By Tom Hart, Special to CNN
Editor’s note: Tom Hart is the U.S. Executive Director of The ONE Campaign. The views expressed are his own.
The annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative in New York isn’t usually the place where the bosses of big business are made to shift uncomfortably in their seats. But ONE campaign co-founder Bono seemed to do exactly that at the CGI’s opening session last week when he took on Big Oil for its opposition to more transparent deals with developing countries.
Here is the issue. Africa is a rich continent – rich in minerals, oil, and gas. Right now, big companies pay big money to countries in Africa to extract these resources – and yet so many Africans live in extreme poverty because the money goes missing. This phenomenon is so common that it has a name – the “resource curse.” But the curse is not the resources, it’s the corruption.
That is why we are backing a global initiative to compel companies to publish what they pay to governments for these resources, forcing any corruption into the daylight. When the public can see what’s being paid, they can hold their leaders accountable for how the money is used.
By Lisa Misol, Special to CNN
Editor’s note: Lisa Misol is a senior researcher on business and human rights with Human Rights Watch in New York. The views expressed are her own.
Emerging from diplomatic isolation and Western economic sanctions, Myanmar wants to be the “it” destination for foreign investors.
Last month, foreign business leaders flocked to the capital, Naypyidaw, for the World Economic Forum on East Asia, a regional version of the powerhouse gathering. Major global brands have been enticed by Myanmar’s largely untapped potential, and the momentum is still picking up: General Electric, the first American company to sign a deal after U.S. sanctions were lifted last July, formally launched its Myanmar office in late May. On June 4, Coca-Cola opened its first bottling plant in the country in 60 years, on the heels of Carlsberg and Heineken. Then, on June 27, Myanmar’s government awarded highly anticipated licenses to extend cell phone and Internet service to telecommunications firms from Norway and Qatar.
More investors are lining up. In the petroleum sector, dozens of companies from around the world reportedly bid on 30 sought-after offshore oil and natural gas fields last month. A shortlist has not been announced, but prominent American, Asian, and European oil firms are seen as likely contenders. At least 20 more fields are to be offered next.
By Bhaskar Chakravorti, Special to CNN
Editor’s note: Bhaskar Chakravorti is Senior Associate Dean of International Business and Finance and founding executive director of the Institute for Business in the Global Context at The Fletcher School at Tufts University, host of the 2012 international “Africa’s Turn?” conference. The views expressed are his own.
The countries we most obsess about from the emerging world – the so-called BRICS – met recently in Africa. Many see this as more evidence of an international scramble for the world’s greatest growth opportunity. But here in the United States, you would hardly know it. Instead, when the continent does come up in conversation, it is often in the context of “help,” conflict, misused development aid and woeful political leadership.
But we are at a turning point. The old story of Africa as the final frontier is being replaced by a new narrative: one of economic growth and opportunity. Business, policy and civil society leaders who spoke at our “Africa’s Turn?” conference last October expressed enthusiasm and cautious optimism for its future.
The U.S. perspective of needing to “help” Africa may start to look very dated as the continent experiences self-propelled growth and development led by a growing urban consumer class, enabling technologies such as wireless communications, and an emerging entrepreneurial sector.
"Fareed Zakaria GPS," Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN
Fareed speaks with Ratan Tata, who until recently ran the Tata Group – India’s largest conglomerate – about ethics in business.
When you make these determinations, and as you say, it's part of the culture at Tatas that you won't get bribes, often you weren't asked, but was it difficult to institute that among all your managers, all your chief executives, because there must have been ambitious ones who wanted to get ahead at any cost?
Yes. We have 450,000 employees and I am quite open in the statement that I can't guarantee the integrity of every one of them. What we do, when somebody breaks that code, how we deal with that person, I think, is the true index of what we will do. And when we have had a major rogue officer or director, we’ve actually prosecuted that person and the person has actually gone to jail. So, I think we have walked the talk in terms of what we have advocated, we have practiced what we have preached, as a matter of fact.
Tata Sons, the holding company that governs the entire Tata group, is two-thirds owned by charitable trusts, is that right?
Which means that two-thirds of the income that comes from this enormous industrial and services empire goes to charity.
