The Button Monster: Government as marketing conduit
By our guest columnist.
Marketing is about creating demand for a product and increasing that demand: in other words, selling as much as possible. To do this, one uses the elements product, promotion of the product, price and place (sales area). However, this also includes people and profiling (read registration and matching of data) under. While this is kept out of the textbooks, it is widely used in practice. Thus, the market is not only excellently managed but also controlled and manipulated.
Our Government also likes to do marketing: slick TV ads make us believe that it is fun to go to the Casino, you will get rid of your money there with a smile. The State Lottery uses your money to support charity abroad (so-called feelgood-programme). Brothels are legalised and drugs are tolerated and if possible legalised, think limited cannabis use, for example. The end justifies the means, the Government has control over sales and also cash in on the tax on these "products". These are products that generate a lot of money for the Government. It ensures that the Government as marketer turns into a marketing pimp: create a lot of demand on addictive products and then cash in big time, after all, the Government controls this "free" market through promotion, including appropriate regulation. The widely lauded free market approach, normally practised by the serious entrepreneur, does not apply to the above State (bonded) companies, because you have to keep a good cash cow. The dream of many a marketer, a game that the Government understands and plays to the hilt like no other.
As our former prime minister said, "we must emulate the VOC mentality of old". Taken literally involves trading and exporting opium. Until the Boxer rebellion in China, the VOC, as opium monopoly, among others, transported opium from Zeeland soil to China. A disused Zeeland poppy field (see photo) is still a silent witness to this. The Dutch Opium interests in Java were housed in the NHM founded by our royal family. The Dutch Cocaine Factory also did well as the largest dealer in Europe, after which it was decided in 1972 to incorporate the NCF into a Holding of AkzoNobel BV.
Furthermore, in the last decades of the 20th century, under the watchful eye of the Government, many coffee shops came into being, and the Government started an initiative to grow medicinal weed. All under the guise of decriminalising the drug scene or for health reasons, resulting in medicinal Nederwiet. A marketer would say: expanding the market. Further research shows that surrounding countries do not agree with this view and local residents of coffee shops complain of nuisance because the police do not intervene, supposedly due to understaffing. The fact is that the police cannot intervene because possessing a few grams of weed is not punishable and neither is using it. Only cultivation is punishable. So the Government comes up with the solution of setting up injection houses where, after registration, one gets hard drugs. Coffeeshops too will soon be allowed to let in only Dutch people who are registered members and in possession of a cannabis pass. That way we keep everyone happy and people think to keep foreigners out. Every citizen knows that presenting a Dutch ID should be enough to bar non-Dutch nationals from coffee shops. After all, supermarkets also do this to prevent alcohol sales to minors. According to the Government, this method cannot be applied to coffee shops. Moreover, the coffee shop will soon become a "closed coffee shop" with a tolerance threshold of a maximum of 1,500 members per shop. The question now arises whether this registration measure is a means of doing Europol a favour, making users easier to trace with all its consequences? Or is it about simultaneously making the coffee shop's turnover more transparent and securing tax revenue? After all, 1500 members times 3 grams of weed per day (permitted portion) is: cash register! Which coffee shop has 1500 visitors buying 3 grams of weed daily? Assume about 440 cities and towns in the Netherlands, times 1500 users: that's about 660,000 users buying a maximum of 3 grams of weed per day. Daily, that's 1980 kg of weed worth about €3500 p/kg (price indication according to internet). This amounts to €6,930,000 turnover per day. That makes the Government a nice earner: 1.3 million in VAT per day x 365 days, which is about half a billion on an annual basis. Nice touch, and then only if there is one coffee shop per municipality.
We can be proud: the VOC mentality is completely back, and indeed, never gone: trading and making money from sales and taxation of trade and opiates. Real Nederwiet in a private coffee shop with registered users. Controlled income tax with guaranteed sales, after all, one must remain a member for a year as a member. And incidentally, if things get too difficult, the buyers are easy to find. Easy right? The marketing machine is working at full speed.