Posts Tagged ‘United States’

Are you joining the “Made for China” trend?

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

An increasing number of Western brands are launching new products, or even brands, catering to consumers in emerging markets.

Are you developing products catering to the needs and likes of well to do Chinese customers?

That’s where the money is right now, and Western brands are still favored over local ones.The combination of perceived quality with a bit of local tailoring, love or exclusivity is hence an intelligent way of finding new customers.

Products tailored to their needs and wants

Like all consumers, Chinese, Indian, Brazilian, Russian and Middle Eastern consumers are keen on products tailored to their needs, wants and desires, either for practical reasons or simply because of cultural pride.

Affluent Chinese prefer foreign brands

This phenomenon is spawned by the fact that economic and consumption power is shifting towards emerging markets. And considering that, according to McKinsey, affluent Chinese consumers prefer foreign brands to Chinese ones it’s clear that it’s worth while for Western companies to focus on Chinese customers. Add to that the fact that China’s retail sales may outstrip those of the United States already in 2016 and it makes even more sense to cater to the new Chinese middle class.

Shift to emerging markets

China’s wealthy shrugged off the recession. Actually only 8% of them changed their luxury shopping behavior in 2009 (46% of Americans and 51% of Europeans, however did) . Forty four percent of China’s wealthy instead increased their spending during the global downturn.

Global growth moving to BRIC

About 80% of global growth is likely to take place in emerging markets. The figure could go even higher if India were to facilitate imports of luxury goods. Not to mention if commodity prices go even higher which will increase wealth in Russia. So there is a need for Western companies to create both uniqueness and make consumers in emerging markets feel they belong. For companies who manage to do so, the new rich in BRICs offer a world of opportunity.

Some Made for China products

Trendwatching, one of the world’s leading trend firms have singled out some products created by Western companies for Chinese customers. Levi’s dENIZEN, a new jeans brand for Asian/Chinese customers with slimmer fits. For wealthy customers in Shanghai Dior offer very expensive Shanghai Blue Phones. Shang Xia is Hermés’ Chinese brand of ready-to-wear and decorative arts inspired by Chinese culture. When Cloé celebrated five years in China they created a limited edition of Marchi handbags to mark the occasion. The limited edition of BMW’s orange metallic M3 Tiger was very popular in China. Not least since it was released to coincide with the Chinese year of the Tiger.

Apple “Designed in California, Made for China”

In Apple’s Shanghai store staff started wearing red t-shirts with that slogan in Mandarin. A play on the words on the back of all iPhones “Designed by Apple in California, assembled in China”. And the Chinese loved it.

Introducing cheaper brands in China

Honda (Li Nian), Nissan (Venucia) and GM (Baojun) are creating and introducing less expensive cars for China since many customers in emerging markets still have less to spend than their counterparts in the West.

So have you jumped on the Made for China bandwagon yet? Or are you aiming for the Indian, Russian, Brazilian or Middle Eastern markets instead – or – as well? If so, what markets have been most successful for you? What new products have proved to be hits in the different countries? If not, can you really afford to ignore the new emerging middle classes?

(Photo: PhotoXpress – chinatiger)

Should leaders be empathetic or firm?

Sunday, May 26th, 2013

Empathetic leaders are in high demand in the US. In the Nordic countries however, where empathy is an aspect of leadership, the debate is instead if leaders have become too compassionate.

leadership, empathy, firm, tough, Harvard Business Review,

How empathetic should a leader be? Will future leaders be compassionate or firm?

Is the grass always greener on the other side?

It seems you can’t win. Isn’t it interesting that when empathetic leadership is the norm, it’s benefits are being questioned while in countries with less considerate leadership styles it’s considered ideal? Some Americans even go as far as stating that the era of empathy is upon us.

Empathy a handicap?

In the Nordic countries empathy has long been part of management. Leaders have had to be considerate, weather they wanted to or not. Now however, some Scandinavians argue that being considerate is a weakness because it makes it hard to be firm and take tough decisions.

