Why I (still) Think “Spotlight” Should Win Best Picture

Spotlight

Some people have asked if I am surprised that “Spotlight” was snubbed at the Golden Globes, and my answer is a resounding NO. The Golden Globes is hardly a panel of serious journalists that are attempting diligently to define excellence in film.  And as “foreigners”, they tend to better comprehend films with global themes. “The Revenant’s” story of human survival is a universal one and directed by a European director (Alejandro González Iñárritu). Both “The Big Short” and “Spotlight” focus on more specifically American stories. And my hunch is that most of the Globes critics are European Catholics who might have felt a little squeamish about honoring “Spotlight”.

Therefore, I boldly stand behind what I said in the article below back in December. A good film has an impact. It helps spread awareness of very real issues and tells untold stories to mass audiences around the globe. A truly GREAT film has the power to expose these untold stories and to inspire change. While “The Revenant” was entertaining, it’s not Best Picture material by the Academy’s standards. Leo may very well take home the Oscar for Best Actor, but let’s be serious, if he didn’t get an Oscar for his role in “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape,” he probably never will.

Click here to read why I (still) think “Spotlight” should take home Best Picture:  http://screenpicks.com/2015/12/3-reasons-spotlight-should-be-oscars-best-picture-frontrunner/

Dec. 31, 2015:

Sensational, epic, mind-blowing – these all could be used to describe Spotlight, the stellar film from writer/director Tom McCarthy. This gripping newspaper drama focuses on a small team of long-lead investigative journalists who work for a sub-sect division of the Boston Globe called Spotlight. In 2000, they began to investigate a few Catholic priests being sued for sexual misconduct towards children and ended up discovering a massive and far-reaching cycle of systematic sexual abuse that the Church routinely covered up.

Here are three reasons why Spotlight should be the frontrunner in the race for Oscar’s Best Picture:

1. It’s about good old-fashioned newspaper reporting. Director and co-writer Tom McCarthy uses his keen vision in telling an extremely important story. He justly captures the Boston environs, while highlighting just how close-knit and religious a community it really is. As the horror unravels, you’re left shaking your head in disbelief. Most importantly, however, the film expertly shows investigative journalism at its very best. Spotlight is on par with All the President’s Men in how it peels back the truth. The Academy eats that stuff up.

2. The facts will haunt you. This true story exposes that in Boston alone there were 89 active priests that were known by the Catholic Church officials and certain authority members to be molesting children. When Spotlight first published the story in 2002, it resulted in over 200 priests receiving over 1,000 public allegations of sexual abuse in the city of Boston alone. Academy voters should be appalled by the major theme running through the film: The absolute abuse of power.

3. The performances are all spot-on. While not one actor clearly stands out, besides maybe Michael Keaton as the Spotlight editor Walter “Robby” Robinson, the entire ensemble does an excellent job conveying the ways in which good newspaper journalists uncover an important story. Mark Ruffalo has the biggest voice as reporter Mike Rezendes, while Rachel McAdams and Brian d’Arcy James portray the rest of the Spotlight team with aplomb. Liev Schreiber also does a fine job as the Globe’s new editor-in-chief, who spots the story right away and puts his trust in the team to report it the right way. In supporting roles, Stanely Tucci is excellent as beleaguered lawyer Mitchell Garabedian, who represents a growing number of victims abused by the priests. His best line? “If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to abuse one.” As a whole, Spotlight‘s cast shines.

To sum it all up, McCarthy, co-writer Josh Singer and the cast deserve the utmost praise for creating this astonishing feature that shines a light on a very dark part of the Catholic Church, making it a clear frontrunner to win Best Picture.

 

 

Bonds v. Loans in this Economy: How to Borrow Right

By: Landon H. Johnson

Hong Kong Skyline from TST
Hong Kong Skyline from TST

When your company needs to borrow some extra funds to stay afloat, you are left to decide whether to issue bonds or to take out a loan. First, you need to know the difference between these two financial instruments and the markets in which they operate.

