World Business Activities (Dorling et al.: 2008)

1) Consider these statistics and tell me who has the competitive advantage:

a) The total carrying capacity of all the world's merchant ships is 470 million tones. Forty-three per cent carry oil.

b) Aircraft registered in Africa carry one-tenth of one per cent of world air freight.

c) Seventy-eight per cent of all shipping containers are distributed in East Asia. Two thirds of all the world's shipping-container traffic is handled by China.

d) East Asia accounted for 76.8 per cent of all net forest growth between 1990 and 2000. South America accounted for 32.2 per cent of forest loss. North Africa was second, with 20.3 per cent.

e) The countries for which debt servicing accounted for the largest proportions of GDP in 1990 were: Uganda (81%), Algeria (63%), Madagascar (46%), and Burundi (43%). In 2002 the figures were: Brazil (69%), Burundi (59%), Lebanon (51%), and Turkey (47%).

f) Cars account for 5.3 per cent of net worldwide exports in terms of earnings. Japan and Germany shared 61 per cent of that income between them. The USA alone accounts for 55 per cent of all net spending on car imports.

g) Clothing represents 7 per cent of world trade. It is not a small-scale business. Remember that, next time you feel like smiling at a container filled with T-shirts.

h) Looking at the distribution of royalty fees, one sees that there are essentially just two countries profiting, the USA and Britain.

i) If we look at wealth creation historically, it has been estimated that, 2000 years ago, GDP per head was greatest in what are now India and Bangladesh. In AD 1500 Continental Europe was a major player. Around 1960-1990 the USA was a major player. In 2015 China may have overtaken the USA in GDP. The wealthiest territories per person now are estimated to be Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

j) The greatest growth in wealth per person between 1975 and 2002 occurred in Luxembourg, Equatorial

Guinea, the Irish Republic, and Norway. The greatest declines in wealth over the same period were in the

Ukraine, UAE, Slovenia, and the Czech Republic. k) Of 7.6 billion movie viewings per year in cinemas around the world, three billion happen in India. But whereas Hollywood films are shown all round the world, Bollywood films seldom attract interest outside India.

The age of intelligence

"Information is easily arranged" - Johan Galtung

1) We are passing from the age of mechanics to the age of intelligence. In a world where financing has been made easy and has become a truly global activity, those who have the best information will receive the highest economic return.

2) In today's world economy, it is not essential to begin in possession of natural resources, such as oil or gold. Japan has nothing of that sort. What is important is to possess brains, intellectual and cultural capacity, and spiritual energy.

3) An intelligent person is one who has the ability to recognize and understand whatever situation he is placed in: in the ways of politics if he is a politician, in the ways of business if he is a businessman. An intelligent manager can separate what is essential from what is relative. A nation's prosperity depends on his ability to define and execute strategies based on competitive information or intelligence.

For simplicity we can say that there are two kinds of signals, strong and weak. A manager is judged by his ability to act - with all his ability- in response to the strong signals. An intelligent nation is one which is able to compete with the best.

4) The big entry into the information age is related not so much to the intelligent individual as to the intelligent organization or enterprise, where everyone is learning as a team.124

5) The competitive climate has grown tremendously in keenness since the end of the Cold War. Yesterday companies survived because of their great piles of stock. Today they die for much the same reason.

6) Two thirds of all researchers in Silicon Valley are of Chinese origin. Two thirds of all US research and development is paid for by Japanese. When you walk in the woods around Cupertino (in Silicon Valley) expect to meet more Asians than white people. So long as the Asians do not leave, the USA will be fine.

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