Business politics and commerce

When we think of the ongoing trade war between the US and China what comes to mind? For some its tariffs, higher prices, and economic slowdown. For others it’s a long game betting on which economy backs down first. When it comes to the trade war the lenses in which you see can be obstructed by numerous angles. These angles revolve around business and politics and collide in the arena of global markets.

     Each of angles has a different set of values and objectives that drive the rational of their feelings. Business, (generally speaking) seeks to provide a good or service to consumers in order to turn a profit. For business the more consumers that they acquire or the cheaper they can produce a good or service are seen as a positive. Business also compete with each other within the market for profit, this has led to a need for seamless logistics for expansion especially for a global good or service. In order for this logistical capability to be met corporations work in various markets across the world to secure what they need. This works best when markets are stable and players work by the same rules.  For most global firms anything outside the market that interferes in securing profits for them can be seen as a negative. Due to these values business have tended to not want government interference in the markets, which they see as disruptive and potentially harmful to profits and long-term sustainability

     Governments who represent the political side have a whole different list of concerns and values. Whether national security, unemployment or GDP growth, governments look at national issues and thus tend to look for more macro level decisions that will affect the overall system with a positive. For governments a negative is any perceived threat to the sustained prosperity to the nation. This threat can come the arms of other nations like nuclear weapons, cyber-attacks, or physical invasion. They can also come in the form of the economies of other nations as in the case of China. For government the only option is the permanent removal of these threats which they see as harmful to their nation and long-term prosperity.

         This is where the different values come to a head. Governments view all aspects of their nation as tools and thus will use all macro to and micro indicators equally to further their goals. Governments will upend markets if it will secure the long-term prosperity of their nation. We see this playing out in the case of the tariffs and trade war between the USA and China. The US government perceives the Chinese trade balance as existential threat that can be levied against it in the future and therefore has acted in what it considers as its own best interest to secure future prosperity for the USA. In the eyes of the government the way to obtain this future is to use the markets as leverage, thus incite a trade war to that end. The goal is to put enough pressure the Chinese government while-capitulating and thus make a deal more beneficial to the USA relative to product cost dynamics and fair share tax contribution. In the short term, the markets will suffer while negotiations wear down the weaker opponent.

    From the business perspective, firms thrive during market stability and grow weary of adapting with this kind of political showmanship. Disruption on this level can mean the end of many businesses that aren’t responsive in volatile markets. China in the eyes of business is important not only as the largest global manufacturer but has become a leader in global manufacturing value creation. For some industries Chinese markets are vital to their success and disruption within those markets can spell the end of their enterprise. We see this in particular in the case of agriculture which exports most of their goods to China.  government intervention and trade wars depict uncertainty which can spook investors and pull money out of market which can cause extreme market fluctuations.

     All in all when it comes down to how you view the global future. By and large businesses believe that the trade war needs to end before it can cause irreversible damage not only to the relations with China but the local economics of USA that rely on exporting to China or importing their goods. The government in this case the Trump administration believes that this economic pain is only short term and is necessary in order to secure a future in which the USA will have good relations and come out with a better “deal” with China, thus increasing prosperity in the USA. However the trade war plays out, you can rest assure- the 2020 elections in the USA will be telling. Especially so as a referendum of sorts to the current administrations leadership value in this embattled trade and tariff war.

The world’s factory

China is often referred to as the world’s factory due to its overwhelming presence in manufacturing.  In 2011 it superseded the US in factory production ending a 110-year streak and they hasn’t stopped there in 2017 China accounted for nearly 50% of global manufacturing output. Needless to say, the country lives up to its title, but it wasn’t always the case. Prior to 1978 Chinese manufacturing was almost nonexistent.