The ideal US boss is empathetic

Harvard Business Review concluded that empathy is high currency for a leader as is softer and more compassionate leadership styles. When it comes to CEOs being considerate, understanding and sympathise with employees and their feelings is considered optimal.

If you google empathic leader and empathetic leadership you get about 6,500 hits. And in general they are about leaders needing to be more considerate. The author Daniel Pink in his book “A whole new mind” writes that in the future empathy will be crucial for success.

Scandinavia a step further?

So have Sweden and Norway with their generally speaking more empathetic leaders taken the debate a step further by questioning if it’s a handicap? Or is it a step back to question if leadership have become to considerate?

Some claim that considerate leaders worry too much and can even be negatively affected by their environment as a result. If so, does that handicap them as leaders?

It’s common sense that leadership is facilitated by compassion. But taking the current debate in Scandinavia into account, maybe empathy combined with an ability to take tough decisions when necessary is ideal?

Most leaders either adopt a persona that’s excessively tough or overly empathetic, or feared or loved, if you like. Obviously neither leadership style is ideal. Maybe a leader focusing on helping other people to achieve their full potential would be best? A happy medium is obviously the ultimate but how many leaders are both compassionate and tough?

Do you believe empathy is an asset or a handicap for a leader? Will we see more empathetic leaders in the future? If so, will the considerate trend then, like in Scandinavia, be questioned because such leaders worry too much which has a negative effect on their ability to manage? What lies ahead for leadership? Will it, like it always has and still is, be a mix of different kinds of leadership styles? Empathetic – to be or not to be – that’s the question leaders have to ask themselves. Or maybe the debate about the ideal leader has gone to far? The different debates going on in the US and Nordic countries certainly makes you wonder, doesn’t it? Maybe it’s time to accept that leaders are different and empathy works for some and not for others?

Photo: Flickr -The White House

Be yourself – instead of – parroting

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

Can’t help wondering why so many people on social media are just parroting others? Copying and pasting. And what’s worse that seems to account for part of what’s called creativity today.

A copy is never as good as the original. No parroting in the world will turn you into Marilyn Monroe. So be yourself.

What happened to creativity?

Have a section of humanity stopped being creative? Or is it just that too many people are lazy and hence just copy others? Don’t they realize that they will not impress the people they are trying to impress? Only ignorant people will buy what the parrots are doing. If you don’t have anything new to contribute, to say a discussion, don’t just re-write what someone else has already said. Coping and pasting from say, Harvard Business Review to make you look intellectual is not a great idea either. What’s wrong with saying that you agree or disagree?

Original ideas

If imitating others were just a social media phenomena it would be one thing. But unfortunately you have an abundance of people selling services online that haven’t got any ideas of their own. They just copy what others have done and charge for doing so. And we should not forget the copy and paste that’s becoming a problem in academia. A prominent European policician was recently caught having copied and pasted into his thesis.

But a copy is never as good as the original. No parroting in the world will change that. It may work short term but long term it will work against you. The European politician is a good example. He had to step down. Doubt that his future is as bright as it would have been if he hadn’t copied and pasted. Am sure he regrets what he did. But sincerely he should have thought of it before he cheated. Can’t help wondering if parrots, like him, have really stopped thinking for themselves?

Hard sell on social media

The amount of parroting on social media most likely boils down to people believing they have to sell themselves aggressively online. Can understand that to some degree. But don’t they understand that it’s obvious to others what they are doing? Am active on social media and almost every day someone re-writes what someone has already written to make it appear to be their new idea. One interesting phenomena are the people who are experts on all issues relating to all countries in the world, regardless of the fact that they have never even visited the country in question. But copying and pasting they certainly know how to do. Nobody, including myself, knows everything so what’s the point in pretending you do? People only lose respect for you.

