Over the next two weeks, John Psarouthakis, PhD, will be conducting a research project to learn about the knowledge transfer preferences of business professionals. As a Founder and former Chairman of a fortune 500 Company, adjunct Professor at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan and publisher of businessthinker.com, please consider answering this short survey we’ve developed.
Dr. John Psarouthakis, Executive Editor of www.BusinessThinker.com, publisher of www.GavdosPress.com and Founder and former CEO, JP Industries, Inc., a Fortune 500 industrial corporation.
For details go to: http://linkd.in/1AF7El7
We have been in the midst of a fundamental and historic shift of how the economies around the world develop. With the collapse of communism, the centralized and state control model of the economy has also collapsed. Other socialist State models, i.e., Sweden, UK before Margaret Thatcher, have also collapsed. What we have now, however, imperfect it maybe, is the model of the “Free Market.”
This shift is occurring in parallel with two other sociopolitical expressions:
- Smaller government, though the last couple years this seems to have moderated quite a bit, and
- the need, indeed the demand by our society to provide assistance, protection, and distribution of economic benefits a “fair” way
What we are witnessing is a major shift on “how we can fulfill our expectations of a humanistic society” while we keep the state’s interventions and control power at minimum.
Before I deal with this question (shift) let me digress in to a bit of history . . . . After all, how can a Greek get up to talk about such matters without referring to HISTORY .
Dr. John Psarouthakis, Executive Editor of www.BusinessThnker.com, is the Founder and former CEO of JP Industries, Inc, a Fortune 500 industrial group. that acquired 28 operations in USA and western Europe before merging with T&N, a British group.
Because the content of this article is still relevant today as it was in 2009 when it was first posted we are reposting it today.
The successful mergers and acquisitions require a great deal more than just analysis of the financial statements of the candidate. Digging in deeply in the operating details and asking the right questions is a fundamental component of evaluating the candidate. A very involved and intense discussion of all aspects of the business is necessary.
The M&A team will be faced with many challenges and numerous time-critical deadlines and milestones to be met. Customers want to know what is going on, suppliers similarly. During the early stages of the integration process the board’s executive committee must closely oversee and evaluate the effectiveness of the process..
Dr. John Psarouthakis, Executive Editor, www.BusinessThinker.com and former founder and CEO of JPIndustries, Inc., a Fortune 500 industrial group.
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The preface in my book “Technology Imperative: What Jobs, Jobs, Jobs Really Means in the 21st Century”
My editor and I sat over coffee discussing several possible book projects. If pressed for a working title that day, I might have tried to jam in as much content as possible to describe the concept—something like Technology, Unemployment, Globalization and What America Must Do to Regain Prosperity, Bring Its Economy Back to Life, and Survive in the New Century. That mouthful sums up the plot (if a non-fiction commentary can be described as having a plot) I had in mind.
In truth, every time I began to explain it I became distracted by the subplot That is, these “must do” priorities for confronting and conquering an impending national crisis have failed to capture the public imagination despite dire consequences if we fail. Our politicians seem not to understand what is happening. Some ignore the clear facts, while others bark and circle like sheep dogs herding the populace toward the worst possible outcome. The daily mainstream news report has done little to help. I thought I was conveying frustration as I discussed these things, but my editor saw more and offered his own brief working title. “For the moment,” he said, “I am going to call this your ‘Angry Book’.”
Athenian Democracy was an unprecedented social experiment that prevailed over time. But how come this system go so far? And was Athenian Democracy the epitome of empowering leadership?
Laying the Ground for People Power
We all know that democracy was born in Athens. Athenians were the civilized, the philosophers, the democrats, the dreamers that built the Parthenon. The daring sailors who travelled far and wide to infect others with their ideas and… their trade (after all, money speaks louder than words). But what we might not all know is that although the golden era of Athenian Democracy was associated with the leadership of Pericles (great marketing by the way), its foundations were first laid by Cleisthenes (508 BC). He was the one who broke up the system of political power based on nobility and wealth and handed it to the common people. That – quite literally – is what democracy means: “demos” means people and “cratos” means power. So to us Greeks the People’s Republic of China, for example, translates as “People’s People’s Power”. Sounds weird to us, but we’re not judging.
