I am sure that many readers of this blog are, like me, subscribers to Bloomberg Businessweek. For those who might not be, you might want to pick up a copy of the December 20, 2010 - January 2, 2011 Year in Review edition. Pretty interesting stuff presented in a very different and creative way.
It is filled with lots of data much of it leaving the reader wondering as many of us felt before confronted with contents - what will 2011 bring?
It seems that for every piece of "good news" there is a balancing piece of "bad news." For example, we are told that in 2010, "the U.S. added 937,000 jobs."
While not super, wow, terrific, at least it's a better number than losing a like amount. At least it feels that way until it is followed by the fact that
"...Foxconn, the Taiwan-based maker of nearly every consumer electronic product you wanted this year, added 300,000." And sports fans, in case you missed it, one is a country the other a company!And the opening piece goes on to say in part:
"Fueled by gold, copper and coal, the most robust currency of the year against the dollar was the Mongolian tugrik." "In India, competition for deals has become so intense that billionaire Ravi Ruia is branching out to Africa - buying coal mines in Mozambique and a Kenyan oil refinery. Competition is one of the pleasures of business and one of the foundations of America.""That right hasn't been rescinded - it's been extended to people around the world. In a way, we've won. Now the game starts again."
"That right hasn't been rescinded - it's been extended to people around the world. In a way, we've won. Now the game starts again."As I read through the issue, my thoughts kept going back to the foregoing line which somehow struck me as very powerful and profound even though the thought was hardly new.
The term "globalization" has long since become part of our daily business lexicon, and if you listen to many of those described as "thought leaders" they all seem to applaud the changes and talk of the opportunities represented by the evolving global markets. For those who can innovate, the future looks very bright indeed.
Said a bit differently, Bloomberg Businessweek said it this way:"Capitalism lives off of change."
What it didn't say, but is clearly implicit in that truth is that those same "thought leaders" also point out that unless the U.S. can maintain its leadership position when it comes to innovation, which is what really drives "change," our role as the economic engine of the world will be lost. Indeed, it doesn't take a lot of research to find lots of folks who think that this has already happened, but we either haven't noticed it yet or are simply in denial.
It would seem that there is more doom and gloom on this subject than those who think the pessimists wrong. After all, it is the bad stuff that "sells" so finding an abundance of those who think "it's all over but the shouting" isn't surprising.
For sure only time will tell if as a country we are up to the challenge.
As for me, and maybe it's just the hopefulness, excitement and optimism of a new year, but no matter what the challenge, I would rather be in the USA than anywhere else in an effort to meet it.