Since the American dollar is so devalued the world over, there’s a United States fire sale going on, and the world at large is buying up our most cherished American icons. Belgium’s InBev — bottlers of Beck’s, Bass and Stella Artois — offered $46 billion to purchase major United States bottler Anheuser-Busch (Budweiser, Michelob, Rolling Rock, Busch, Bacardi) and its American eagle branded business.
The most perilous threat to the facade of our natural, American, landscape isn’t just in the loss of local ownership of successful business brands, but also in the purchasing of our national monuments — in the guise of our iconic office buildings — by vested foreign interests.
Who can forget William F. Buckley Jr.’s 1989 article with the xenophobic headline — “The Japs Capture Rockefeller Center” — detailing the purchase of the famous New York City series of landmark buildings for $846 million.
Would the French sell the Eiffel Tower for any amount of money? What’s the going rate for the Taj Mahal? Does invasive, Americanized, Capitalism overrule any sense of community values and localized morality?
Five days ago, New York’s General Motors building — erected in 1968 — was sold for a record $2.8 billion to an investment company backed by money from Dubai, Kuwait and Qatar.
New York City’s Chrysler building — built in 1930 — is now 75% owned by an Arab investment conglomerate. The price for that slice of our American pie was $800 million on June 11, 2008.
New York City’s infamous Flatiron building — built in 1902 — fell into Italian hands a week ago when the Euro was valued at 1.56 dollars. A year ago the Euro had a 1.33 exchange rate.
Should we be taking an active, national, interest in keeping our American brands and landmark icons under local control and governance? Or is foreign investment in — and ownership of — our national architecture and branding to be expected and accepted in a world economy?