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2017
Asia Needs more Dialogue
Solutions to urban pollution may prove complex
Spread of ESGs could herald new global movement
Investing in quality education is imperative if India wants to reap demographic dividends
China needs to lead in new multi-stakeholder world
China’s B&R initiative leading a resurgence of Asia
Education is key - but long-term: Can we survive?
New wave of robots will be beneficial to all
China needs to continue with its ‘heavy lifting’
Time is right for Chinese firms to invest in Europe
Robots to the rescue for China?
Asian Multinationals are Going Global, But to Where?
China ratchets forward with energy efforts
China’s calm necessary for globalization push
Bridging managerial gaps involves trust-building
China well-placed to power its future through green technology advances
China's new 'springtime' is here
2016
China’s moves show it’s banking on the future
Mindset for action at the G20 summit will be determined by Chinese presidency
Chinese head-hunting intensifies for rare managers that can steer overseas firms
US talk of isolation jars with growing links in Europe and Asia
Electoral rhetoric on global trade not in sync with reality
Is it time to be prudent and consider austerity policies again?
What will we do if we have no oil?
Unlock talent by finding the right fit for a person
The benefits are real and tangible
Trade along China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ won’t succeed without the currency of trust
Reasons for optimism about the long term
2015
Can big oil go green and win?
Poorer Nations Could Sway Climate Talks
Combating Idleness and Deprivation
How China can be a model of food sustainability for the developing world
Kyoto II – Is it a Done Deal?
A meeting of the two largest economic powers
Why China will experience a 'soft' landing
Beware of superstitions
The Elephant and Dragon move ahead
G-7 target on fossil fuels raises many questions
Why Battle for Net Neutrality in the US Matters Globally
China’s resurgence – the ‘normal new’
Wanted: A managerial culture that embraces cultural differences
China's early education plan a smart investment in the future
The New Normal for China and India
2014
China's infrastructure push offers a sure track to better growth
US-China climate pact a good start, but not quite enough
Rethink the human’s place in the ‘digital revolution’
China springs a carbon surprise
Infrastructure - the invisible hand in full view
Dialogue vital for survival of Iraqi nation
China must nurture a new generation of beautiful minds
Great expectations in China and India
GM Cereals – The Pros and Corns
Time to be Honest about Our Energy Prospects
Weathering the Storm of Climate Change
Making a Big Decision? Beware of Your Biases
West Deserves Better Logistics Infrastructure
Digital Currencies do Represent the Future
From 'Printed' Houses to Wooden Skyscrapers
It’s time to bail out our schools, not our firms
Solution to India’s housing shortage – print new ones!
And the most promising green technologies of 2014 are ...
Transport infrastructure key to domestic, export growth
Oil stopgaps: Not worth risking
2013
Why the US should grant Edward Snowden amnesty
May we be more optimistic!
China headed for another massive social experiment?
A dialogue that worked
Yes, politicians deserve vacations - because we benefit
NPOs, NGOs invaluable as creators of dialogue
Look closer and ask: Is America reinventing itself?
Boston bombings case underlines need for dialogue
Millennium Development Goals or own goals?
As usual it's about balance - and timing - of course
Chinese strategists make right moves for growth
2012
Preparing for tomorrow
Austerity or growth?
Japan in danger of becoming 'just a place to fly over'
Beware of the business cycle?
An inconvenient truth
Limited offer sale: Buy a country
Where did our money go?
Leading from behind - a year of elections is almost over
Driving towards a green future
Waiting for springtime
Preserve or Perish
Startlingly similar Asia policy for Obama, Romney
Globalisation remains an irresistible trend
Google has the edge in smartphone war
U.S. Braces for China's Rise
Mankind’s General Scourge
The summer holidays are over and nothing has changed!
Put the hidden trillions to work
Making sense of India’s woes and wonders
Storm in a teacup!
Let’s give bad bankers a venue to admit their sins
News is about depth, not puff or velocity
Booming India, but too few toilets
Delayed Court decisions doesn't mean one may continue to play 'Great Game'
We need media to reflect on data and offer public a balanced view
Big polluters can lead in forging common purpose
The weighty issue of choosing a leader
EU-India Relations - Facing similar challenges
Educating with a goal
The Judicial Malaise
We are growing out, but not growing up
EU´s retrenchment enigma
Urbulence in the Eurozone and the effect on SMEs
Skolkovo May Help Russia to Diversify
Make things more effective
Tapping into the Commonwealth connection
Innovative models for public finance
Facebook revolution but Indian style
The feel-good factor
Asian investors - a private equity opportunity
India needs to be taller and stronger
China´s low sales volume...
Nations playing leapfrog
Shafts of sunlight
What webs we weave
As performers go to Davos, the circus steals the show
Can we control the politicians?
 