Current buzz words leader, expert, entrepreneurial & innovative

The fact that many people believe they have to portray themselves in what they consider to be the right way is a major reason for all the parroting. Wouldn’t it be much better to have an honest look at yourself and decide what your strengths are? If you are not say, innovative, describing yourself so will work against you since you will be found out. Read in The New York Times that 70% of high school graduates in the US believe they have more than average leadership skills. Only 2% considered themselves below average. Truly wish their assessments were correct, but unfortunately 70% of them are not leaders and will never be leading anything. If this applied to the United States only, i.e. approximately 5% of the world’s population, it wouldn’t be too bad. But unfortunately it applies to the remaining 95% of mankind as well.

Use social media to portray the real you

What’s wrong with having talents that are currently not in fashion? Whatever talents you have you can create a lucrative niche for yourself. Why does everyone feel they have to portray themselves as business tycoons? Looking at profiles on social media today you easily get the impression that the majority of people in this world are on par with Warren Buffett and Bill Gates. It’s normal for children to imitate, but grown ups really should give up that habit.

Social media is a wonderful thing and I have met many fantastic people online, mainly thanks to my blog and Linkedin. If the parrots were just themselves and stopped pretending to be what they are not they would also start reaping positive benefits of social media. To start with they would gain respect. We are all unique and can contribute to society in different ways. That’s the beauty of humanity. Imagine how boring it would be if we were all parroting each other.

Photo: mseckington – Flickr

China the new Wall Street?

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

Is the centre of global finance gradually moving from Wall Street to China? Goldman's vice chairman Mark Schwartz has been sent to Beijing, the new battleground for foreign banks. China is dominating Asia IPOs and the street has decided that's where the money is. Devote 3 minutes to watching Breakingviews' Wayne Arnold and Wei Gu talk about why the focus is moving to Beijing:

When it comes to capital markets Chins today is where the US was in the late 70s. For anyone, apart from multinational companies, to raise capital is almost impossible. But then came the 80s and suddenly virtually all US companies could. China is now going through a similar transition. So for international banks being downgraded by rating agencies, such as Moody's, the timing is perfect for moving in. 

China opening up its financial markets

It started in April this year when China increased the amount of money that international fund managers can invest in China to $80bn i.e. almost tripled it.

Beijing wants to increase investment and competition in its financial and banking sector. Opening up its financial markets is a way for Beijing to build up the yuan as an alternative to the US dollar as a global reserve currency.  

Wall Street swiftly moved in

Question is how will Wall Street's presence affect China? Will the Chinese allow the kind of new innovative financial products that Wall Street come up with on a regular basis? Is it even possible that China will be the new centre for dealing in risky financial products that could be regulated in the West? Maybe the Chinese market will be more tightly regulated when it comes to protecting China as opposed to the rest of the world?

Can China, once again, re-write the rules of competing in the global economy? Will the centre of finance gradually move from New York to China? The same investment banks may still dominate and set the trends, but their branches, or head offices, in China will be in charge?

Will China avoid making the same mistakes Japan did when building a capital market? How will China's equity, bonds and derivatives markets evolve? Is the investor mix in China changing? How will new financial products be received? Will the yuan emerge as a global reserve currency? Do you believe the centre of the world of finance will long term be in China instaed of New York? 

Video:ReutersVideo

Cyber war more likely than nuclear conflict?

Sunday, February 5th, 2012

The prospect of war with Iran is headline news. But how prepared are we for cyber threats? Or worse, the prospect of cyber space turning into a nuke? Devote four minutes to listen to what a high level delegation from Europol, Israel, NATO, the EU and US has to say on cyber security:

According to a new report on cybersecurity by Security & Defence Agenda, a think tank in Brussels, Sweden, Finland and Israel are best prepared for cyber attacks. Better even than the United States, Germany and Britain, which is alarming since the latter three are more likely to be targeted than Sweden and Finland. India, Brazil and Mexico on the other hand, rank near the bottom. 

