Over two million people crowded the streets of Paris on Thursday, in protest of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s recent inaction in light of increasing unemployment. Job loss in France, according to the Telegraph, was the final straw in a string of incidents that have decreased Sarkozy’s popularity exponentially in recent months. Critics, including dissenters within his own party, are calling for his removal. In a nation where people depend largely on the “welfare state” to take action, little is being done.
globalEDGE Blog Archive January 2009
The average Frenchman works about 18 hours per week, the average Italian – close to 17. Even
In the near future, Mountain View, CA. based Google is planning to introduce the GDrive. What this device will do is allow the user to access their personal files and operating system from any internet connection. So, in essence, no more data loss from crashes, no need for flash drives, no need for storage space on emails, etc. Sounds pretty convenient, right? It's affordable as well. With the release of the GDrive, consumers will no longer need to purchase bulky desktop computers, or purchase additional storage space. All the storage will be done on Google’s servers. Seattle based Amazon.com also offers a similar service called the Simple Storage Service - in both the United States and Eurpoe. And we can probably expect more of these services to appear in the future.
We all know the internet is a crucial place to do business globally, especially for a small company. It takes lots of time and money to develop in-house tools, and also makes it harder to connect with international partners. Here is a great post from the Mashable blog, detailing the best web-apps that can help your business venture succeed. Let us know which ones you like best!
A couple months ago, we posted our very first gE blog series on Global Entrepreneurship. One of the topics we had discussed was the growing ease of not only starting a business, but also expanding your reach internationally due to increased access to computer and information technology. The internet in particular is a key development in this respect.
The days of flaunting wealth through exorbitant purchases have come to an end, thanks to the global economic recession. As companies cut back and global business activity declines, the demand for private jets has dropped sharply. A host of buyers from Asia, the Middle East, the U.S., and Europe are second-guessing the necessity for an expensive private jet. The decline has jet manufacturers such as Canada’s Bombardier Inc. and Brazil's Embraer S.A. scrambling to adjust their business models amid mass cancellations and declining orders.
The travel industry is certainly not recession proof. As more and more people lose their jobs, and as others worry about theirs, many people are being cautions and choosing to stay home and avoid traveling too much. However, the fact that people still value their holidays remains. In a survey by CheapTickets.com and SmartMoney.com people ranked travel as the second leisure activity they still try to afford.
In today's tough economic climate, many small businesses are worried whether or not they will survive. If the future isn't looking bright, you may want to give exporting another look. A variety of factors make now a better time than ever:
- A weak dollar means, relative to the field, your products are on sale.
- Depression? Not everywhere in the world! Look to other markets to fill in for slumping domestic demand.
- Is your product seasonal? Look to a different hemisphere to fill in off-season sales.
Traditionally, Iceland has been one of Europe’s priciest vacation destinations. However, following the recent financial collapse, vacationing in Iceland has become much more affordable. Since the financial crisis, the Icelandic króna is worth less than half its value a year ago, which, as economics tells us, increases the value of other currencies being used in that country. Some multi-night deals are starting at $400, a sign of both the depressed Icelandic economy as well as the desire of attracting foreign currency in order to help jump-start the economy.
Some people thought that Asia, with high growth rates, huge trade surpluses and substantial foreign reserves could be less affected by the economic storm which originated in the West. Yet, a number of economic indicators show us that Asia in fact could not avoid being hit by such a global disaster because of the fact that it heavily depends on West to fuel it's own economy. For example, exports contribute 45% of Asian countries’ economy and out of these exports, western consumers count for a half of it.Western investors are also the major players in the Asian markets. The depreciation of Asian currencies caused a huge loss on currency-hedging products. Even so, Asia - the source of one third of global GDP - can play a crucial role in bringing the economy back to the prosperity.
As the economy slumps, experts predict a rise in protectionism. The reasons range from obvious to interesting. Trade liberalization has the potential to decrease wages for blue-collar jobs in developed countries, which, especially in hard times, can cause political pressure to raise barriers to trade. Also, emerging markets are having a harder time exporting, which decreases their incentives to strive for freer trade. If they can't boost domestic demand, it will be hard for politicians to resist the pressure.
On January 1, 1999, a new currency was launched in
Most teenagers dream about owning their own car. For some, it is a realistic expectation that in the near future, they’ll own a car. For others, it’s a long-term goal. Regardless, few can deny the convenience, comfort, and freedom of owning their own car. Japanese youth, however, seem to have other dreams. Japanese automakers say the youth in Japan are more interested in technological goods such as cell phones, computers, and many other Japanese technological marvels. For more on Japanese business, visit its page on globalEDGE!
Check out these two articles from the New York TImes on the recent opening of oil fields in Iraq. This article from December discusses the second round of bids that happened a few weeks ago. The second article is from last June, which discusses the impact of opening the fields to foreign investment.
Although computer technology first caught on developed nations, there has been a steady trend of emerging markets quickly catching up to the west.
One example is high-tech research and development. A recent report by the OECD indicates that Asia is on average outpacing the west in R&D spending. If you look inside most consumer electronics, even if they are from an American company, you will find that the majority of the internal components were designed or manufactured in Asia. This looks like it is going to become even more likely in the future, with countries like China increasing spending 23% between 2001 and 2006, with the US and Europe only increasing 1-2% over the same period.
The global economy may not be showing signs of improvement; however Slovakia is hoping to see some stability of its economy in 2009. Five years after it joined the European Union, the country is accepting the Euro as its official currency. Slovakia has had to cope with volatile currency for years and now many companies see the change from the Slovak Koruna to the Euro as a positive change that will lead to more stability.
The Middle Kingdom has long been the up-and-comer among the world’s economic powers. The nation saw year after year of double-digit GDP growth, fueled by a strong manufacturing base and high demand for its relatively cheap exports. The global economic crisis has not passed over China however, and it now seems that the nation is being forced to slow its plans for growth.
Many agree, times are tough right now. Yet, no country right now is suffering the level of crisis that Iceland is. A small number of investors in Iceland have essentially turned the country’s banking system into one giant hedge fund. In response, many concerned Icelanders have taken to the streets, especially in the capital of Rejkjavic, to protest these “financial Vikings” and call for re-regulation to come to the banking industry.
If you still think outsourcing, caused by globalization, is the biggest threat to the American labor market: think again. According to a new book by Colombia Business School professor Bruce Greenwald and historian Judd Kahn, aptly titled Globalization, technology, along with other miscellaneous productivity measures, are much more likely to result in job cuts than shipping jobs off to China and other developing countries. The authors cite statistics from the Commerce Department, showing that between 2000 and 2006 only 35% of lost jobs were replaced by foreign labor. Contrast that to the 65% that were lost to productivity increases.