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International trade and policy experts have made strong arguments that the worldwide economic downturn a decade ago (2008-2009) was due to the inadequacies in the rules that we need to have globally for a stable and prosperous economy. The carryover effect to today, some 10 years later, is potentially worrisome in the long term, some economists suggest.

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By some accounts, moving is ranked as the third-most stressful event a person can experience, after death of a relative and divorce. Two Men and a Truck started as an after-school business (Video: The Story of the Stickmen) for two high school boys in Lansing, Michigan. As a small business focused on local moving services, the company began in 1985 with $350, a hand-drawn logo, and an advertisement in a local community newspaper.

In 1989, Melanie Bergeron, the daughter of founder Mary Ellen Sheets, opened the first franchised office of Two Men and a Truck in her hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. Melanie is now board chair, with Brig Sorber as the chief executive officer and Jon Sorber as executive vice president. Randy Shacka, who joined the company as an intern in 2001, was promoted in 2012 to president, and Brant Hartle is the Chief Financial Officer. Shacka is the first president of the company who did not come from the family.

Two Men and a Truck is no longer “two men and a truck.” The company has grown both domestically and internationally to most of the United States and some 380 locations worldwide.

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China remains the market with the most potential for U.S. exporters, according to the 2018 Market Potential Index (MPI) by the International Business Center in the Broad College of Business at Michigan State University. Hong Kong and India are second and third in this year’s ranking.

The top three spots in the 2018 ranking remain unchanged from the 2017 rankings, with China keeping the overall top spot for the fifth year in a row. Singapore moved up from the sixth spot into the fourth spot on the strength of its strong commercial infrastructure and high levels of market receptivity.

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As the academic year comes to a close we would like to thank all of our readers for a great year. We have enjoyed posting blogs and interacting with all of you throughout the year.

The globalEDGE blog will be taking a break from regularly posting blogs over the summer. We may be checking in occasionally with new posts; however, the normal schedule will resume in September.

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Every year globalEDGE publishes its Market Potential Index (MPI) in order to assess a market’s attractiveness for international business. The Market Potential Index ranks the market potential of the 97 largest economies (not including the U.S.). With the MPI, determining which international market to enter is no longer an overwhelming task. The world’s largest economies are ranked based on several dimensions, allowing appropriate marketing strategies to be developed for each particular country. The MPI for 2018 had a few countries make surprising leaps in the rankings. Over the course of this blog, we will discuss some of the noticeable trends in these markets.

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Why don’t Democratic members of Congress support free trade agreements?  The reason most often given is that historically Democrats have been the party of the working person.  And since the conventional wisdom holds that trade destroys jobs in the U.S., Democrats have to oppose it.

Related to this explanation is that labor unions are de facto extensions of the party and if they oppose trade then the party’s elected representatives must follow their lead on this issue.  Since unions donate money to candidates they support, to favor trade means saying goodbye to these contributions and the votes they represent.

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This is the third post in a three-part series featuring our blog competition winners from Michigan State University. The author of today's post is Pujitha Kasipuram.

What is CSR

Corporate social responsibility is not a new term, as it originated back in the 1930’s where a firm tends to focus on mainly profits and private interests. According to Norine Kenney who is a part the U.S Council on International Business, “there is no solid definition of CSR; however, it is not a replacement for the governmental role and responsibility in meeting challenges of sustainable development.” This states that there is not one definition of CSR nor it substitutes the responsibility of a government. In fact, corporate social responsibility can be evaluated in many directions such as providing good working conditions to employees or how it can relate to globalization in three ways: environmental, economic, and social. With globalization and CSR, it is believed that there should be equal access to all three resources, but is this necessarily true? Since the government is not fully responsible to enforce for such issues, how can corporations be held accountable that are engaging in ethical practices? Corporate Social Responsibility varies by region, by country, and by group. It is a broad topic to discuss, but increasingly becoming important for consumers.

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This is the second post in a three-part series featuring our blog competition winners from Michigan State University. The author of today's post is Xiyou Xu.

The emergence of cryptocurrencies has shaken up the economic establishments around the world. In fact, the phenomenon of such virtual currencies is thoroughly studied by the economists to understand how they impact the global financial system. As a result, such cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin have been examined regarding contrast to existing physical alternatives, and various experts have responded to its uprising.

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This is the first post in a three-part series featuring our blog competition winners from Michigan State University. The author of today's post is Lauren Kuiper.

What does value mean to you? There are many ways to perceive value based on the company you are dealing with. For most companies, value is the foundation of the business. If the company cannot get the customer to see the value in their product or service, they will essentially fail. They need their customers and employees to believe in their product or service in order for them to be successful. For international companies, this is even more important. When operating internationally, there are many factors that go into creating value within the company. Marketing 310, an international business class that I am currently in, has helped me to understand how important creating value is for international companies because they are dealing with a wider range of customers. This post will discuss some examples of international companies who have been successful based off of their value creation and the different techniques they use.