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'Republic of Chicken'

Posted June. 19, 2017 07:12,   

Updated June. 19, 2017 07:39


The world's great scholar Jared Diamond, professor of the University of California, Los Angeles, shows thorough knowledge in physiology, ornithology, evolutionary biology, and biogeography. A normal scientist would be baffled to major even one of these fields. The book "Guns, Germs, and Steel" published in 1998 rewarded Diamond with a Pulitzer. Here, Diamond argues that among the 14 species of wild large grass-eating mammals, which mankind succeeded in domestication, only five (pigs, cows, lambs, goats, and horses) of them are evenly distributed worldwide.

Prof. Diamond analyzed that animals that eat only flesh, grow slowly, or cannot breed well in small spaces are not suitable for a man to breed. What's more, the worst case scenario would be challenging the man, let alone being tamed. Though not a mammal, chickens met all the qualifications of a successful domestication set by Diamond, and became one of the important stocks such as pigs and cows. Optimized to be fed and bred in factories, "production" may be a more suitable word for them. Indeed, Koreans are eating more chicken than ever since the foundation of this nation.

When the Fair Trade Commission's new chief Kim Sang-jo took office, the first one to kneel before him was the chicken franchises, not large conglomerates. The recent due diligence made on BBQ by the Fair Trade Commission led the chicken giant lower the price, which was already raised twice early this month. Kyochon Chicken and BHC also canceled their price increase or offered discounts. The main object of protecting small businesses, which Kim focuses on was to improve unfair trade acts between the franchises and franchisees. Still, consumers have become the first beneficiary than the franchisees. In addition, many raise doubts as why did these franchises raise prices when they could just easily readjust the price.

Franchisees have become the "last resort" for those who were forced out from the corporates and involuntarily became self-employed. Nonetheless, they are faced with dog-eat-dog competition amid the oversaturated market. It was the franchisees who had to bear the boycott when the chairman of a chicken franchise was involved in a sexual harassment case. It remains to be seen whether the "Kim Sang-jo Effect" will end as a one-off "grandstanding" or a key to solve the lopsided relationship between the franchises and franchisees. Come to think of it, it is the year of chicken.