corporate-espionage.

Easy to "thrive" when the hard work is all done by 3rd parties who receive no benefit.


India suffered economic malaise from 1975 to 1995 as a result of this and other protectionist schemes. As the economy stagnated the population continued to grow. As a result, there was a severe rivalry over resources in society. The real salaries of bureaucrats and private sector workers fell in real terms over those decades. And as a result of this corruption skyrocketed and India's public institutions were ruined.

You should never go full socialist/protectionist in this way. India is a good example, even if you don't want to learn from Communist China pre-1980s or Russia in the Soviet era.


Iirc, Indian government was on the verge of going broke in 1991, and had to initiate economic reforms which were contingent for loans from large international lenders. It even had to pawn and airlift tonnes of gold bullion to IMF to get loans.


>> The real salaries of bureaucrats and private sector workers fell in real terms over those decades. And as a result of this corruption skyrocketed and India's public institutions were ruined.

Lower salaries were only an excuse. In reality it's hard to resist money, when you get several multiples of your yearly pay in a week. These days that multiple is more than 1000, and increases by 1000x in various bribe jobs.

Heck your ordinary junior engineers and other mid level cops in bribe facing government jobs are double digit crorepatis these days. And I'm only talking of the low end corruption. The high end goes really high.

The reason corruption exists is because people want to be corrupt and there are people who pay.


Socialism has little relation to protectionism; eg the current president of the USA is all for the latter and not at all for the former.


Marx was actually in favor of free trade:

But, in general, the protective system of our day is conservative, while the free trade system is destructive. It breaks up old nationalities and pushes the antagonism of the proletariat and the bourgeoisie to the extreme point. In a word, the free trade system hastens the social revolution. It is in this revolutionary sense alone, gentlemen, that I vote in favor of free trade. - Karl Marx, On the Question of Free Trade (1848)


So in Marx’s view, free trade is actually a bad thing. He is for it just like someone might vote for termites if their objective is to destroy a building so they could have power over how it’s rebuilt and who gets to live in it. Good for him, bad for the building and the people currently living in it.


I don’t think that disproves my point. You can be socialist and free trade or socialist and protectionist, without needing too much cognitive dissonance. Socialism greatly precedes Marx of course, whose contribution to it we typically call communism.


Not quite true.

Soviet Union tried to be self-sufficient, only importing what it needed. [1]

China, Venezuela, North Korea are quite protectionist.

The most notable socialist/communist countries are protectionist.

It's the same as saying none of those countries are socialism/communism because they caused millions of dead.

We noticed the pattern, when some socialist gets into power, they will use that huge power, being protectionist and often end up killing millions.

1. https://www.jstor.org/stable/2144779?seq=1#page_scan_tab_con...


I still don’t see how that disproves my point; protectionism wasn’t limited to socialist countries, and socialist countries didn’t magically become capitalist when they eschewed protectionism. And anyways, the Soviets were big on trade, especially with other communist and socialist countries, they hardly practiced protectionism inside the Eastern Block!


The Soviets didn’t view the Eastern Block as independent countries, just extensions of the Soviet empire. It’s like saying the US is for free trade if they only allowed trade between California and Puerto Rico. While the Eastern Bloc counties weren’t de jure territories of the Soviet Union, they were certainly de facto territories. Look at Prague Spring and then try to argue that the Soviets didn’t own that country.


> Yet when the Berlin Wall fell, East Germans ditched their Vita-Cola for Coca-Cola.

You can still get Vita-Cola and Club-Cola in Berlin, it wasn't ditched entirely. People drink it for nostalgia. Coca-Cola tastes far better though, as do probably a dozen other brands on the market.


There was also a MNC which did not leave the country and divested its share. That company was the Indian branch of Unilever called Hindustan Unilever Ltd. (HUL).

It actually debuted on Indian stock market in 1977 at the price of Rs. 17

Today HUL is the largest FMCG company in India.


in 2012, a somewhat similar event happened in Thailand with Pepsi.

Somehow the local manufacturer+distributor of Pepsi products didn't renew it's agreement with Pepsi, and as a result began distribution of it's own line of products "est".

Here's an article about it: http://bangkokhasyou.com/what-is-est-cola/


When you don’t have a giant corp who can lower price on what is basically a commodity, local people would win


This story is so misleading that it's sad. I grew-up in the socialist India. It was called "the Raj." India was a social democracy from its birth in 1947 to 1991. It was on a verge of collapse as someone mentioned below, and IMF gave it a loan of $300M on a condition that it adopts capitalistic policies. Since then India has grown at a much better rate...

Also, let me tell you about what state of Indian in 1994 when immigrated here as a kid:

- We had three models of the cars - Fiat and Ambassador. These two had not changed its model for 30+ years. The new Maruti Suzuki was the third model introduced thru join-venture. Maruti was the first model with power steering. None of the available cars were automatic...most cars in India today are still not automatic as lot of those innovation never made it to India during the socialist Raj. In USA back then, there were at least 100s of models with far advanced technologies.

We had 2 Tv Channels - DoorDarshan (government owned TV) and ZeeTV - which was introduced post 1991 when Government finally opened up allowed private TV channels.

