Wednesday, May 5, 2021

China Trade Imbalance Shows Why Americans Should Get Back Into Manufacturing

The U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis announced that the goods and services deficit was $74.4 billion in March marking a 57.6% increase over last year (BEA). The numbers are a stark reminder that we, and likely the rest of the world, are soaking up Chinese inventory of products with few American alternatives. Our low cost outsourcing has left some of our cupboards bare in terms of providing a formable market response. We may need to get creative with solutions and empower a mammoth group of diverse youngsters how to flap their wings so they can not only compete but thrive in the global market place. We just need an "open minded" place for them to experiment with ideas before pushing them out of the nest and into a bigger world🦅.

We talk a lot about competing with China in goods production but as of today's date we are unable to muster the political capital to do what is necessary to build an export oriented economy (It can be done!). This will likely be one of the greatest challenges of our time as different leaders ponder their options and judge the needs for compromise and solutions (See Evidence Based Decisions). As our fully mature economy walks down a very narrow rock covered path into a fresh and emergent digital world we don't want it do to so blindly and without a good sense of direction (Limited information, time, and options is when compromise and general consensus is needed so we can choose our fate together. Some politicians will seek to resolve impasse while others crave to white knuckle on principle alone. Wheat from chaff. See Leadership by Leading or Leadership by Position/Power).

Problem Solving and Compromise
in Positive Politics

At this juncture in history our nation needs politicians who have a high concern about the beneficial outcomes of all parties/stakeholders involved in national negotiations. According to the managerial grid when both negotiation parties want beneficial outcomes they will engage in problem solving activities (Blake & Mouton, 1964). When parties want only their own outcomes, and don't care much about others, they rely heavily on forcing as a strategy (Its interesting that side A pushes and then side B pushes back and the game is argued over a very narrow field of sometimes trivial differences. Few look in other directions and beyond the horizon at where unexplored opportunities lay). This is the nature of modern day politics and why we will need to change our conversational dynamics to solve problems and effectively compete in the global business game. The next generation needs well meaning problem solvers and not problem makers to adapt and master this next challenge. (See Manager's Dilemma 😵)

If you want to learn more about negotiation and the different styles/outcomes you can read Negotiation and Bargaining.

Blake, R. R., & Mouton, J. S. (1964). The managerial GRID. Houston, TX: Gulf.Steinel, W., & Harinck, F. (2020, September 28). Negotiation and Bargaining. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Psychology. Retrieved 4 May. 2021, from

Trade Deficit US China May 4th 2021 US Bureau of Economic Analysis by Dr. Murad Abel on Scribd

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

G7 Meeting-Serious Geopolitical Issues at Play

London isn't just about good tea and awesome rock music! They also also host serious discussions with world leaders at their 2021 G7 Meeting. As the first meeting in a semi-declining-sort of-except in few spots-COVID (Maybe we are almost post Covid 🤷) lockdowns, the tone seems to be a little more somber and serious. Discussions include concepts such as coordination, economic recovery, democratic values and even more high level discussions on China (See China Tech and Manufacturing Push) and Russia🕵. You may want to read U.S. Department of State's posting HERE.  (I wish they had pay-per-view or something😭)

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell Conference April 28th, 2021

Keeping up with the news as the Federal Reserve sets monetary policy. A solid description of the speech "Powell’s high-stakes bet: More jobs but only mild inflation" and some risks. In addition, you can read about potential impact of inflation on the bond markets, "Bond Market’s Inflation Bulls Get Powell Go-Ahead to Double Down".

 It appears that the Fed expects inflation to be higher than 2% for part of the year but be anchored in average around 2%. They have tools to help cool the economy if needed. Watch the video for yourself.....

Escanaba Recreation Survey-Opportunities for Tourism and Local Satisfaction

Surveys help provide feedback to administrators to make decisions that better utilize community resources for a beneficial end. Escanaba just released its 5-Year Recreation Plan Survey. You can fill it out HERE. If you live in the area and frequent amenities/activities than your input would be helpful to gain insight. On the same point, if you don't live in the area this may not be the one you want to fill out.  To capture tourist sediments might require a different kind of survey designed and administered at some point during their trip. The city may be able to reorient a few of its current activities to improving the appeal to tourists (and target tourism markets) to raise visitor satisfaction and return/spending rates.

You can read a little study on how sports and recreation influence the branding and enjoyment of the area HERE (The general principles will apply across tourism industries).

Three ways of looking at this issue are...

1. 5-Year Recreation Plan Survey

2. Visitor/Tourism Survey (One could collect amount spend, time, activities enjoyed, missed opportunities, problems, etc....)