2011
Europe’s reminiscence
China firms should go for win-win in overseas ventures
Of procrastination...
Making sense of profiteering
Truth about financial mess must be laid bare
Small is also beautiful
China can help Europe with debt crisis
Excising the cancer of global corruption
Education, a critical asset
Arab uprisings set in motion forces of creative destruction
A new era of change
We must ensure better education for all
Beijing wary of bankrolling a lost cause
Asean's re-emergence as a local and global leader
Why India's Role in the Global Economy is Still Work in Progress
Its the leadership, stupid!
Reverse globalisation: The new buzzword
Look closer and ask: Is America reinventing itself?
By Frank-Jürgen Richter
Nikkei Weekly, May 27, 2013
 

When I ask if America is reinventing itself, I don't mean about everything; but I do see uplift. We see indications in better employment rates and in the "talking-up" of jobs returning to the U.S. from offshore. We see this in the up-market words of some politicians and especially of the risk managers employed in the financial arena. The Dow Jones average has surged, as have new housing starts, and GDP growth now touches 2.5%.

Of course indicators can fall as well as rise, and different markets operate in sharply differing cycles such that a shock (good or bad) makes ripples for a couple of years before settling to a new level. This was very well explained by Jay Forrester in 1968 when he discussed Industrial Dynamics, a modeling system, which pundits forget when inviting talking heads to explain a new blip in the figures.

Forrester was also influential in defining new ideas in supply chain management that even now are being invoked in the home-shoring of jobs as U.S. managers are finding that far-distant assembly is increasingly costly due to higher local wages and rising transport fuel costs. Also, there are rising costs of remote control, such as intellectual property theft and corruption, including the substitution of cheap but less effective subassemblies that benefit local management, but not the end user.

However, not all is rosy in the U.S. In 2009, Forrester wrote: "Students should start by facing the challenge of learning what they need to know in order to accomplish the project. Yet education in most schools could hardly be more different since students, when they are given a problem, usually assume they have been taught everything needed to solve the problem. How many in real-life situations find that challenges come pre-equipped with everything for a solution?" He was advocating the use of Systems Dynamics, another of his ideas, to follow through a research plan where all aspects are subject to uncertainty and different time horizons. Only some schools took up the challenge, as well as some state governors, and some CEOs.

Today, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick talks of his state's progress, an update of a speech he gave at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology five years ago. He says he knows now how to achieve significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions while simultaneously increasing energy efficiency and reducing costs. This is the win-win accruing from divergent out-of-the-box thinking akin to researching a project via Systems Dynamics.

Too often in the global financial crunch we have seen austerity plans hamper development, such as pollution controls that are restraining and unimaginative. For example: reducing speed instead of finding novel solutions that allow faster speeds using fewer resources and for less cost.

Patrick says there are many examples in his state that make him proud, and which for the second year has found it the national leader in state-level energy efficiency. His earlier plea for innovation has initiated 5,000 clean-energy firms employing 72,000 people, which clearly help the economy in many ways.

This is in accord with one of President Obama's present priorities: to make the U.S. a magnet for new jobs and manufacturing, which is something many people like to hear. But this policy must be addressed with caution as U.S. management and workers must change their attitudes greatly. It means investing in the kind of manufacturing that relies on skill, capital and advanced research. Fewer workers will be needed than in the past, and the potential for widening the wealth gap is huge, especially if more robots are used.

Offshore firms are not immune to change in this future world either. Foxconn plans to substitute a million workers at its factories in China with robots that can work 24/7. These robots will make for stronger competition, which is Foxconn's right, especially in these days of freer trade rules. Foxconn must also keep ahead of the future rapid demographic decline in China by introducing robots. The rest of the globe must make similar decisions.

Education is key

Even so, human ingenuity is needed for development, even as we use more robotics for unskilled work. I stress that it is better to raise the educational quality of all U.S. children, college and university graduates in one big swoop by getting them to think and discuss with critical creativeness.

It is prudent of Obama to allocate windfall oil and gas revenues to science, automotive and energy efficiencies as well as to bettering infrastructure. To help him, other politicians must grasp modern viewpoints and relinquish partisan policies to coordinate development without the pork-barrelling and earmarking that has diluted aid to insignificance.

Naturally, business leaders are divided - typically by their own narrow, special interests and their hostility to most regulation. Yet they maintain also an overly strong, even blind, political allegiance. Labor unions must seek broader, more ambitious strategies to accommodate creative change, even to relinquish their stranglehold on sectors like the transport industry. Times are a'changing.

It is clear to me that the U.S. is not yet ready to again drive the globe forward, but its attitudes are better attuned to this aspect than many in Europe or Asia. My U.S. venture capitalist friends hardly noticed the crash. They said: "It's happened. it's happened before! So we just get on with our jobs, championing new ventures and growing the economy."

Of course U.S. law also helps with this. In other regions, a bankruptcy can also mean prison or other stigma that are not apparent in bounce-back America. Other legislations ought to take heed and be more liberal, aiding global recovery. Watch this space carefully - America is capable of a rebound!

 

Frank-Jürgen Richter is founder and chairman of Horasis, a global visions community.


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