Monday, December 5, 2016

On Trade Agreements, or Lack Thereof

How to commit cultural and financial suicide in 5 easy steps:

1) fail to prioritize relationships in SE Asia, which has the fastest growing economies in the world and a large consumer population;

2) have a consumer-driven economy that relies on foreign purchasers because your own population is only 5% of the world's and then fail to offer SE Asia favorable economic terms in exchange for greater access to its markets;

3) have a foreign policy that deliberately antagonizes over 1 billion potential consumers of a specific religion, which has over 100 million adherents in another fast-growing economy critical to your country's economic and political strategies;

4) rely on (mostly unaudited) military expenditures to project influence worldwide and to create vocational opportunities rather than relying on soft power and making such vocational opportunities available to all your K-14 attendees; and

5) underfund state and federal safety net programs, forcing reliance on borrowed monies from the very countries to which you have ceded economic expansion in SE Asia and other fast-growing economic areas.

If you're a young 'un, remember that you can get access to Hollywood movies and American products almost everywhere in the world but in a safer or more vibrant environment. Learn another language. Turn off your TV. Watch foreign films. Learn about supply chains, maritime issues, neuroscience, IP property right enforcement, water/food security, and outsourcing. The money is in Asia and the Middle East, and, except for Canada, Australia, and Germany, the future is outside the "West" for now. (Published Dec 2016.)

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