       Many aspects of the success of Chinese manufacturing find their origin in the reforms of Deng Xiaoping. He knew that if China was to become competitive it would need to open to the world markets. He dislodged many of the state-owned monopolies and supported the creation of privately-owned business in the country. In the early 1980s he opened the country up to foreign investment through the creation of the free trade economic zones. The cities of Shenzhen, Zhuhai and Shantou of Guangdong Province. These cities today are the great hubs of Chinese manufacturing. While being established in the 80s it would take 10 or so years for the cities to become the hubs that they are today.

      But the question remains why China, and the answer is twofold logistical capability and technical skill. While China’s cheap labor costs seem to be the obvious answer as to its success it isn’t that simple, while labor costs in China are cheap compared to the US and other developed nations, they are still marginally expensive compared with other developing nations such as Vietnam, India or Malaysia. The real catch in Chinese manufacturing is its logistical capability. Due to the close relation between business and the government Chinese factories can expand at scale very quickly, hiring new personnel, expanding physical capabilities and reworking logistics for expanded imports and export of materials, all at minor costs, this is the real hook that keeps business like apple producing in china. The other facet is Chinese technical skill, when we think of manufacturing jobs we tend to envision the assembly line one job fits all approach. This is true in many cases apparel and toys fit this mold, China also assembles highly technical equipment such as cars, phones, and laptops. In these industries workers need to be skilled and thus trained on how to manage equipment and that isn’t cheap. This is where the country shines its ability to scale highly technical manufacturing has been on its greatest accomplishments. As China shifts however from a export growth economy to a consumer grown one we will have to look at how Chinese manufacturing changes.

Read more Below

https://www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/091515/3-industries-driving-chinas-economy.asp

https://www.thebalance.com/china-economy-facts-effect-on-us-economy-3306345

https://www.economist.com/leaders/2015/03/12/made-in-china

https://www.theatlantic.com/china/archive/2013/08/chinas-dominance-in-manufacturing-in-one-chart/278366/

Hong Kong When Business and politics Collide

Hong Kong is one of the great finance cities of the world. Known for banking, It stands as a focal point for regional business in the east Asia arena and attracts capital and investors globally. Hong Kong’s history has played a vital role in shaping the successful business culture it has today but that same history can be seen as the reason of today’s unrest. Hong Kong was Seeded to the British in 1841 and was under British rule until 1997. During that time Hong Kong and its people were increasingly exposed to western values of which was assimilated into the local traditions. This is how Hong Kong became the preeminent center of finance in the Asian world, its time under British rule allowed it to acclimate itself to world markets allowing for a business-friendly attitude.

       When Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997 it was guaranteed semi autonomy for a period of 50 years lasting until 2043. Under this 1 country 2 systems rule Hong Kong would be allowed to govern itself essentially keeping everything business as usual. Business were able to operate freely as they have done, and Hong Kong kept its much-regarded freedoms. This was due to the inherent strength of Hong Kong compared with other major Chinese at the time. However, times change Hong Kong while still being a banking epicenter is just one of many well integrated and successful Chinese cities. This may be why the government of china has been pushing for more integration of Hong Kong into the mainland prompting unrest and protest by the Hong Kong people.

     The latest Protest began at the end of March when an Extradition bill was proposed by the government of Hong Kong that would enable China to extradite people who have committed a crime in mainland China from Hong Kong. This is a major issue to the people of Hong Kong as many everyday civil liberties can be considered an offense in mainland China stoking fear that mainland China’s censorship could come to the island indirectly. This prompted the protests that we see today as even as the bill in question is currently suspended the people of Hong Kong are still protesting to have it removed entirely trying to curb the mainland influence on Hong Kong politics. This has left the Business leaders in a rather precarious situation.