3. Reviewing International Tourism Trends/Info (Making sure we are understanding what digital nomads and others want from the market to create greater alignment. See Delta County Digital Nomads and Delta County Adventure Venture Capitalists

Having Fun Activities for Community and Visitors:

Having fun activities that improve health moves beyond a positive lifestyle because it also impacts the appeal of the area for family/employee retention and business development. No one wants to live in a town without fun things to do (i.e. Young people moving away and qualified professions unable to be attracted and retained). There are certain occupations and businesses the city may want to attract to restock its population/small business community and the type of recreational activities offered throughout the 4 seasons that influence the city's overall appeal. 

There are two things that might be helpful to consider. 

1. Publicly show all of the activities (whether by the recreation department or not) in a single place that victors and/or locals can easily find. Robust recreational programs will need an interested base to keep them active. People love to show up to activities that have people already engaged. If people are positive and happy to see new people many of these activities will grow and diversify local activities.

2. One might also might ensure activities include teens (keep them engaged in the community) as well as adults (exercise and socializing). Some of these activities could be as simple as walking groups, biking groups, canoeing (might need to partner with a business) or other fun activities like beach volley ball. It is also possible to utilize volunteers that run these activities (Kind of like Meetup that is super popular in cities.) thereby reducing the expenses of the department and expanding the recreational reach.

3. Align activities with branding activities and coordinate with community stakeholders (i.e. marina and hotels) to create a more seamless customer service experience that leads to people returning over and over (i.e. getting businesses to promote certain key branding activities and ensuring everyone is meeting the needs). 

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Biden First Joint Session to Congress

President Biden's on jobs, wages, infrastructure, and other issues as they relate to the national economy. He discussed DARPA and its benefits in developing new technologies for national strength. We will likely as a country need to focus more on STEM and tech organizations (and clusters of organizations with different strengths/products but share aspects of development. See Developing New Industries) DARPA type projects that will push us in an upward direction using our natural American ability to thrive, strive, and overcome the challenges that are laid out before through better utilizing our best and brightest ( all demographics of our society). All political systems must strive and adapt or slowly lose their relevance (I'm not sure the constant storming stage in our leadership teams are doing us much good right now. We might need to renorm around central principles we all agree upon.)

A brief discussion on a proposed tax structure was offered. Finding the right/calibrated tax structure maximizes innovation, human capital, financial growth, supply networks, etc... will help create maximum tax revenue matched with pointed infrastructure investments that leads to more net positive tax revenue....cycle continues and becomes self-adjusting in theory. I'm not sure any country has yet found a tax structure that meets the needs of an emerging economic platform based highly in technological innovation (I think I confused myself 🤷).  Finding ways to increase tax revenue, increase business start-ups/investments, and increased jobs/wage are three metric markers readers might want to keep an eye on.(See Exploring Intellectual-Infrastructure Tax Concept.

We shouldn't forget that we also need to strength small business development for future innovation among a diverse group of motivated young entrepreneurs just waiting for a chance to compete! Large companies eat up these small companies and some small companies today might by the Ford's, IBM, etc.. of tomorrow. It must renew itself all the time like a flowing system of new business, big businesses, dying businesses, etc.... 

Entrepreneurship can also raise the status of struggling families and create a sense of pride and skills by finding finance/investment/crowdfunding in emerging industries where future opportunities lay. (Trust me poverty is a big hole that is very hard to climb out of from a financial and perspective/conditioned way.)   We might not currently have an environment where one can truly say a person's place is life is dependent on effort and performance alone (Confounding variables). Our investors might want to create investment structures/vehicles for small business in emerging markets/industries and/or development clusters to stay ahead of the game (Got to get juice from somewhere). Better to invest in places that carry essential American values than to invest in markets that see American corporations as means to an end (i.e. until they are a net detractor for their businesses/economy). (Disclosure: At this point In my life I'm a little turned off by politics so I'm looking at things from a little more objective standpoint. There is a difference between the art of influence 👍and the art of mutual destruction.🙅🚫). 

Monday, April 26, 2021

Morgan Stanley Indicates Roaring 1920's-Opportunities Rise for Pro-Social Investing

The economy is poised to grow and investors project that some of this growth could have long-term sustainability. Morgan Stanley believes we could have another roaring 20's with the right investment environment (1920's and 2020's 👷). Investors rely on complex tools to understand, manage, and predict the environment for maximum shareholder returns. Those tools help investors plug in certain company criteria and come to a more manageable short list of firms to include in their portfolios. Powering up the American economy through active and purpose driven investment can go a long way in future international competitiveness. 

Data is important for investors to best determine which companies are most likely to take advantage of market changes. Some of these algorithms can be quite complex and it would take a serious mathematician to sort of break it all down into something mentally manageable.  Despite its PhD complexity no system as of yet is 100% accurate (100% can never actually exist outside perfect form mathematical reality)! 