Dear Colleagues, Associates, and Friends,
The last 2.5 months I had to take care some maladies that kept me very much in continuous treatment at the University of Michigan Medical Center. Now I am in full recovery mode.
The above kept me away from my computer and unfortunately I could not post articles or news, regularly, in the www.BusinessThinker.com , or in my “Dr. John’s Newsletter”.
Starting this June I will get back on my regular schedule and the above publications will be current again.
Many of you know that the Business Thinker has an archive of well over 500 of “Knowledge Transfer” business related articles that can be visited at any time free of charge as in the past.
I appreciate your continued support by visiting the above publications as many of you have done so far.
Dr. John Psarouthakis
Executive Editor and Publisher
Seeing Through the Doom and Gloom
This article was first posted in Foreign Affairs
By THOMAS CAROTHERS who is Senior Vice President for Studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. His most recent book is Development Aid Confronts Politics: The Almost Revolution.
And RICHARD YOUNGS who is is a Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He is the author of eleven books on democracy and European policy, including the new book, Europe’s Eastern Crisis: The Geopolitics of Asymmetry
In the West, it is difficult to escape the pessimism that pervades current discussions of global affairs. From Russia’s invasion of Crimea and the never-ending crises of the European Union, to the Syrian catastrophe and the rise of the Islamic State (also known as ISIS), the world appears to be tearing at the seams. Meanwhile, democracy itself appears to be unraveling—helped along by resurgent authoritarianism, weakened liberal democratic values, rising populism, and contagious illiberalism.
Democracy has unquestionably lost its global momentum. According to Freedom House, there are only a handful more electoral democracies in the world today than there were at the start of this century. Dozens of newer democracies in the developing world are struggling to put down roots, and many older democracies—including, of course, the United States—are troubled. The theory that democratic transitions naturally move in a positive direction and that established democracies don’t tumble backward no longer holds water.
The gloom has become so thick, however, that it obscures reality. A number of politicians, journalists, and analysts are overstating or oversimplifying negative trends and overlooking positive developments. They too easily cast U.S. President Donald Trump’s rise, the Brexit vote, and the mainstreaming of populism in many parts of Europe as part of an all-embracing, global counterrevolution against liberal norms. Although the state of democracy around the world is indeed very troubled, it is not uniformly dire, especially outside the West.
IDEALIZING THE PAST AND FOCUSING ON THE NEGATIVE
Today’s intensifying apprehension is infused with nostalgia for the 1990s and early 2000s as a period of strong global commitment to liberal norms. Yet even then, illiberal forces were asserting themselves. In 1997, for example, the political commentator Fareed Zakaria famously warned in Foreign Affairs of the “rise of illiberal democracy,” arguing that “half of the ‘democratizing’ countries in the world today are illiberal democracies.” Earlier that year, also in Foreign Affairs, one of the authors of this article (Thomas Carothers) gave a sober assessment of the state of global democracy, noting that “there is still sometimes good news on the democracy front . . . but a counter-movement of stagnation and retrenchment is evident.”
And even at the height of democracy’s third wave at the end of the 1990s, the Middle East remained almost entirely a democracy-free zone, the former Soviet Union was headed much more toward authoritarianism than democracy, and Africa’s widely celebrated “new leaders,” including Rwanda’s Paul Kagame and Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni, were antidemocratic strongmen. East Asia also had many well-entrenched dictatorial systems. This is not to deny that serious new challenges to democracy have arisen in recent years. But the current shift away from a supposedly idyllic “liberal moment” in the immediate post–Cold War era is a matter of degree, not kind.
Those who despair the future of democracy tend to focus on a select set of highly visible negative developments—especially the searing failure of the Arab Spring and the rise of illiberal populism in Europe and the United States. Yet in other important regions the picture is different. The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index scores for Asia and Africa show a modest improvement over the last decade. Indeed, the quality of democracy has improved in places such as Burkina Faso, Gambia, Ghana, Guatemala, the Ivory Coast, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, and Ukraine in spite of the serious problems they have faced. In Latin America, the illiberal populist wave in the early 2000s is receding. Colombia and Nepal have both brokered peace accords with rebel movements, ending decades of civil war, and have seen record numbers of citizens commit to democratic institutions and norms.