      Currently Hong Kong is unrest protests are a daily occurrence with no end in sight and no one is aware if or when the mainland forces of China will be called into the region. All of this creates a negative atmosphere to do business. Recently the protestors occupied Hong Kong’s international airport causing delays and cancellations of multiple flights. For business the end of the protest would mean back to normal. The line however is drawn on how to end the protest, business in Hong Kong walk a fine line. On one end supporting mainland China’s policies would allow for the investments to continue to flow into the region and potentially end the protest faster but would cost Hong Kong the precious autonomy that its citizens prize. Alternatively supporting the protest to push off mainland politics doesn’t seem likely as it could hurt their bottom line as the Mainland could pull out investments in the region. Recently Hong Kong lowered its GDP growth report to between 0% and 1% from 2% to 3%. For now at least the protests do not seem to be coming to an end, neither side will step down and business is expected to slow down in the city as the unrest grows.

Read more Below

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/08/20/hong-kong-protests-carrie-lam-speaks-about-economic-impact-shenzhen.html

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/commentary/commentary-how-hong-kong-s-protests-are-affecting-its-economy-11842026

https://time.com/5661163/hong-kong-beijing-intervention/

https://www.wsj.com/articles/hong-kong-protests-force-companies-to-choose-their-employees-or-china-11566757662

Signs of the times

     Recently, we saw for the first time since 2008 an inversion of the yield cure for long term bonds. A yield curve inversion is when the returns for a long-term bond like the 10 year treasury bond see lower rates than another shorter bond like the 3 month bond or the 1 year bonds. Typically, longer term bonds have higher rates of return than shorter bonds because longer term bonds carry a higher risk and thus to attract investors- the rates must be high enough that investors will be willing to take that risk. However, when there is an inversion that may mean that investors are getting anxious.

     Bond yields fall as prices of bonds increase and bond prices change following the laws of supply and demand. Ultimately, investors are wanting a secure place to put their money and thus buy up longer term bonds even though the rate of return will be much lower than usual. When this notion becomes widespread it causes the yield curve to invert making the returns on the safer short-term bonds higher than longer term ones.
 
        In a nutshell, this may have a negative impact on the economy as it relates to the markets. In lay man’s terms: The yield curve inversion is one of the most prominent indicators that a recession may be looming. We have seen recessions preceded by a yield curve in the last 2 cycle of recessions. The first cycle recession happened back in 2000 and then 2008. When the inversion appeared in recent market analysis, the DOW plunged losing value as investors became worried (skiddish) about the future. It is important to note that recessions

    Following yield curve inversion do not happen right away, the past recessions that have occurred have all begun on average around 15 months after the inversion occurred. While a recession is not here today, we may have been put on notice that the good times are not to last. Which is bad news for most investors. But not to worry, if your portfolio is diverse, you more than likely will survive. If you are an average middle class person/family- you may want to start preparing for the outcome.

All the best~

Lessons in leadership

Today I write from my leadership standpoint. I run two organizations that are at times overwhelming. As such, I’ve made a deliberate decision to swim through the murky waters until I reach the shore- then take a well deserved bath.

Today, I will not be defeated!

“You may encounter many defeats but you must not be defeated”- Maya Angelou

As a leader (on a personal note):

Some say I have lived a full life- one that is to be envied. I say, ‘I’ve accomplished much and I’ve failed miserably at many things’. I joke with my husband/ friend and say, ‘They just don’t know!’ We laugh.

What I do know:

  1. I somehow keep rising to the occasion of the challenge
  2. I know defeat is temporary
  3. I know happiness is not sustainable but JOY is
  4. I know happiness is an amazing rainbow- if you are fortunate to catch and seize the ‘happiness is’ moments
  5. Failure leads to accomplished lives “Success and Service”
  6. I am grateful for both my accomplishments and my failures

Today, I am overwhelmed and a bit lonely in my work. That is what Leaders mean when they say,  “It’s lonely at the top”.

Leadership is a journey that only us crack-pots venture into.  The term ‘crack-pot’ is meant to be interpreted as an endearing term that only visionaries and those who are offered an explanation truly understand. It is not meant to be offensive or cunning in an way.