More than half the respondents believe a cyber arms race is already going on and 36% are of the opinion that cybersecurity is more important than missile defence. Nearly half said that it's as important as border securiry.

Global agreement to share information recommended

Governments and private sector companies need to cooperate better on sharing information about possible threats. The public also needs to be educated and more attention being given to secure smart phones and cloud computing.

China lagging behind

Considering how active China is reputed to be in cyber warfare, it's surprising that the report finds that they are no better equipped to defend themselves than countries like Poland and Austria. Makes you wonder if the talk about China's super elite Cyber army is exaggerated? If not, why don't they make sure they are better protected against attacks? Provided, of course that the report has the right information. 

Apparently the West is so far scrambling to bolster its capabilities as I wrote about in Cyber Warfare – hackers to the rescue? six months ago. Hackers are both a concern and possible assett when it comes to defense in cyber space. A few days ago Anonymous released a recording between the FBI and UK police discussing efforts against hackers. Once again, can't avoid thinking that it would be much better if the members of Anonymous and other such groups could give governments a helping hand. Let's face it they exist and could use their skills in beneficial ways.

US warns against Iran, China and Russia

On January 31st James Clapper, US intelligence officer told the senate that Iran is accelerating its activity in cyber space and warned that China and Russia have aggressive capabilities. Iran, Russia and China on the other hand accuse the United States of being the main agressor in cyber space. 

What's your opinion? Do you agree that an arms race is already going on in cyber space? Are Iran, China and Russia as active as we are led to believe by US intelligence and the news? Did you know that 1,000 attacks a minute take place world-wide? Is a full scale online war more likely than a nuclear conflict? Is enough being done to protect us against attacks in cyber space? What more could be done? Will it actually go as far as an online war? If so, will it paralyze the world and who will be the winner?

Video: InfoSecDefAgenda

Is Iran stronger than the West believes?

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

Tehran says it not only will, but is ready to, counter attacks from Israel and the United States. They are angry about the new sanctions and have threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz. Devote 6 minutes to watching an interesting video with Seyed Mohammad Marandi from the University of Tehran explaining how Iran looks at the current stand off:

After watching the video do you believe Iran is not only stronger, but also more of a threat, than the West wants to believe? Is Tehran capable of causing more trouble than the world needs at the moment? Do you agre with Seyed Mohammad Marandi that it's actually the United States that's being provocative? Who's actually at fault here, Iran, the US, both of them or a more complicated scenario?

With Iranian scientists being assassinated and the regime squeezed financially are they actually provoking an attack? Is it in their interest to unite Iranians against an outside enemy? Will Iran go ahead and close the Strait of Hormuz? If so, will the US attack? Is Iran capable of launching an attack on Israel? Will there be war in the Persian Gulf? What's your opinon? If an armed conflict starts will it involve the whole region? Or is the threat of closing the strait just sable rattling and the issue will be resolved peacefully? Or maybe it's all just a media hype?

Video: RTAmerica/RussiaToday – You Tube

Cyber Warfare – Hackers to the rescue?

Sunday, June 5th, 2011

In the future, a US president could consider economic sanctions, cyber-retaliation or a military strike if key US computer systems are attacked, officials said in the wake of recent attacks on the defense contractor Lockheed Martin.

Britain, China, Cyber Command, cyber warfare, defence unit 8200, France, Google, hackers, Iran, Israel, Lockheed Martin, Lulz Security, North Korea, Pentagon, Russia, Sony, Struxnet, The Center for a New American Society, The Wall Street Journal, United States

The world should follow Israel’s example and offer hackers the choice of going to prison or work for the state. It’s actually an excellent way of making use of hacker’s talents instead of them being used destructively, or worse for criminal purpose.

The Pentagon is busy drawing up a cyber defense strategy to protect America from cyber attacks from foreign nations.