The scholars Roberto Foa and Yascha Mounk have usefully warned that “democratic deconsolidation” may be occurring in Western democracies as a result of declines in adherence to core democratic values. But as Harvard University’s Pippa Norris has noted, some opinion surveys based on broader data sets reveal that this is not a consistent pattern across Western democracies. Moreover, the current decline is not widely found outside of the West. In Africa and Latin America, public support for core democratic values has remained high and steady over the last decade. The Afrobarometer, for example, shows that over 70 percent of Africans reject nondemocratic forms of democracy. And despite the dispiriting results of the Arab Spring, the World Values Survey shows that support for democracy in the Middle East is on a gradual, upward trajectory.
After Brexit and the U.S. presidential election, some observers, such as Alfred McCoy writing in The Nation, associated Trump with a number of very different actors who present widely divergent degrees of democratic threat—such as Russian President Vladimir Putin, Dutch politician Geert Wilders, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Indonesian former presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto. But not all political parties or persons considered populist harbor equally illiberal or authoritarian tendencies. Nor are all current authoritarian trends necessarily rooted in populism.
Some authoritarian leaders who are labeled as populist may use populist flourishes, such as casting themselves as “men of the people,” but they are at most skin-deep populists—meaning they do not represent alternatives to traditional power who gain influence by mobilizing disadvantaged constituencies. Putin, for example, is often referred to by Western journalists as a populist leader. Yet he is a product of Russia’s long-standing repressive state apparatus and is profoundly wary of popular mobilization. Similarly, Egyptian President Fattah el-Sisi may employ what The New York Times referred to in 2014 as the speaking style of “a charismatic populist,” but he comes straight out of Egypt’s traditional power establishment.
That populism has a global reach is yet another exaggeration. The recent talk of a “global populist movement” sheds more heat than light on democracy’s travails. After all, populism has not made notable gains in Africa, the Middle East, or Latin America in recent years. Asia, of course, does have Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, a very clear illiberal populist, as well as India’s Modi, whose appeals to Hindu “majoritarianism” have a distinct populist tinge. But on the whole, there is no overarching populist trend in Asia. The “global populist wave” narrative implies that the world is going through a time of dizzying and uncertain change. Yet the most common problem in countries struggling to make democracy work is the entrenchment of corrupt elites who block any substantial change, resulting in the gradual atrophy of democratic norms and institutions.
Further adding to the pessimistic outlook is the tendency to interpret the rise and spread of protests as another sign of a populist epidemic. As the thinking goes, protesters are angry at their politicians, and populism feeds on such anger. In this telling, the spread of protests means the spread of populism. Writing in December 2016, for example, Sam Kim described the Korean protests against President Park Geun-hye as part of the populist wave that produced Brexit and Trump’s victory.
Large-scale protests are indeed on the rise around the world. But what is striking about them is that they have mostly sought to toss out corrupt leaders, not anoint populist demagogues. South Korea’s recent protests were about better governance and resulted in political parties from across the ideological spectrum coming together to impeach a corrupt president. The most significant protests in Guatemala’s recent history led to the ouster of a corrupt president and the start of some serious institutional reforms. The protest movements that have gathered steam in Romania over the past few years have succeeded in making anticorruption a central issue in Romanian politics.
Of course, populist leaders often turn to the streets when their backs are against the wall. During the coup attempt in Turkey last July, for example, Erdogan relied on popular mobilization to help him retain his power. Yet on the whole, the wave of protests around the world is mostly about demands for government accountability. Power holders in many countries are pushing hard against independent civil society, often trying to limit its scope. Negative though this trend is, it is a sign of the wide spread of citizen empowerment as both an idea and an organizing principle.
MISCONSTRUING THE AUTHORITARIAN SURGE
It is certainly true that various authoritarian governments have become more audacious in geopolitical pursuits outside their borders. This includes Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, involvement in Syria, and political meddling in the United States and Europe. Other examples include China’s sharper edge in the South China Sea, Iran’s heightened role in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, and Saudi Arabia’s military involvement in Yemen and Syria. Greater assertiveness by authoritarian powers has many negative implications for the future of global democracy. This does not mean, however, that authoritarianism, as a type of political regime, is succeeding.