A bond is a debt instrument (basically an IOU) used by companies and governments to raise funds when necessary.  The “bond market” is a marketplace where buyers and sellers of debt meet and such transactions are processed.  The bond market refers to three types of bonds; government bonds, which are the safest bonds, followed by municipal, and then corporate (highest risk bonds). Bonds are known for their liquidity, and the fact that they are relatively, but not totally, “risk-free.” With bonds, there is always the possibility of the borrower defaulting on the debt payments.  Bonds are also sensitive to interest rates. This is because there is an inverse relationship between bond value and interest rates. The bond market is often used to indicate changes in interest rates or the shape of the “yield curve.”  Yield is the rate of return you get on the bond and the yield curve is simply the measure of the cost of funding. When prices go up, yield goes down and vice versa. According to the U.S. Treasury, currently, there are rather steep yield curve rates of 2.75- 3%, which provides added safety and return potential for the buyer of the bond.

The buyer of a bond is the lender, and the issuer of the bond is the borrower. A bond is basically when a borrower promises to pay a lender back in 10, 20, 30 years. During which time the borrower pays interest on that loan to the lender.  When the borrower is ready to pay back the lender, the bond is simply sold back to the borrower by paying them the principal investment. This is referred to as the date of maturity.  Bonds can be bought and sold very easily and they are known for their very low risk. Most bond trading occurs between brokers and big institutions. There is always a market for bonds, therefore, a general advantage of bonds is that a borrower would not have to wait 30 years for the bond to mature, and they could just sell it.

In the loan market, however, another type of credit market, the lending tends to be between banks and customers. Loans, unlike bonds, are essentially non-tradable (loans are debt that can only be bought and sold between banks and credit agencies) and both parties must stick to the contract. There is an active secondary trading market in syndicated loans. Loans can have very high and sometimes variable interest rates, which can be unappealing to borrowers.

CFO’s often view loans from banks as a last resort because of the rigorous restrictions placed on the loan, which is manufactured specifically to reduce the risk of the bank. These restrictions are called, “covenants”.  One example of a restriction is that the company may not be permitted to merge with any other companies until the loan is completely paid off. While it is true that some loans can have fixed, low-interest rates, which can be very attractive to potential borrowers, most CFO’s tend to issue bonds, or sell a debt rather than go for the more restrictive bank loan. However, high yield bonds also tend to be heavily covenanted.

So, do you want to issue bonds or take out a loan? Let’s compare and contrast. As stated above, loans can have very high-interest rates, are un-tradable, and restrictive. Interest rates are also a major concern with bonds. The interest rates play a big part in the price of the bond. If interest rates go up, the value of the bond will fall.  Businesses can normally access lower interest rates and longer-term funding in bond markets than through loans. This is, of course, because the banks want to make sure to reduce their risk as much as possible. However, Reuters reported last year that in the UK, treasurers stated that, ”Bond markets’ exposure to macroeconomic swings was often too great to merit the risk. Over five years of global financial crisis, banks have typically cut back on loans to businesses.”  Therefore, there are three key factors in your decision between bonds and loans. First, the interest rates because of how they affect the value of the bond.  Second, the state of the global economy, which as stated above, has an inverse relationship with interest rates. Third, the covenants the bank places on the loan.

Thus, if your team of economic analysts predict that the central banks are going to raise interest rates you may want to consider a loan from a bank at a fixed low-interest rate instead of issuing a bond. Now, could some “macroeconomic swings,” as the UK treasurers referred to them, increase the risk associated with the bond? Absolutely. However, currently, most economists are in agreement that while the economy does show slight signs of growth, it will most likely continue to “muddle” along, like it has been for quite some time. It is clear that faith is slowly being restored in banks and that more and more businesses are opting to get loans instead of issue bonds. However, as a responsible CFO, you must make sure that the covenants on the loan do not prohibit you from doing anything that could make your company money in the future, or more importantly cost you. For example, some restrictive covenants state that if the CEO steps down, the interest rate on the loan could increase considerably. You see how this could potentially cost you in the long- run? These restrictions sometimes add more risk to the loan. Therefore, a CFO has to be very careful to understand the exact restrictions attached to the loan. After all, they are created specifically to match the borrower’s business risks, and to reduce the risk for the bank. Bottom line, they are designed specifically in the banks best interest. Therefore, most CFO’s find these covenants to be too risky and are unsatisfied with the restrictions placed on the funds.  As a CFO, why would you want money that could prohibit you from possibly making more money?  As a general rule of thumb, bonds are suitable anytime you cannot afford to take any chances.