Leaders in cyber warfare

The Center for a New American Society published a study claiming the United States, Britain, France, Israel, Russia and China as the leaders in cyber-war. They also believe Moscow and Beijing view cyber-attacks as an attractive option in the event of a major conflict.

Alarming isn’t it? Obviously cyber warfare is a horrendous prospect that we would all like to avoid. Somehow it doesn’t seem fair. Or maybe it’s no worse than military action? Catch is it can also be carried out by any criminal organisation wanting to say black mail a government to release one of their own from prison. Or hold a corporation at ransom.

Growing concern about the reach of hackers

Internet-based attacks on critical systems such as gas, power and water have increased around the world.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the Pentagon strategy will classify major cyber-attacks as acts of war i.e. paving the way for military retaliation. It’s intended as a warning to foes that may try to sabotage the US electricity grid, subways or pipelines, officials said.

“If you shut down our power grid, maybe we will put a missile down one of your smokestacks,” a military official told the Wall Street Journal.

Considering that China and Russia are, rightly or wrongly, considered the most likely sources of such attacks I really don’t see how the United States could take military action? Unless of course they intend to start World War III?

Governments and companies open to attacks

Sony was for the third time since April this year attacked by a group of hackers calling themselves Lulz Security. According to those hackers it was child’s play to get access to Sony’s information since it wasn’t even encrypted. And China recently, again, according to Google, hacked them from a Chinese military cyber warfare unit, to get access to US and Asian senior officials’ gmail accounts.

From what I understand most information online is easy for hackers to access which is a terrifying prospect. It actually seems that most companies have only bothered to really protect credit card details, if that. No wonder it’s easy for criminals to steal identities.

Israel knows the name of the game!

Obviously drastic measures are needed to prevent cyber wars and handle attacks if and when they happen. And unfortunately sometimes go on the offensive as well.

The most intelligent solution I have come across is the way Israel is handling the problem.

Already in the 1990s they decided to conquer cyber warfare and presented Israel’s hackers with a choice of going to prison or work for the state.

That was the start of defence unit 8200 that thousands are said to have joined since. Needless to say this smart move has given Israel an advantage in a world rapidly immersed in cross border technology attacks.

Unit 8200 is a leader in high technology warfare. It’s actually widely believe that’s where the Struxnet worm was created. If so maybe they did the world a favour?

The West scrambling to bolster its capabilities

The US has, for instance, set up Cyber Command to coordinate its ability to withstand an attack. Britain has Cyber Security Operations based at GCHQ, as well as Ministry of Defence and Cabinet Office units to guard the national infrastructure.

A new cyber warfare strategy in the US will most likely mean that Nato will have to devise its own rules or response to cyber-attacks. The alliance need to examine whether or not its principle of collective defence will apply to online warfare as well.

Iran, not least because of Struxnet, is also believed to have assembled a cyber warfare crack team. Am sure that not only Iran but North Korea and other such states are at the minimum starting to build up units that can conduct cyber attacks. So it’s high time for the rest of the world to seriously increase online safety. The time when systems for gas, electricity and water didn’t need to be protected are long gone. So the rest of the world needs to wake up and follow in Israel’s footsteps. Better late than never.

Hackers, usually learn their skills engaging in illegal activity as teenagers. However, most of them are not hardened criminals. They really have a lot to offer all countries when it comes to defence against cyber warfare, or going on the offensive against an enemy. In my opinion we should all follow in Israel’s footsteps and offer our hackers a choice of going to jail or work for the state. Do you agree with me or do you have a better idea of how we can defend ourselves against cyber attacks, and hackers in general, for that matter?

photo: José Goulão – Flickr

What would have been gained by capturing Osama bin Laden alive?

Sunday, May 8th, 2011

Can’t help wondering why two UN Human Rights watchdogs and the Archbishop of Canterbury seem to believe the world would have been a better place if “Geronimo” had been captured alive?