Its interesting that people have an impressions of investors as cold hearted, vest wearing, gold watch swinging, tall hat bearing princes/princesses of modern industry. Wealth doesn't change a person's soul and it doesn't change the dreams they had when they made their first serious investment (It might take a minute to get back there🤔? If your unaccustomed to self-reflection start slow and build your abilities over time🙊). As the hair greys and the bravado of youth wanes, prosocial interests come to the forefront. The motive to be part of something bigger than themselves tugs increasingly harder making its needs known (See Investing for Money or Morals?). Tasting the fruits of one's investment is great, but making money for a pro-social cause is of the sweetest nectar the investment world can offer; aftertaste is good too! 🧉.

Keep a look out for opportunity!

The free hand can whip up a tasty batch of solutions but without a hot oven nothing will rise (See Isolation vs. Globalization). The government can invest taxpayer money but it is the market that makes the biggest difference in the longevity of such strategies. Planted seeds of investment and innovation don't just vanish (See Innovation Diffusion and Evolutionary Economics). One draws investment through information and focused resources while the other sustains and pushes global market penetration. (See theory play Michigan Economic Solutions. )

When the right environment is created the business community can solve some pretty dicey problems. For example, if an investor toss and turns over police and protestor violence, (a heightened dispute in our American family👪) he/she may come to a practical solution that investing in advanced non-lethal weaponry lines could significantly reduce fatalities (A solution that might be helpful to police, national guard and international peace keepers. Maybe we can get Hawks and Doves to build a nest together?🤷 🕊.). I suspect officers and communities would feel a sigh of relief when a split second action/reaction isn't the final irreversible judgement. Redirecting the investment community and our politicians to the same shared vision (based on our central American values) would likely be a transformative experience for everyone involved. (See Stimulus and Ethical Econ and Pack Investing)

All civilizations
 need resources

How we as a nation attract international investment is influenced highly by socio-political stability of the country (central focus of political parties), safety and policing, corruption, infrastructure (i.e. digital networks for knowledge sharing and ports to export products), available skilled labor, technologies, education quality, patents, etc... Solving problems through our pragmatic American values and shared sense of purpose can be the vanguard to spearhead post Covid economic renaissance (See American Values & Treaties and Global Supply Chain).

We may have planted seeds in previous generations but it is up to this  new crop to break ground and reach for the sky while the sun still shines on their destiny (Inactivity increases the length of its shadow)⏳. That won't happen if the soil is dry, cracked, toxic and untilled (See Global Supply Chain Dev.) Investors have the power to change their environment through coordinated multi-industry efforts that seek the most profit and at the same time the most good for the most amount of people. Prosocial investing can transform dying American industries into new thriving market champions♘♞. Its rational economic agents that make the choices that allows our entrepreneurial gladiators (See Global Knowledge) to compete in the global arena. ( See Perpetual Sustainable Invest)

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Escanaba Town Hall April 22nd 2021-Seeking Developers and Marina Tourism Enhancements

Watching Escanaba's April 22nds, 2021 Townhall meeting. Its really a great idea to record these meetings and put them on line for different demographic interests. Governance awareness helps citizens (and others) understand the activities of town and how those activities relate to the lives of local residence. Discussion on attracting more developers and looking at the waterfront. As with other townhall meetings there are lots of small details and budgeting issues that have to be settled. Personally, I think attracting businesses/investments, alternative housing (some downtown would be great), as well as encouraging condos and apartments in city can open up the area to wider interests.  A coordinated marketing campaign can help draw developers and entrepreneurs. Great points on underutilized harbor/marina and how that might attract investment into the area. A great marina, nice park, condos, groomed beach, fun downtown and it might be a winning combination. (See Redeveloping Esky Downtown and Neuroscience Marketing Delta County and Public Information Esky Invest Capital)

Saturday, April 24, 2021

A Few Photos of Louisville Kentucky River and Paddle and Barge

Photography is an artform that almost anyone can engage in. Our cell phones can take pictures almost anywhere we are which makes them great for hiking and other on-the-go activities. I have a Canon but its clunky and big so the cell phone is usually on me at all times.   I have seen a few cell phones that can take great shots but haven't yet seen an affordable one that can take professional pixel quality photos. You can walk a few blocks from downtown to the waterfront. I think the first picture turned out well. 

These barges are pushed around by tug boats. 

Friday, April 23, 2021

Detroit Economic Club-Hot Seat: What I Learned Leading a Great American Company

Learning from leaders who have been there and done that is important for students. It can be hard to keep up with changes when your busy but spending some time thinking about some of the business changes and opening opportunities is helpful. You can learn more about the Detroit Economic Club HERE. Some great advice. Knowing what to do is easier than to know when to do it! Invest early and lose money and invest late and be too far behind the curve to capitalize on emerging technologies such as electric vehicles.