Over a year after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the future of nuclear energy in Japan is in jeopardy. On March 11, 2011 an earthquake off the Eastern coast of Japan triggered a tsunami that killed nearly 20,000 people, devastated many towns along the Eastern coast, and severely damaged the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactors. The damage to the reactors led to a significant release of radioactive chemicals, and a mass evacuation of the surrounding area was conducted. Now, Japan is intent on cutting back and possibly even eliminating nuclear power productions, and the economic repercussions of such a transition are coming to fruition.
globalEDGE Blog Archive August 2012
For a country that has a deep and prosperous mining heritage, Australia was shocked by the latest report from its Resources Minister Martin Ferguson: the resource boom, one of the largest engines in Australia's economy, was over. The statement came following BHP Billiton's announcement that there has been a 35% dip in profits and postponed plans to expand the nation's Olympic Dam mine. There have also been considerable concerns in the country that the weak global economy might also decrease the demand for coal, metal ores, and other commodities. For foreign investors and Australian economists alike, a slowdown in the prosperous mining sector will surely leave a noticeable dent in Australia's economic growth.
Since the mid-1980s, emerging markets have grown faster than advanced economies. When you think of how hard it once was for smaller economies to grow and globalize, this is an amazing feat. Looking at the current situation can give many aspiring economies hope to grow successfully.
As the international community continues to strive towards clean, renewable energy, South Korea has turned towards an abundant resource to power the future: the powerful waves of the Yellow Sea. Marine experts from Orkney, Scotland have recently agreed to advise South Korean engineers during the construction of a new tidal testing center in the northwestern Incheon Metropolitan City. The European Marine Energy Centre, or EMEC, has been operating in Scotland since 2003, where it has been developing technologies that generate electricity by harnessing the power of waves and tidal streams. Although the turbulent waves of the Yellow Sea have been noted as "very tough to work in," and EMEC spokeman has said that the waters offer some of the world's most tidal conditions, therefore making it a superb resource.
When the words German businesses are spoken, the images that tend to come to mind are usually those of large corporations like BMW or Siemens. Surprisingly to most, the true engine of the German economy that has kept the country away from the European debt crisis is actually the Mittelstand, or the nation's vast amount of small and middle-size companies. Accounting for more than 60 percent of Germany's workforce, the Mittelstand focuses more on sustainability than growth, has not seen any effect on sales during the current debt crisis, and is reported by the Institute for Mittelstand Research to actually be cutting their debt. When compared to the debt-stricken economies of Greece, Italy, Spain, and a debt-threatened France, Germans argue that the structure of the Mittelstand, which focuses more on sustainability than growth, has proven to be a vital aspect of the country's economic prosperity.
Have you ever heard of mapping underground pollution? I hadn’t until recently, after Doug Barry sat down with John H. Sohl III, the founder of Columbia Technologies. This mapping involves using sensor technology that tracks leakage of pollutants, and following an analysis, customers can make decisions on risk assessment, disposition of the property and proper cleanup actions. The more interesting aspect of this story is how the company grew internationally.
Although government bonds issued by the United States, Germany, and Japan are still the main safe havens for investors, trends now show that the slowing economic growth in America and China, combined with the European debt crisis, have pushed investors to search the globe for safer markets. Countries that were once considered on the frontier of the investing world, like Norway, Finland, Sweden, Canada, and Australia, have been experiencing a rush of money from American investors looking to move abroad. Common market characteristics in these countries include having little of the risk, or outsized returns, that were once attractive prior to the current global financial crisis.
In this age of globalization and economic integration, international companies face many complex issues. One of these issues has arisen rather quickly this past decade and will affect many businesses in the years to come. Companies around the world now face the problem of a global shift in the supply and demand of talent. Due to an aging population, global employers face the challenge of recruiting from a shrinking workforce. More specifically, as the skills employers require become more complex, labor shortages are probable in many mature markets such as the United States, Italy, Canada, and Germany. Already, an estimated 31% of employers worldwide find it difficult to fill positions because of talent shortages in their markets. So what does this mean for the future of business?
For the first time in 25 years, the World Bank is considering sending financial aid to Burma. Following Burma's recent political and financial reforms, sanctions have been repealed against the nation in an effort to bring Burma back into the international community. Following this trend, the World Bank is preparing up to $85 million in grants to give to Burma for community-driven development programs. According to World Bank group president Jim Yong Kim, these grants are intended to build confidence in Burma's reform process, help in the World Bank's mission of eradicating poverty, and help to restructure Burma's current debt $397 million.
In Brazil, where young workers have typically opted to join large corporations in the public or private sector, statistics now confirm a rise in young entrepreneurs choosing instead to run their own franchise. According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, the number of Brazilians aged 18 to 24 that attempted entrepreneurship increased by 74% between 2002 and 2010, with the franchising model being the simplest and safest way to run their own business. The sector has experienced a 10-13% average annual increase since 2002, generated a profit of $44 billion USD in 2011 (89 billion reals), and is responsible for 837,000 jobs.
With bountiful natural resource and an extremely small population to support, Mongolia is becoming an independently powerful economic powerhouse. With $5 billion pumped into the economy in 2011 fueling a stunning 17% increase in the country’s GDP, Mongolia has become the world’s fastest growing economy.
Landlocked between Russia and China can be both a blessing and a curse in international trade. The former has supplied all of Mongolia’s oil needs and the latter receives 90% of Mongolia’s exports. Both are wooing the country so they may become the dominant force in developing the country’s natural resource. However, with other nations pouring in, they might not be as successful in having too much leverage.