In 2008 it was certainly an interesting year for international business people. The popular non-fiction book; "The World is Flat" by Thomas Friedman shook up the general public and made the best sellers list. Of course, it was answer by another author with a similar set of competing ideals called "The World is Round" and then there was the book by the former Clinton Administration's Commerce Department Secretary; "Futurecast" by Robert Shapiro.
What are all these books saying? Well, probably what most anyone who reads Foreign Affairs, The Economist or studies the research papers coming out of the UN or OCED already knows. The world is getting closer together every day and it is becoming a Glocal World as one famous economic Futurist who coined the term likes to call it.
One troubling trend has been that many socialistic and communistic governments are stealing private businesses and giving them to the state. Bolivia has nationalized several mines and natural resource businesses much to the chagrin of foreign investors who put up the money. Venezuela failed to renew long-term oil leases effectively nationalizing oil, but they did not stop there.
Then there are issues at the European Union attacking American Companies, calling them onto the carpet for anti-trust, obviously following the United States' botched cases here, thus hurting American Companies abroad, like Boeing, Microsoft, Wal-Mart, and Intel. Speaking of Intel they have had problems in all sorts of Asian nations too, with 8 of their plants raided by authorities in Japan, undoubtedly trying to steal trade secrets under the disguise of anti-trust after complaints from AMD.
On the other hand the EU has made it easier for businesses in those countries to do business in neighboring countries. It has also opened doors for foreign companies to partner and then expand their product distribution throughout Europe. Then we must also consider the issue with the Euro value against the Dollar, which has made the US a more favorable place to make products and do manufacturing. And the strength of the Euro is making American products less expensive to European buyers.
China has been opening its doors to American Partners investing in manufacturing, but then attacking American Companies or companies with American Partners first when it comes to cleaning up their environment. So, that's a big catch-22, even as the patent pirating runs ramped.
China's emerging middle class is hungry for Western Products, but they certainly are not alone. Dubai is calling on experts in all industries throughout the world to help them build their shining city and they are buying lots of American products there too. Some are worried that Dubai is over extended financially and predict a catastrophic collapse, but that does not appear to be something that would happen in 2008.
So, much more to talk about and in more depth, but I thank you very much for listening.