March 23rd, 2010
In an unusually brave move for a corporation, Google has moved to stop censoring its Chinese language search engine.
For some years now, Google and other Internet search engines doing business in China had accepted censorship rules from Beijing that left Chinese computer users unable to research or know the truth about issues like the student protests in China, worker safety, industrial pollution, or the occupation of Tibet. Google decided they could no longer tolerate China’s state control, and recently took off the censorship software. Chinese users are now free to search anything they want on the Internet.
A Chinese official quoted in this morning’s Wall Street Journal said “…express our discontent and indignation to Google for its unreasonable accusations and conducts.” Meaning Google is in serious trouble in China. They will probably be kicked out of China in the near future.
Google’s move is a refreshing. It would be great if other companies would consider these issues when doing business abroad.
Founder of MadeinUSAForever.com, your source for American-Made products.
March 3rd, 2010
The Greek government debt meltdown is actually threatening to become the first domino in what could easily threaten the European Union itself.
What is causing this situation? Much like our government, Greece has continued to borrow and spend much more than it’s economy can support, with a government spending deficit exceeding 12% of their total economic output (don’t laugh as our’s is approaching 10%).
However, real life is never quite so simple – also like the USA, Greece has let it’s industry falter and close. This has led to a massive trade deficit, including a $15 to $20 billion dollar annual trade deficit with Germany alone. Like a tire needs air, an economy needs the good paying jobs that only industry can bring to the middle class.
Economies are circles and without a healthy trade balance, large government spending deficits are certain. This situation in Greece also clearly shows that low paying tourism related service jobs, along with government jobs, cannot make up for the lack of industry and healthy trade.
There is talk of a temporary bailout, led by the Germans and French, with forced government austerity measures. As Greece owes German and French banks over $170 billion, it is little wonder Europe is starting to sweat. Clearly the Germans, and to a lesser degree French have been supporting Greek government bond sales the last few months behind the scenes to stave off a complete collapse. Even with all that support, interest rates for Greek bonds are rising, and all three main Greek banks credit ratings have been downgraded by S&P, etc.
What is the plan to fix this? There is no plan. It seems the Germans and French politicians, though they think little of Greece, have decided that carrying than nation for a couple years and praying for miracle is better than that country going down on their watch.
Why should they care if Greece goes down to economic ruin? We could talk in big words about European unity, but in the end it comes down to money. That $170 billion that Greece (a nation smaller than Los Angeles) owes the Germans and French is a hard pill to swallow, but Germany also needs that trade deficit to keep it’s own workers employed. Much worse is that Greece dropping off the cliff will take the other nations who let their industry die with them – Spain, Portugal, Italy, and even Britain face the same fate. Even Germany cannot carry more than one Greece, not to mention bigger nations like Spain, etc.
These are warnings we desperately need to heed while there is still time for the USA. The government budget deficit and our trade deficit are tied to the deindustrialization of the USA, just like any other nation. Just as we could not have fought WWII without our industry, we cannot stem the tide of economic decline without it being healthy.
Founder of MadeinUSAForever.com, a source of American-made products.