Most authoritarian regimes struggle with profound internal challenges and weaknesses. In fact, it is precisely the difficulties authoritarian systems have in delivering goods to their citizens that often spur them to become more assertive outside their borders. Foreign adventurism can help authoritarian leaders distract their own people from their domestic failings. Putin’s inability to carry out effective economic and anticorruption reforms, combined with the devastating effect of falling oil prices on the Russian economy, has pushed him to find other ways to maintain his domestic legitimacy. Provocative actions abroad are a natural choice. Although China has sustained its economic miracle, its visible corruption and slower economic growth in recent years have forced President Xi Jinping to nurture other sources of legitimacy—a tougher foreign policy is one result.
In short, although liberal democracy is facing greater cross-border challenges from authoritarian powers, the central threat is not authoritarianism’s success as a political system but rather the instability that such regimes produce.
Undoubtedly, there is much ground for discouragement. The overall state of democracy in the world is much less healthy than predicted during the early years of democracy’s third wave. Yet a sense of perspective is needed: the past was not as bright as many seem to remember, democracy is holding steady in some regions, populism is not as global a trend as is often portrayed, and most people are more interested in accountability than illiberalism. The tendency to view global developments through the lens of antidemocratic counterrevolution provides a distorted picture. A more nuanced perspective might not dispel the gloom, but it may help prevent a lapse into disabling pessimism and, consequently, the mistake of giving up on supporting democracy as part of Western foreign policy.
We all know that if we confiscate the entire 2017 earnings of the highest earners and sent it to Washington, you would solve almost nothing in Washington. Most of us, I hope, understand furthermore that pulling the One Percent’s wealth away from the capitalist funnel that feeds our economy would be worse than solving nothing; it would be a serious problem. This plan would, on the other hand, goad the very top layer of American wealth to do everything in its power to grow the economic pie.
I first thought of the plan applying to any person or entity with taxable income of $1 million a year or more. That was partly because a million dollars is certainly a nice income—but also because it’s an easy figure with which to work in sorting out numerical concepts. A $1-million cutoff would apply to an army of CEOs and business owners, but also to several battalions of quarterbacks, pitchers, power forwards, rock guitar players, actors, and media performers or executives. Applying the plan to the entire One Percent would cover any household making roughly $506,000 and up. Maybe the plan could be modified and applied effectively to affluent but somewhat lower pay grades. I don’t know. Economists and tax experts and actuaries and mathematicians who are whizzes with algorithms—lots of people need to have a go at fine-tuning and improving what I will call here “Economic Growth Corporations.”
These Economic Growth Corporations (EGCs) would not be think tanks, or advisory panels, or bureaucracies whose public benefit can be measured only via the most imaginative statistics. EGCs would be chartered to grow the economy in fact, not in theory and not as mere demonstration projects. EGCs would jumpstart our economic engine in ways numerous schemes, from “enterprise zones” to your town’s tax-abated industrial park, have never done.
There’s good news for jobseekers; employers in southeast Michigan are hiring. From April through June, the region’s unemployment rate reached 3.8 percent—a low not seen since 2001. Yet, even with the number of job postings on an upward trend year-to-year, a stagnant labor force portends more workers will be needed to meet future employer demand in the region.
These latest findings and more are analyzed in the Q2 2017 labor market reports, compiled by the Workforce Intelligence Network for Southeast Michigan (WIN) for a 16-county area in southeast Michigan and other regions.
For the complete article please go to http://bit.ly/2zde2sk
MITECHNEWS.COM Staff writer
Consumer sentiment surged in October, reaching its highest level since the start of 2004, according to the University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers.
This was only the second time that the Sentiment Index was above 100.0 since the end of the record 1990s expansion. The October gain was due to the most favorable assessments of the financial situation of consumers since 2000, said U-M economist Richard Curtin, director of the surveys.
For the article please click on http://bit.ly/2yYtGGK