Not the Parable (Part 2) – the Rice Clan

The Rice Clan

The Rice clan did not have a long history like the Dragon family and they did not own as much land. They were a gathering of numerous families with different heritages. Those families did not get along well in the beginning. They had their family infightings from time to time. They fought against each other and some of their patriarchs and matriarchs were killed during those disputes. After many years of fighting, they learned how to live together through intensive negotiation and compromise to accomplish mutual benefits for most of the family members. Those various families inter-married but individual families retained their own heritage. They tried to put aside their differences and unite as a powerful force among their neighbourhood. In order to make sure that individual opinions were heard, all members of the clan would choose their head of the household periodically. The Rice clan had many accomplished writers, scientists, lawyers, doctors, and most importantly, business minded cousins.

Since the Rice clan had limited resources, they decided to expand through trade. They needed to buy food and raw materials from other families. When they could not afford to buy what they wanted or needed, they would use the unethical tactics such as moving in to other people’s less developed properties and claiming squatters’ rights. There came a time when the clan had to buy too much from other villages to fulfill their needs but they did not have enough products to trade. Some avaricious members in the clan decided to increase their product lines for their capacity to trade and profit.

Two cousins, Kenneth and Norman, whose families claimed squatters’ rights in the mountainous Brown county, realized a high profit margin product which could solve their trade deficit problem.

Being successful traders of the Rice clan, Kenneth and Norman executed an ingenious plan. The people in the Brown county were mostly poor. They were subsistence farmers who had been living there for generations. The cousins coerced the Browns not to grow food crops and switch to grow papaver, a plant from which juice could be extracted as an addictive narcotic. The cousins brought in food from the nearby valley region to trade with the Browns for papaver. The Browns were satisfied with the trade because they now had a steady supply of food and produce. The cousins then traded the papaver with a huge marked up price to the Dragon family for more food, produce and raw materials and sold them for even more profits to their own clansmen.

How could the cousins sell papaver to the Dragons for such a high profit? The answer could be described as a textbook case in marketing, monopoly, and vertical supply chain management.

To be continue…

© Ngok Yeung Lai. All rights reserved.

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