Some great characteristics of Leaders:

  1. You go where others dare not enter
  2. You take on more risk because there is a dire need or a significant problem to be solved
  3. You become thick skinned and spine straight
  4. You somehow find in your loneliness, there is Joy and Peace
  5. You inspire others to Dream and to become accomplished in their gift(s)

As a leader you’ll come to understand and realize that stagnation will never Grow anything and YOU must challenge yourself and others around you (near and far) to dream in color, be innovative and to become positive change agents.

So today choose to be a Leader that is:

  • Chocked full of IDEAS
  • Able to Solve Problems
  • Inclusive
  • Kind – (kindness is not synonymous with weakness)

In doing so, the World will be better and individuals will come into their true Growth Opportunities (and perhaps seize them). There is a certain Joy and Peace to that extent. That J&P is almost ethereal and surreal to the average individuals’ comprehension and that’s okay;)

Cheers to your journey~ Go and be Great!

Never be Defeated.

With Love,

Bridgette

Health is vital to success.

Recently, it was reported that three things are vitally important to our health and I believe can attribute to great success in some challenging endeavors.

They are:

  1. Laugh often- Listen, I get really silly sometimes (heck-I crack myself up sometimes, which may not be good). It (laughter) just makes life easier for me. I don’t take me or others too serious. When my family shouts, “Mom!” or “Bridgette!” yet they have tears in their eyes from laughing…I keep going. They ask me- when they are expecting guests at our home- “Mom” or “Bridgette” don’t be all serious. This means they want me to laugh and make others laugh. I guess this is why so may travel through our doors, they feel at home and know Laughter Abounds- along with some good food!

Laughter might not really be the best medicine. But it’s got a long list of amazing benefits for your physical and emotional health.

For instance, it also causes your brain and nervous system to release a flood of endorphins — powerful opioid-like hormones that can help relieve depression and stress, boost your immune system, and provide pain relief. –you will not leave my presence “depressed” No Way! Not if you’re a friend of mine.

But researchers at the University of Maryland discovered something else remarkable: hearty laughter expands your blood vessels and provides heart benefits similar to those you’d get from aerobic exercise or statin drugs.1

As Dr. Michael Miller, the lead researcher, told an American Heart Association conference:

“We know that exercising, not smoking, and eating foods low in saturated fat will reduce the risk of heart disease. Perhaps regular, hearty laughter should be added to the list.”
2.   Sing a few songs (who cares if your not great at it!)- I stink at singing, but I do it anyway…even when people are watching! I just happen to like putting melody with words. It’s that Creative in me- “Oh Well”- Literally!  Lol

” I love to sing — especially in my car. Now, I’m not saying I’m good, but I have to admit, it really makes me feel good.

And there’s a reason for that:

Singing stimulates the release of feel-good hormones like endorphins and oxytocin, and reduces cortisol (the ‘stress’ hormone) — which gives you an immediate overall sense of well-being.

And those endorphins can also help you find some relief from common aches and pains. (TIP: Put on some of your favorite music and then sing along with it for a half hour or so.)”- Dr. Smith

3.  Spend time with loved ones (can be friends who love on you and you them- as some families are dysfunctional – and not in a good loving way- it’s OK!) as much as you can

… ” You see, being in a safe and familiar setting helps lower your blood pressure, which is good for your heart.

And while you’re enjoying this quality family time, grab as many hugs as you can…

Because hugging someone you care about causes your brain to release oxytocin, the ‘love hormone.’ And in addition to making you feel a stronger emotional closeness, oxytocin also helps lower your blood pressure, stress, and anxiety levels — which contribute to a healthier heart.

Well, as you can see, sometimes you can get big rewards with just a little effort. And the combined benefits you get by making all these tips part of your daily routine could add years to your life.

So if you don’t already do all three of these simple things every day, I want you to start — today.

And if you ARE doing them every day — keep up the good work! I’m proud of you!

For your health,

Cary Nelson, MD
Director of Science & Nutrition”

Told you so… Live, Love Laugh! How Healthy it is!

and you may become more successful at various endeavors overall…Go ahead,try it. It costs nothing 😉

Cheers my friends, Cheers!

