International Business and Globalization

To begin this research paper, the world globalization comes to mind, where in recent times, we have witnessed individuals protesting, worldwide, what they believe is an unfair disparity of the new rewards that are being reaped via the Internet, and

globalization. As an International Consultant, this author should like to assume a number of essential claims and necessities which are relevant to obligations toward developing countries, particularly to the CEO of one multinational company, which this author shall regard for purposes of this research paper as being reflective of multinational companies worldwide. To the greatest extent, the obligation at issue herein is humanistic in nature. The CEOs have certain obligations to the organizations they serve. Leadership and vision – – elastic management terms on which all of our daily lives depend – – are the most important of those obligations. And to face the challenges of the future, our definitions of leadership and vision must expand even further today and take their part among the critical skills of the CEO. It is the CEO who must take the first step in identifying the critical skills of an organization. The argument for CEO involvement is irrefutable. After all, the organizations they lead are defined by the quality of the people who comprise them. Since most CEOs fully recognize this fact, it seems prudent that they take the next step and build for the future on a more solid foundation of critical skills, from top to bottom, and in the nation’s schools.

Your company, like any other, has a cluster of critical skills. It is up to every one of you to identify these skills and use them more effectively. It is one of the most important, yet most fundamental, management decisions you will make in the new millennium (albeit the aforementioned was extracted from an article published in the 1990s). To excel in the global environment, managers must master the following critical skills: Communications; analytical (being able to take a lot of information, sort out the relevant facts, develop findings, draw conclusions, and make recommendations); production; time management; and teamwork. (Jett, 1993, Pg. 22) While the author places great emphasis upon the people, in the view of this author, this view must be taken further. That is to say, that is the have-nots of the world must be more greatly embraced for the benefit of sharing in the new pie that the Internet/global business relations has prepared. It was reported in January 2001 that the assistant clerk for Merits Briefing walked briskly down the white marble side corridor, away from the tourists and school groups to return to her mahogany desk in the windowless ground floor anteroom to the clerk’s offices in the U.S. Supreme Court building. That same weekend, Simon Billenness was preparing for “The Battle in Seattle”. The Free Burma Coalition, in which he was a key figure, was part of an unusual gathering of diverse groups planning to protest the negative effects of international trade and globalization during four days of meetings by the World Trade Organization (WTO) beginning on November 3. Joining with anarchists, environmentalists, union members and other activist organizations, these groups would seriously disrupt the Seattle meetings and do the same the following year to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) meetings in Washington, D.C. and Prague, as well as the European Union Summit in Nice. The Seattle protests would become famous for the dichotomy embodied in images of environmentalists in sea turtle costumes and unionists exchanging chants of Turtles Love Teamsters¡¨ and ¡§Teamsters Love Turtles¡¨, while masked anarchists vandalized Seattle stores. Billenness involvement with both the globalization concerns and the Massachusetts case went back many years. Several years ago, Billenness, an analyst for an asset management firm specializing in social responsible investment, attended a conference marking the end to the boycott of companies doing business in South Africa following the demise of apartheid. Billenness persuaded Massachusetts Representative Byron Rushing to adapt the Massachusetts anti-apartheid legislation to address Burma, literally substituting one country¡¦s name for the other in the new bill. The bill became law two years later, in 1996. It was the constitutionality of this bill that was at issue in the National Foreign Trade Council Case. At the same time, the Free Burma Coalition and other organizations took to the streets demanding greater accountability from international institutions, such as the WTO and IMF, and the end of an ¡§era of trade negotiations conducted by sheltered elites balancing competing commercial interests behind closed doors¡¨, the Supreme Court began wrestling with a similar problem of balancing governmental and popular interests. In trying to determine whether the Massachusetts¡¦ Burma Law was such an irritant to foreign relations that it impinged upon the federal government¡¦s foreign affairs powers or whether the state was simply exercising its rights to choose how to spend its citizens¡¦ tax revenues in the marketplace, the court, like the WTO and the IMF, grappled with a new balance between governmental interest and democracies – – a new federalism in a global era. As the Chair of the AFL-CIO International Affairs Committee declared in the wake of the Seattle protests, ¡§Globalization has reached a turning point. The future is a contested terrain of very public choices that will shape the world economy of the 21st Century.¡¨ (Fitzgerald, 2001, Pg. 11) In point of fact, this is a burning global issue. There actually exists many organizations worldwide who communicate regularly via the Internet. This is a kind of global subculture which is bound and determined to see that everyone shares in the pie, and repetitions as we have seen in other countries (keeping in mind that we are now talking about a global marketplace) including the United States, as well as an even greater litany of third world countries where the gap between the haves and have-nots is in fact a horrendous inequity of humanity, or what might be legitimately termed as ¡¥mans inhumanity to man¡¦.