We had one government-owned airlines: Air India - that's it. It is still owned by Indian Government - they were recently trying to sell it but no one purchased it as its so badly run. It also doesn't innovate because it doesn't need profit to survive - government will keep funding it. Indian airports were dumps compared to today where they are finally international standards. Indian train system still doesn't allow private railroads, and yes, there's a reason why bullet trains never made it there.

In order to get a traditional "wired" phone line, we had to wait for years. You filled out a form to get a phone line and years later they would call you and say... hey, you finally have it. Cell phone leap-frogged wired phone lines in India due to capitalism - basic communication wouldn't be there if it was still socialist Raj.

You almost could not start a business in India as an entrepreneur to the scale that companies like PayTM, OYO, Ola Cab, Flipkart thrived. There were just too many laws that essentially disallowed any kind of competition to existing industries.

--------------- Protectionism == no innovation. ---------------

As Winston Churchill said:

"The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries."

Neither systems are perfect. It's really akin to picking your own poison.

For me, personally, after growing up in socialist India, I love America, the freedom, opportunities, an opportunities it provides.

And, here's the zinger... Thumbs-up would have thrived on its own had they just competed. It has the same taste advantage that Coca-Cola has in US market. Indians had been drinking Thumbs-up for years. It tastes different, and we liked it. We were used to it - after the novelty factor of Coca Cola, people just went back to Thumbs-up. It still thrives...


> We had 2 Tv Channels - DoorDarshan (government owned TV) and ZeeTV - which was introduced post 1991 when Government finally opened up allowed private TV channels.

I am pretty sure Star channels also started around the same time as Zee


> It's really akin to picking your own poison.

As we are sharing wisdom in quotes, I have one as well: "All things are poison, and nothing is without poison, the dosage alone makes it so a thing is not a poison."

So if you agree with Paracelsus here (and a lot of European countries do), picking the right bits and pieces from both capitalism and socialism might be the winning strategy.


I wholeheartedly agree! Neither in extreme is good... picking best of both is probably the best way to move forward.


Lucky for India , Soviet Union collapsed at the right time if not socialism would be still the norm and 1/6th of the world population would be still in abject poverty


"Almost half the world — over three billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day. At least 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day." (According to a report from the World Bank, 2008)


The article makes a bold and simplistic claim but in reality the economic transition happened for many more reasons that are undoubtedly complex. Overall it is an interesting article but be careful on basing too much analysis on it!


Let's be real...local or not soda is objectively terrible for you.


So is birthday cake, the key is moderation and education — not banning everything that's remotely bad for you.

Unfortunately Coca-Cola spends more on their own form of education (advertising) than many countries spend on actual education.


Equating advertising with education, even in jest, is dangerous.


I was intentionally equating them to emphasize the problem. If you're not educated to discern the difference between traditional education and advertisement, then there is no practical difference.

Coca-Cola (and advertisements for it) is more widely available than basic education. I personally think this is unethical on part of the advertiser, doubly so when you're selling something that's both unhealthy and somewhat addicting. There are populations in the world who can't read, but can recognize the Coca-Cola logo.


There's no difference between advertising and education other than the stated intentions of the author.


Intent matters.


Independent of intent, all education is indoctrination.

Where I rent comes into play is what you intend for the indoctrinated to do with that education: buy coke, participate in the local ICBM program, or maintain society’s plumbing, the same plumbing the water and sugar in all that coke is pissed down. Either way it creates jobs.


I'll bite. What exactly is the danger?


I quit soda this year, and it's been very difficult. Sometimes I just want to wash down a great meal with a tall, ice cold Coke. Hoping after being away from it long term I start to not want it anymore.


Add a splash of juice to plain seltzer. It gives you that nice fizzy feeling perfect for washing down food, but with a fraction of the sugar of a coke.


Thank you for that tip, I'll have to try it!


I stopped drinking soda in early high school, based on those stupid chain emails about them dissolving teeth and cleaning pennies. It was some years later that it became de rigeur to talk about sugar being The Great Satan, so I pretty much got lucky by completely losing the taste for it pretty early.


I stopped drinking sugared sodas years ago. It's just not part of my diet, and I hate the residue it leaves on the teeth. But I'd have the same feeling if I couldn't have around one beer a week.


My local Kroger just started selling "cola" flavored seltzer water. It's pretty good, but I've been off soda for afew years... https://www.reddit.com/r/1200isplenty/comments/8r655t/kroger...


So is whisky. Life isn’t worth living if you can’t enjoy it. Kale juice might be good for the physical health, but who wants to live in a world without Coca Cola and ice cream? What’s the point of living a long life if you can’t have any fun?


I guess it really depends on your goals. Some people want to do extreme sports and have a great body. Those people probably drink <1 soda per month. Some people want to sit in front of their computers and binge on soda and video games. Most people are somewhere in the middle. that's all OK, but it doesn't mean all of them are treating their body well.

I find your post to be aggressive and prescriptive, while the post you replied to is just attempting to state fact.