Bridgette

 

Our Global Youth…

Let’s define Youth:

youth- dictionary.com  

1.

the condition of being young.
2.

the appearance, freshness, vigor, spirit, etc., characteristic of one who is young.
3.

the time of being young; early life:

His youth was spent on the farm.
4.

the period of life from puberty to the attainment of full growth; adolescence.

I work with Youth Every single day of my life and I always have. Even though I am swamped with Business Strategy work, I make sure I CONNECT™ with OUR Youth.

Because OUR Youth Matters! You don’t have to be a majority or minority to understand this. What is paramount to understand – Youth is comprised of 20-30% of our global population of seven (7) billion people. If OUR Youth is disenfranchised and underserved, our world will suffer greatly.

There is a significant disconnect relative to skill set and job readiness. We as adults must prepare them for innovation, work/life and more important, we must engage their passion. NOONE wants to spend a lifetime of struggle and unhappiness. If we do not engage OUR Youth to that extent we all lose.

I started engaging Youth at a very young age, 23 to be exact. At that age it could have easily become ALL about ‘ME’. However, I made a decision to not ignore me, but share with OUR Youth as I had learned a lot- being an old soul growing up with ten siblings (10). As such, I adopted my nephew after my mother passed away in an effort to give him a great chance and start at life. There I was 23, no mom no dad- on my own with a young son (7years old) having a ball with life! As if that weren’t enough, I began mentoring and organized a Youth Mentorship Program at the fortune 500 I worked for at that time and was very active with OUR Youth throughout a local school district in a very stable upper middle class community. I emphasize upper middle class because most think mentorship is only for the poor, disenfranchised and underserved. Not so. Youth are hurting in two parent traditional homes, Single family homes, affluent communities, poor rural communities and highly urbanized communities. The take away is, Youth and their respective diverse trajectories Matter and we should engage!

Please take a look at this:

http://www.un.org/youthenvoy/2016/08/global-youth-unemployment-rise/

The numbers and the prospective of Global Youth unemployment is daunting.

One initiative that our firm has embarked on is Smart Five Pillar Programming. The Five Pillar© program is a holistic approach to engaging youth and training in the highly specialized Technology and Entrepreneurship space. Additionally, Social and Emotional Learning, Health and Fitness and Careers is a part of the Five Pillar Program© for youth.

We have a 5K Run Walk ( EGI Thrive It takes a village) coming up June 17, 2017 and we are looking for YOU. The 5K Run Walk will benefit the Five Pillar Program©. You can sponsor Youth, donate or participate as an individual or as a team.

Register or donate at:

www.egithrive.org

I implore you to get involved. Call us or email us to find out how…You will be enlightened and amazed at your accomplishments and how grateful and kind the world can be. Together we make each other better.

Thank you and all the best,

Bridgette

 

 

Socio Economics, Political Discourse and the Disenfranchised (published article based on empirical research)

The Sociology of Economics, Political Discourse and Disenfranchisement

This article is available for $5.00 at: info@chatmalewisconsulting.com

Please email for purchase details.

Thank you,

B. Lewis EMBA

Youth Ambassadors and Global Youth Forums

 

Our firm regularly hosts Global Youth Forums. Some forums we have represented in the past included:

  • A Big Ten University
  • A Historical Black University (HBCU)
  • Corporate Global Business Forum- Youth Think Tank
  • Community Youth Business Forum- Entrepreneurship and Innovation Summit

This year we will truly go GLOBAL. We will host a Forum in Switzerland and the UK!

Additionally, we will plan to host  forums in India and Africa 2017/2018.

We are excited and look to receive valuable feedback relative to improving Global Youth Unemployment which hovers around 12-13%.

Our goal is to model new strategies that will have a global impact in right sizing skill set and employment opportunities. Further, we look to train youth to become LEADERS and the next big “Entrepreneurs” in an effort to “Make the world better one community at a time.”- EGI The Economic Growth Initiative

Cheers!