To a great extent, this author would rely upon the aforementioned information to convince this CEO that he had ethical responsibilities. In the United States along, particularly over the past year, corporate responsibility has been given a tremendous amount of attention. Herein lay an analogy to the global marketplace, only in this case, there are many billions of peoples¡¦ lives at stake. I would also want to try to convince this CEO why he should be more democratic in terms of his business dealings as one member of a global business community. I believe that it is increasingly good business to be able to label oneself as ¡§globalized¡¨, a term that this author just coined but I do believe that some sort of logo can be established as a selling point and also for the good of humanity. There exists other problematic areas that could and should be addressed. Many of these are environmental in nature and affect everyone, such as global warming. The regulation of carbon dioxide emissions under the Kyoto Protocol will have severe consequences on U.S. business despite assurances by the Clinton Government, as was reported approximately six years ago (1998). The forced reduction of emissions would ravage not only the utilities but also other sectors, such as the aluminum and iron smelting, automobiles, paper and pulp, and oil refining industries. Worse, only the U.S. may suffer because other countries, particularly developing ones, such as China and Brazil may decide not to comply with the provisions of the Kyoto Protocol. They resist emissions trading and do not want their energy use curtailed to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions. Despite these, it appears that the protocol will be enforced soon enough, with the next round of talks to take place in Buenos Aires. Finds and sanctions are expected to be established there. At this point, this author should like to interject that finds and sanctions could also be inclusive of a larger global program addressing the problems associated with globalization as this author has already delineated. Champions of the Kyoto Protocol say curbing carbon emissions will ensure a safer, more prosperous future for all. But if developing countries do not go along with it, Kyoto could put the bite on U.S. GDP. ¡§We cannot understate the impact that the regulation of carbon dioxide emissions under the Kyoto Protocol will have on American business. Cutting emissions to meet Kyoto goals would devastate not only utilities, but also a whole host of other industries, including aluminum and iron smelting plants, paper and pulp manufacturers, oil refining and automobiles,¡¨ says Fred Palmer, CEO of Western Fuel Associates, a large cooperative of coal burning electric utilities. Direct energy costs are likely to soar by at least 50%. (Bailey, 1998, Pg. 8) The fact is that global warming is everyone¡¦s problem. While we are not experiencing horrific and immediate problems right now, the concern of a global warming rose early when computer climate models predicted that the Earth¡¦s temperature might rise between five and nine degrees over the next century. The long range impact for this is known by scientists, all to be completely damaging, yet, there are many unknowns, or factors for which scientists have not considered and for which this world is in no way prepared. I would try to convince this CEO that his children and his children¡¦s children will be the object of avoidance of ethical responsibility if ¡§we¡¨ all (globally) do not take more of an interest with commensurate action.

The problem, as I see it, and I would share with the CEO of the multinational corporation with whom I am speaking, is that many of the dangers we are aware of, as well as their solutions, are without teeth. We are part of a world community and to quote Senator Hillary Clinton, ¡§It takes a village¡¨. It might seem like a daunting task to ensure that eight thousand individual sales representatives of decorative gifts and accessories for the home understand and abide by their company¡¦s ethical codes, according to Joey Carter, president and CEO of Home Interiors and Gift Inc., who explained that it is a matter of incorporating the DSA codes with his company¡¦s own code of ethics. ¡§For purposes of recruiting, it is important that we take about our company¡¦s inventory buy back policy and explain our fair earnings claims, which describe realistically what someone should expect to earn for a given effort,¡¨ says Carter. This is one example of ethics in business, however, the greater problem is indeed global, and by exercising ethics, this is in fact good business, as I would try to convince the CEO with whom I am speaking. DFA¡¦s President Neil Offen, in face-to-face meetings himself, spends a lot of time promoting code of ethics and their self-regulatory aspects to government and the private sector. ¡§Right now the European Commission is looking at integrating ethical codes into law under a duty-to-trade-fairly initiative pending in Brussels,¡¨ he says. The World Federation of Direct Selling Associations, which globally represents the direct selling industry, conducts a world congress once every three years as well, with the association subsidizing travel expenses for code administrators to attend. (Schweitzer, 2003, Pg. 20) Many strong and relevant points have been made by commissions who have been acutely aware of this ever growing problem and global disparity. For example, the ILO Declaration of Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work adopted in 1998 could not be clearer: ¡§The effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining and the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation,¡¨ (ILO, 1998, Paragraph 2). Are both so central to the ILO’s Social Justice Mandate and Decent Work Agenda that they are two of the four fundamental principles which members of the ILO have a ¡§good faith obligation to respect, to promote, and to realize¡¨. On equal access to collective bargaining is a challenge to equality, and this is now a universal problem, not just something that America has known particularly in the early twenties, and technically right up to the present.

This broad view of equality draws upon the deeply egalitarian convictions that characterize the quest for social justice throughout the world of work. It also focuses on the purpose of protection against discrimination, namely to affirm the equal worth and dignity of all human beings. It seeks in ensure that equality, whose fundamental nature is recognized within the ILO’s normative universe and beyond is also a reality in working peoples’ lives. A purposive approach is required given the mandate in the ILO Constitution and in its normative system to include all workers, thereby affirming their equal worth and dignity. Unequal access to collective bargaining represents the major challenge to equality, one that the declaration calls on the ILO and its constituency to address. (Sheppard, 2003, Pg. 13) The International Labor Review is concerned with (as its namesake indicates) the international community. As has been reiterated previously, the push is on for financial and social parity for all members of the world community. To this extent, the international business community has a responsibility which, increasingly, universal organizations, those that are situated around the world, as well as the United Nations are increasingly moving towards a code of equality which will mandate the kind of economic parity that is the antithesis of globalization as has been protested (and described earlier in this research paper). Ultimately, I would tell this CEO that it is good business to get on the ground floor of being one who is aware of globalization and global parity in this now new millennium.

Bailey, Ronald, The High Cost of Kyoto Protocol on Carbon Dioxide Emissions¡¨, Chief
Executive (U.S.), 1, June, 1998, P. 8.

Fitzgerald, Peter L., Massachusetts, Burma, and The World Trade Organization: A
Commentary on Blacklisting, Federalism, and Internet in the Global Trading Era¡¨,
Cornell International Law Journal, 1, January, 2001, P. 11.

Jett, Charles C., Critical Skills and the CEO, Chief Executive (U.S.), 1, April, 1993, P. 22.

Schweitzer, Carole, Putting Teeth Into Ethical Practices: Good Behavior Starts At The Top,
Association Management, 1, January, 2003, P. 20.

Sheppard, Colleen, Collective Bargaining and Equality: Making Collections, International
Labor Review, 22, December, 2003, P. 13.