Every human who lived before the invention of Coca Cola and ice cream found a reason to live. The question I have is how did you end up thinking that the only lives worth living must include these specific amenities? That's a dangerously inflexible attitude toward other people's cultures.


No it’s not “dangerously inflexible” — Coca Cola can be any particular vice for a culture. The point is that in my culture, ice cream and Coke are not “good” for you, but they make many people happy. You can find similar “bad” things in every culture that make life worth living.


You could conceivably use "who wants to live in a world without Coca Cola and ice cream" to justify the mercy killing of people who live in a society without Coca Cola and ice cream. So why even condition things in such an absurd way?

>he point is that in my culture, ice cream and Coke are not “good” for you, but they make many people happy.

If the point is that vices can do more good than harm, you can say that. You don't have to use phrasing which suggests life would be valueless without those specific vices. The inflexibility is that not even your own life would be valueless if you lost them: you could easily find other vices to amuse yourself by.


I live in a world without coke and sugar just fine...


Lets be real, there is nothing inherently terrible in non-sugary soda.


The acid is bad for your teeth. Here is one of the many sources [1]

[1] https://www.healthline.com/health/dental-oral-health/what-do...


Have you had real sodas? And by that I mean, the sour/salt kind? Sugar wasn't even added to many sodas enjoyed outside of medications until Coca-Cola, who then upped the amount of phosphoric acid instead of switching to something easier like citric acid.


did you just no real scottmans soda?


[flagged]


Maybe that's true, but let's please not go another round of thoughtless generic ideological flamewar.

> Eschew flamebait. Don't introduce flamewar topics unless you have something genuinely new to say. Avoid unrelated controversies and generic tangents.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


I visited India many moons ago. The local coke replacement then was "Thumbs Up".

Fyi if you are traveling in the developing world, Coke is your friend. They have a stringent water purification regime in order that their flavor remains consistent.


The same couldn't be said for big mineral water brands including the ones they own? Staying hydrated with Coke sounds awful.


> Staying hydrated with Coke sounds awful

I've been told by a doctor that (flat) Coke isn't a terrible stopgap replacement for rehydration sachets if you can't get hold of them when travelling and ill.

Makes sense to a certain degree. Rehydration drinks are water, sugar and sodium.

The caffeine is a diuretic but that only slightly reduces the hydration effects compared to water - it doesn't cause a net deficit.

EDIT - Aaaaaaand no: https://www.webmd.com/children/news/20080527/flat-soda-doesn...

"They found carbonated soft drinks contained too much sugar and not enough sodium and potassium to be an effective treatment for mild dehydration in children."


I've been told Gatorade is good for that purpose.


I ended up in the hospital on IV because I did not know athletes were supposed to drink pedialyte.

Some people lose their sense of thirst when pushing it.


Where do you think they got those brands? Coke was purifying water long before bottled water was a craze. They simply took something they were already making for use internally and bottled it as a finished product.

Coke was and remains the expert on turning local water into a consistent ingredient. And the simplest starting point remains pure water. I might not like the corporation, but have absolutely no issues trusting them to purify water for me to drink.


When I was in Papua New Guinea, coffee made with tap water messed up my stomach. I switched to Coke as my morning sugar/caffeine hit and stopped having trouble.


Wow! My intuition would be that water hot enough to make coffee would kill all the bad bugs. I guess not.


It is not only bacteria/parasites/viruses that can cause issues to your stomach. The minerals and other chemicals in the water play a role too.


> Staying hydrated with Coke sounds awful.

but surely better than the alternative?


The real advantage of coke is that it has a distinct flavor that is hard to copy due to their trade secrets. This makes potentially contaminated knock-offs easy to taste out.


I prefer fresh coconut water, straight from the coconut macheted open by street vendors, but recognize this isn’t always available.

There must be pure sources healthier than coca-cola that are more widely accessible.


>> ... straight from the coconut macheted open by street vendors

Do they clean the machete? Was the outside the coconut clean? How about the hands of that street vendor? It is probably best that you learn to wash and open your own coconuts.


It's not as unhygienic as you imagine. The machete touches the outside of the coconut only, and then they make a hole on the top in such a way that the machete doesnt enter the main chamber where the water lives. Then you put a single use plastic straw in to suck out the water. There is no material exchange between the inside and outside, so the outside can be dirty and you'll be fine. I usually watch the guy do a few to make sure he isn't doing something weird before getting one for myself.


Washed with water from where? The water is the problem.


I smiled reading this. Where are you going to wash and machete open your own coconuts when traveling somewhere?


Just carry the machette and a bag of coconuts as your EDC.


Thumps up has been owned by Coca Cola for 25+ years . The quality of manufacturing is no different for Coke or thumps up , they come from the same plants.

The brand and flavour has what is survived not the original company which is really the article's point .

Globalisation is not inherently bad but local culture/Identity/flavours is lost if your KFC, McDonald's and Coke are exactly the same everywhere


I feel water purification is least of the concerns when consuming Coke. Anywhere.


That's the point GP is trying to make, other bottled sodas/waters/etc without a coke label (or ones with a knockoff coke label) may have the quality of their water purification be a concern. But with coke, you know it's not. You're free to worry about getting diabetes in peace :)




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