Pictured below- two Global Youth Ambassadors Tiffany and Evan

Cheers,

B. Lewis EMBA

Why MANUFACTURING in the States is imperative

While I’d like to think manufacturing is a fiduciary (held in trust) duty of The United States relative to its people and growing our economy’s GDP- it seems as though profit has become associated with greed and all it’s moral implications. None the less the American Worker has been left holding the bag of poverty, disenfranchisement and our communities are in tatters.

Please understand, I care much more about folks making a decent income in exchange for a great skill and hard work than Greed beyond Gross Profit and all it moral baggage. When did it become fashionable for companies to disengage from their respective countries and help other people in other countries make it to the middle class?

Answer: Somewhere between the 1980’s-today’s 21st Century.

Some may say:

Fat Labor Unions played a part
Rising US Labor Costs
International Trade Agreements
Lack of Skill Set
Greed
Iknow and understand some or all may have played a part in the dynamic.

I believe the simple truth is:

It is easier to take advantage of penny wages versus dollar wages and profit at a greater margin.

It is easier to not have to deal with any UNION

and besides gross profit (which is what a company should do- PROFIT) gross Greed(is not good) took a hold of our Multi-National Corporate and Banking systems and became a dis-eased pandemic! It was the Wild Wild West- kill or be killed. Everyone that participates or have participated in Greed Schemes (metaphorically speaking) have/had become amoral THUGS.

The bottom line is many communities in the US suffered and widespread use of alcohol, drugs and crime rose exponentially.

The truth-

After-which, corporations, politicians and lobbyists pounced on the media to highlight said problems of alcohol, drugs and crime as the primary problem plaguing the US. All in an effort to keep the spotlight off their egregious behavior of Greed and amoral behavior.

Remember ENRON and WorldCom?
How about Bernie Madoff
How about XEROX cooking the books?

Hmmmm…Where are they now?- In jail, struggling or dead.

I full well realize the goal of any corporation or company is to Profit.
I run a company and I believe in free enterprise and profit. I believe in the Capitalist system and democracy and I love my country. I especially understand and acknowledge- if a company does not profit, it will soon cease to exist. However, the corporation or company has a Fiduciary responsibility to not only it’s good employees that perform value add tasks for said company or corporation but there is an inherent fiduciary responsibility to the very country that facilitates and helps grow the profit. For example in layman’s terms- Cornell law states:

Fiduciary Duty
A fiduciary duty is the highest standard of care. The person who has a fiduciary duty is called the fiduciary, and the person to whom he owes the duty, is typically referred to as the principal or the beneficiary. If an individual breaches the fiduciary duties, he or she would need to account for the ill-gotten profit. His or her beneficiaries are entitled to damages, even if they suffered no harm.

Fiduciary duties exist to encourage specialization and induce people to enter into a fiduciary relationship. By imposing these duties, the law reduces the risk of abuse of a beneficiary by the fiduciary. As a result, potential beneficiaries can have greater confidence in seeking out a fiduciary.

Thus, workers here in the US (relative to manufacturing) are READY to forgive and give the best they’ve got to Manufacturers who are wiling to come back or start manufacturing on US soil again.

I have long researched (over 6years now) the feasibility and scales of economy to know, It- Manufacturing here in the US is possible. Don’t let us get caught unprepared as Manufacturers from other countries figure this out and make us look REALLY Bad economically. Our GDP must continue to grow.

Remember Japanese technology in the copier, computer and television space in the 1990’s? It took the US a long time to recover from that disaster if we have at all. If manufacturers from other countries come here to manufacture, why are US manufacturers not doing so? And don’t dare say it is lack of skill. One can no longer use that excuse.

 

Ourshutterstock_393496705 firm has developed numerous models that work.
Call us…

Let’s manufacture together.

Cheers to greater success!

Bridgette M. Lewis EMBA
630.613.7210 office
www.chatmanlewisflaggs.com