Osama bin Laden, raid, trial, international, terrorism, Al Queda, United States, Abbottabad, Pakistan, Navy Seals

Would it have been possible to treat Osama bin Laden the same way as any other human being and consider him innocent until proven guilty?

Would it? In theory, yes. We all agree that all human beings deserve a fair trial and should be presumed innocent until proven guilty. If it had been a minor Al Queda leader most likely he would have been captured alive. But there’s an exception to every rule, and to this one Osama bin Laden probably is.

Are you presumed innocent after repeatedly pleading guilty?

He has voluntarily declared himself guilty numerous times, not only to 9/11 but several other terrorist attacks around the world. Can he then be presumed innocent? He was even proud of what he had done and boasted about it. In fact, even encouraged his followers to kill innocent people to further his own interest.

Would he have allowed the Americans to capture him alive?

Bin Laden was an intelligent man. So clever he was able to be in hiding for at least five years in a house 500 meters from Pakistan’s military academy. Have actually been to Abbottabad and it seems to me the place was chosen since it’s next to Kashmir and India, which could have come in handy for him.

Seriously doubt a man as proud and vain as he was would have allowed himself to be captured and become a trophy for the hated Americans. He carefully created his image and I seriously doubt that’s the way he intended to end his life. In the presumable absence of a cyanide capsule, he knew that just one threatening gesture would have made the Navy Seals kill him.

Where would the trial have taken place?

Where could Osama bin Laden have been held awaiting trial? A whole army of suicide bombers would have volunteered to take revenge and thousands and thousands of innocent people would have died as a result.

Am sure the Americans decided against having the trial in the US for security reasons and he could not have been tried in the International Criminal Court in the Hague since its jurisdiction only runs from 2002. And trying him before a military commission in Guantanamo would render the validity dubious.

So where could the trial have taken place in order to please both Western civilians and adherents of Sharia law?

Who would have been prepared to work on his trial?

The prosecutor, judge and jury’s days would be numbered. They and their families would never be safe again and need to be provided with fake identities. So it would have had to be people willing to risk their lives, or die, in order to convict “Geronimo”.

And they would all have had to be men since religious fanatics like Osama bin Laden refuse to be anywhere near women who are not family. The joke in Saudi Arabia was that it was a good idea to marry such a man since he wouldn’t even look at another woman.

Why would Osama have spilled his guts?

It would definitely have been interesting if “Geronimo” had been put on trial and told the truth under oath.

But would he have done that? Definitely not. He would not have given away any information worth having. Probably instead gone on a hunger strike and done everything in his power to convey a picture of him as a martyr and further his cause as much as possible. The information gathered during the raid is probably of more interest than what he would have revealed in a trial.

Would a civilian US court have found him guilty?

If he had been found guilty he would have faced the death penalty. If so he would instead of being shot have been given a lethal injection.

But would he have been found guilty? It would have been difficult for a civilian court to reach a verdict that he was guilty beyond reasonable doubt. The fact that he, and his followers know he is and that he has actually pleaded guilty may not have been enough to reach such a verdict. A clever lawyer would probably have been able to work wonders for him.

Putting him on trial would have given Al Queda the enormous boost it needs. After all its followers are supporters of Osama bin Laden’s and not the network as such. And what would the world have gained from strengthening Al Queda?

Am against the death penalty, but when I lived in Riyadh I understood that the ways the Saudis deal with terrorist is the only way to handle such fanatics. They will never walk the streets again unless they are reformed. And they know that if they are up to no good again they will follow convicted terrorists to chop-chop square. It’s interesting to note that the Saudis are actually successful in making followers of Osama bin Laden’s see their errors and change for good.

We don’t need a revived Al Queda

Putting him on trial would have made him even more of a martyr than he already is to his followers. And Al Queda would have been strengthened. It’s bad enough that they have stated they will avenge his death. But the carnage would have been much greater if he had become a cult figure awaiting trial. Thousands and thousands of innocent people would have died as a result of giving him a fair Western trial.

