商业 | business | 상업 经济 | economics | 경제학 金融 | finance | 은행업

According to pwc the future looks uncertain

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The pwc US Trendsetter Business Outlook April – May 2012 report has one diagram that I thought was interest. You can see how quarter on quarter respondents had a higher degree about the world economy over the coming 12 months.
pwc Trendsetter Business Outlook April - May 2012
More information
pwc US Trendsetter Business Outlook April – May 2012 (PDF)

商业 | business | 상업 经济 | economics | 경제학

Will employee relations be a thing of the past?

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According to Time magazine Canon is considering moving to robot-only production for its cameras. This follows on from news stories last year that gadget manufacturer Foxconn was considering a similar move. Both are motivated by the need to reduce costs, whilst I was excited that the science fiction future of my youth seemed to be coming a step further to reality I was concerned by two things:

  • Would this move to having robot workers turn out products as bad as the Italian car manufacturer who promoted robot made cars in the late 1970s?
  • What would happen to all those PR people involved in employee relations? Would they be made redundant in the face of a drastically reduced work force, or would they be saved by a HR department revolt to banish robots ruining their own power structure?

Archived from a blog that I used write at PR Week.

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The American dream is no longer pre-eminent

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Looking at US publications this weekend one of the biggest stories was the vilification of Eduardo Saverin, co-founder of Facebook who is probably best known to people through the film The Social Network. Saverin is a Brazilian by birth who left San Paulo for Miami as a child.

Saverin left the US in 2009 and renounced his citizenship before the Facebook IPO, mostly for tax reasons, but also because his business interests are now based in Asia and Brazil. The vilification is for a number of reasons:

  • Saverin is part of the one per cent dodging taxes
  • The US ‘made’ him what he is
  • He is challenging the American Dream myth

The last point is something that I find the most interesting. I have had a number of friends who where told by investors in their start-ups that they had to move to Silicon Valley, despite the fact that they had done all the hard work outside the US – because the Silicon Valley valley sub-set of the American dream mono-myth has that tight a hold of the tech sector. It explains the hub and spoke operations of lots of businesses from Kraft to Apple since American pre-eminence and expertise is pre-ordained if you buy into the American dream.

Saverin is a high-profile version of another archetype that is developing; migration by immigrants away from the US; for exaqmple Robin Li worked in the US for Infoseek before returning to China founding Baidu and beating Google in the middle kingdom. What Li and Saverin have done, so are lots of other smart professionals who have an immigrant identity with a steady stream of people going back to Brazil, China, Hong Kong, India and Korea.

Part of this is the process of moving on from an American century to an Asian century and part of it is rejecting a challenge to a core part of what it means to be American – the American dream.

Being Irish, I have immigration in my blood, my Mum and Dad came over to the UK before I was born and I went back and forth to the home country. I have family in South Boston. What was interesting about the current financial crisis is that my young well-educated cousins have not gone to the US where they would have assistance from the wider family bedding in; but to Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Dubai. The US wasn’t seen as part of their evoked set of desirable countries.

Which got me thinking, if the American dream is no longer alluring, how should America change the message around it’s country brand?

More information
What Eduardo Saverin owes America. (Hint: Nearly everything.) – Pando Daily