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Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Impact of a Global Economy is Inevitable; the Game Started Years Ago.


When I used to play basketball I always wanted to arrive when the games started. It was when everyone was fresh. If you sat out a few games you take the sidelines or just wait to form another team to return to the game. Things moved with or without you. The goal was not to lose and if you did lose you tried to play well enough so you didn’t get sidelined.

Our global economy is starting to remind me of the pick-up games at the gym. The game goes on with or without us. As a country we have always showed up early and played to win. In fact, we almost always have been crowned the winner. America is indeed the greatest land of opportunity and maintains its global presence as such. Yet we are faced with the reality of an ever emerging global economy.

The President is in Yokohama, Japan with members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC). The Governor and a small delegation are in China then also Japan looking at ways to strengthen our global ties in what is inevitably the preferred market for business. As small town America why do we need to think globally?
More American companies than you could imagine outsource work. International investment on American soil is at an all time high. Nitin Nohria, MIT graduate and newly crowned Dean of Harvard Business School, makes some interesting points about where we have come as a country and why things have shifted in his 16 page lecture “India and the Globalization of Business.”

In a recent presentation in Mumbai, he states, “I believe the 21st century will be a
Global Century because there will be many formidable global competitors.”
Though I believe that competition alone does not guarantee a wide spread epitaph of U.S. leadership on the global stage, I do believe the level and nature of the competition is such that we have all become witnesses to a dilution of America’s strength to maintain its position.

Nohria goes on to explain his efforts in researching the 20th Century and American business names like Andrew Carnegie, Walt Disney, Henry Keiser, Sam Walton, Bill Gates and Jack Welch to determine, “What enabled American businesses to supplant European competitors on the global
stage?”

His finding was that the reason for America’s dominance in the 20th century is that the most successful economies are those that are the most dynamic. As he defines it the greatest strength of the American economy is, “where an economy renews itself and constantly evolves from within.”

As we aim to remain off the sideline as a city, state, and nation I am afraid we will have to put all of our effort in understanding the global economy as it exists and determine how adaptable we desire to become.

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