Has that changed the way in which, you know, does that change your perspective on how and why you’re running it?
Yes, it has. First of all, you know, it runs counter to the general perception that Tatas are a family company and that the proceeds of these industrial operations go to the Tata family. It does not. The family owns about two percent, collectively, of Tata Sons. And the 60s, 65 percent that goes to charity has always been seen as a noble usage of the wealth we have created from our companies, it goes back into education, medical, elevation of poverty or rural development. So, in a manner of speaking, it has always been our driving force that what we’re doing is really for plowing it back to the people of India.
By Edward Alden, CFR
Editor's Note: Edward Alden is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. This entry of Renewing America was originally published here. The views expressed are the author’s own.
The U.S.-China Business Council’s just-released survey on the environment for U.S. companies doing business in China is far more striking for what it doesn’t say than what it does. Of the top ten problems for business in dealing with China, there is no mention of tariffs, or quotas, or even of China’s undervalued currency, which has featured so prominently in the presidential election campaign. Instead, the problems are things like licensing approvals, intellectual property theft, foreign investment restrictions, competition with state-owned enterprises, and unfair regulatory standards.
The result should not be surprising, however. In a new Renewing America working paper, Freeing the Global Market: How to Boost the Economy by Curbing Regulatory Distortions, Shanker Singham, a lawyer with extensive experience in both trade and competition law, argues that the traditional trade liberalization agenda as it has existed for more than half a century is now basically irrelevant for the challenges of trading with and investing in China and many other emerging market countries. Instead, he argues, the United States must tackle the growing array of “anticompetitive market distortions” (ACMDs) in these countries – government actions that favor a select group of domestic companies at the expense of both foreign and domestic rivals, and to the detriment of their own consumers.
By Enrico Moretti, Special to CNN
Editor’s note: Enrico Moretti is professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley, and director of the Infrastructure and Urbanization Program at the International Growth Centre (London School of Economics and Oxford University). He is the author of ‘The New Geography of Jobs.’ The views expressed are his own.
The economic map of America today does not show just one country – it shows three increasingly different countries. At one extreme are America’s brain hubs – cities like Seattle, Raleigh-Durham, Austin, Boston, New York and Washington DC – with a thriving innovation-driven economy and a labor force among the most creative and best paid on the planet. The most striking example is San Francisco, where the labor market for tech workers is the strongest it has been in a decade. At the other extreme are cities once dominated by traditional manufacturing – Detroit, Flint, Cleveland – with shrinking labor force and salaries. In the middle there is the rest of America, apparently undecided on which direction to take.
Historically, there have always been prosperous communities and struggling communities. But the difference was small until the 1980’s, and has been growing dramatically since then. In 1980, the salary of a college educated worker in Austin was lower than in Flint. Today it is 45 percent higher in Austin, and the gap keeps expanding with every passing year. The gap for workers with a high school degree is a staggering 70 percent by some estimates. It is not that workers in Austin have higher IQ than those in Flint, or work harder. The ecosystem that surrounds them is different. The mounting economic divide between American communities – arguably one of the most important developments in the history of the United States of the past half a century – is not an accident, but reflects a structural change in the American economy.
Watch the latest GPS special ‘Global Lessons: Putting America to Work,’ this Sunday at 8 p.m. ET.
By Willy Shih and Gary Pisano, Special to CNN
Editor’s note: Gary Pisano and Willy Shih are authors of the new book ‘Producing Prosperity: Why America Needs a Manufacturing Renaissance,’ and professors at Harvard Business School. The views expressed are their own.
Both U.S. presidential candidates have promised to bring back manufacturing jobs by promising new initiatives to support manufacturing. Listening to them, it would be easy to believe that growth in manufacturing will solve our unemployment problem. But if we look beyond the promises, we believe the reality will be a little harsher.
Manufacturing only employs 9 percent of our workforce, so expecting manufacturing to address our high unemployment rate is unrealistic. With any reasonable amount of productivity growth, we would have to grow manufacturing disproportionately relative to the rest of the economy in order for manufacturing to put a big dent in the employment rate. And while the offshoring of manufacturing led to the loss of many jobs, most of those jobs will not be coming back. The reason is many of those jobs were very sensitive to comparative labor rates (whether they are for lower skill assembly or more complex tasks), and as nations and regions who compete with us can offer equivalent capabilities at a lower cost, wining those factories and jobs back would require us to lower our pay rates and standard of living. We don’t want to do that.