Am against targeted killings. But was there really much of a choice in the case of Osama bin Laden? What do you think? Would bin Laden have allowed the Americans to capture him alive? Where could his trial have taken place? Is it likely that he would have told the truth under oath? Would he have been found guilty in a civilian US court? How many innocent people would have died as a result of trying him? Would Al Queda have been given a huge boost by a bin Laden trial? Or should he simply have been left in peace in Abbottabad planning further terrorist attacks? Would anything positive really have come out of capturing him alive? And would it have made the world a better place place for all, not just for Al Queda?

(photo: Flickr – Adam Jones, Ph.D.)

Interconnected for better or for worse?

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

Am pleased to note that Saudi Arabia and Qatar are likely to lead recovery in the Gulf. Their proactive government support and spending have been instrumental in helping banks maintain relative stability. Can’t help reflecting how interconnected the world is.

We all know how the markets work, but isn't it incredible that Saudi Arabia on the other side of the world got hit by a global crisis made in the US? Shows how interconnected the world is, doesn't it?

Understand how the markets work, but isn’t it incredible that a financial crisis made in America can even hit Saudi Arabia. Not only is the kingdom on the other side of the globe, it also has more money than any other country in the world. Actually the Gulf banking sector as a whole faced a challenging 2009 with most countries facing limited or negative GDP growth, reduced liquidity, lower business volume, and a drop in asset values, representing a significant deterioration in banks’ operating environments. Mainly because of what started far away in the United States.

We are so interconnected what happens is sometimes crazy. Another example is the Swedish currency being hit by the problems in the Euro zone, despite the fact that Sweden’s budget deficit is next to none. At the same time foreigners investors have since the beginning of the year moved $21 billion into Swedish government bonds. And let’s not forget how North Korean sable rattling negatively impact markets world-wide.

Understand perfectly well that almost anything that happens can have an impact on the financial markets. However, what happens as a result is sometimes ludicrous. Where is the logic in Kim Jong-il being allowed to have a negative impact on anything, let alone the markets, outside of North Korea? The fact that he has gives him power he shouldn’t have. What are the chances of China lining up behind Pyongyang to start World War III? But financial markets all over the world still worry about it, which only plays into the hands of the little North Korean dictator.

For global markets, the renewed military tension on the Korean peninsula apparently came at a particularly sensitive time. The threat to South Korea’s fairly big economy — its GDP is four times larger than Greece’s — adds to the markets getting the impression of a world out of control. But why? Sincerely, there have been wars throughout history and we will have wars until the end of time, unfortunately. So why do the markets have to panic because of Pyongyang threatening to start another one? It’s all out of proportions. Not least since although the South Korean economy is bigger than Greece’s, it just accounts for 1,5 percent of global GDP. Europe on the other hand contributes 22 percent.

Maybe the markets impression that the world is out of control isn’t so far fetched? I’m truly international and would like to see the whole world becoming much more global than it is. But some of the negative effects are alarming. Thankfully Wall Street will now be regulated, but if the rest of the world doesn’t follow suit they will just start handling derivatives and other high risk financial products from offices elsewhere in the world.

Just read that until a few months ago, the governments, which had responded so powerfully to the financial crisis, were a comfort to the markets. But weak and wild policies around the globe are now suddenly undermining their conviction. Simply cannot comprehend how the markets could be unaware of the huge government budget deficits? Even I was aware of that escalating problem not only in Europe but also in the United States. How come the markets closed their eyes? And on top of it they suddenly decided it was a problem which wiped a few billion off the markets.

That the Euro slides against the dollar and investors head for the safety of gold makes perfect sense. But that while the Euro goes down European shares rebound sharply doesn’t make sense. Seriously I know this is how the markets work, but it’s crazy. The markets really are out of control. Or is it the whole world?

Photo: Patrick Q – Flickr