Watch the latest GPS special ‘Global Lessons: Putting America to Work,’ this Sunday at 8 p.m. ET.
By Paul Steffens, Special to CNN
Editors Note: Professor Paul Steffens is deputy director of the Australian Centre for Entrepreneurship Research, QUT Business School, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia. The views expressed are his own.
In times of economic turmoil, new firm creation is often thought to act as an important driver of innovation and jobs. And recently released data from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) indicates that Australia is emerging as the leading developed nation in terms of entrepreneurship.
According to the latest GEM figures, with 10.5 percent of adults engaged in starting a new business, Australia sits second amongst developed nations. The United States, long seen as the bastion of free enterprise, continues to do many things right. In fact, at 12.3 percent the U.S. has the highest overall level of entrepreneurship per capita. Yet recent years have seen a dip in alternative employment opportunities in the U.S., meaning that a much larger number of new businesses are borne out of necessity. Although recovering, opportunity driven new ventures that fuel the economy declined substantially with the global economic slowdown. By comparison, Australia has far fewer necessity driven entrepreneurs.
How do you make a small business, a conglomerate or even a country competitive? Michael Porter answers that questions for CEOs and world leaders every day.
Porter is widely recognized as the world's most influential and most cited thinker on management and competitiveness. A founder of the consulting firm Monitor, he is also a professor at Harvard Business School and the author of 18 books.
Watch the entire interview, above, from Sunday's "Fareed Zakaria GPS" or download the entire show on iTunes.
By Edward Alden, CFR.org
I am rarely surprised when I go to Starbucks. The coffee is always about the same (good), and the menu of pastry items is thoroughly predictable (and not so good). But the other day, amidst the CDs and other miscellany at checkout, I noticed a small badge asking for a $5 donation. “Let’s Create JOBS forUSA” it implored, offering a snazzy red, white, and blue wristband in return.
I was taken aback. I have donated to help poor children, to end famines, to cure and prevent diseases, to help the homeless, to build bike trails, to save wild animals and wild places, and dozens of other causes. But it had never occurred to me to make a charitable contribution to “create JOBS.” Have we as a country really sunk this far? Must we now rely on charity to employ Americans? FULL POST
Editor’s Note: Dinesh Moorjani is the Founder and CEO of Hatch Labs, a mobile startup incubator creating new platforms and applications to improve mobility for the wireless generation.
By Dinesh Moorjani – Special to CNN
It’s often perceived in the business world that pursuing an MBA degree is analogous to buying career insurance, especially if you attend a top program.
What many aspiring entrepreneurs have found, however is that earning an MBA can actually momentarily slow down an upward career trajectory, considering the degree typically requires a two-year job hiatus at a full-time program.
The real benefit of this advanced degree may be the parachute it serves in times of economic distress. But for those assessing the risk vs. reward opportunity, the need to consider the likelihood of that parachute opening properly remains paramount. And perhaps the best indicator of that is how well the parachute is packed, or without the laborious analogy, how talented the individual is and how those talents are channeled toward meaningful professional endeavors. FULL POST
Editor's Note: Laura Tyson, a former chair of the U.S. President's Council of Economic Advisers, is a professor at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. For more from Rogoff, visit Project Syndicate's excellent new website or follow it on Facebook and Twitter.
By Laura Tyson, Project Syndicate
At a recent conference in Washington, DC, former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers said that US policymakers should focus on productive activities that take place in the United States and employ American workers, not on corporations that are legally registered in the US but locate production elsewhere. He cited research by former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, who, more than 20 years ago, warned that as US multinational companies shifted employment and production abroad, their interests were diverging from the country’s economic interests.
It is easy to agree with Summers and Reich that national economic policy should concentrate on US competitiveness, not on the well-being of particular companies. But their sharp distinction between the country’s economic interests and the interests of US multinational companies is misleading. FULL POST