Nevertheless, bonds are not always safer. In loans, you know whom you are dealing with and can negotiate if there is a problem. Whereas, you never know whom your bondholders are. That’s why covenants need to be flexible because you can’t just call them up and ask them to cut you some slack. Lenders are more involved and will understand when you need flex. Bondholders will ignore you and potentially hold you for ransom if the bonds have covenants. Therefore, big companies strive for diversified financing sources. Thus, you may not want all bonds or all loans. When you issue bonds, you’ve got the money and have to pay interest. With loans, you can have a revolver of working capital facilities that allow you to draw when you need it, thereby minimizing debt service costs.  The key is to find the right mix of flexibility, maturity and interest rate.

Outside the Southern Comfort Zone: Hong Kong

By: Landon H. Johnson

On top of the world at Victoria Peak in Hong Kong
On top of the world at Victoria Peak in Hong Kong

Mark Twain once wrote that “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” Well, this past year I was given the opportunity leave my ‘little corner of the earth’ for a year to live and work in Hong Kong. And it was, without a doubt, one the most educating, culturing, and humbling experiences that I have ever had.

In the fall of 2013, I left North Carolina to travel 16 hours by plane to a place that I knew very little about and had only ever seen in pictures: Hong Kong. I was working under contract for a company based in Los Angeles, where I had lived for the previous two years, to fundraise for future projects. After a couple of medical physicals, and a lot of visa paperwork between myself, my employer, and the Hong Kong immigration offices, I was now legally allowed to reside and work in a city that I had never even read a Lonely Planet book about.

For those of you who don’t know, Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated cities in the world with a population of about seven million people. Hong Kong, in my opinion, is very similar to New York City, in the sense that due to the dense populations, everywhere you go is bound to be crowded.

Other than the crowds, one of the first things I noticed about Hong Kong was the spectacular skyline. Now, I had seen many skylines from New York to Dubai, but the Hong Kong’s is even more impressive. Also, you never need to take a taxi in Hong Kong. Hong Kong has one of the most efficient and cleanest subway systems that I have encountered. Each metro station is almost like an underground mall. There are sushi restaurants, McDonalds, bakeries, Seven-Eleven convenient stores, clothing stores, etc. You can get most anything you need underground at the subway stations in Hong Kong. I mean, they even have a Mrs. Fields Cookie bakery down there, at almost every station. Not only are the subways convenient in Hong Kong, but they are also ten times cleaner than any subway train in Los Angeles or New York. Furthermore, Hong Kong subways do not serve as ‘hang-out’ for homeless people like the subways in New York City are known to do.

Hong Kong, however clean and efficient it may be, is still a city that works! Hong Kong citizens, or “Honkies,” and the Chinese as a whole, have a strong work ethic (not to mention a booming economy). It is completely normal for people to work twelve-hour days, and at rush hours the trains and subways are completely packed. Some days, I felt like cattle being herded when I was going or coming from work. The “Honkies,” were so used to the cramped conditions that they would try anything to squeeze themselves in as the doors to the train would close, or even worse their multiple luggage-style bags, or strollers. I didn’t mind the thirty-minute train ride to work every morning because I would always have something to work on or do, but at the end of long work day, being on a cramped train for thirty-minutes was the last thing I wanted to do. And it got old really fast.

When I first got to Hong Kong, I was pleasantly surprised to see a number of westerners, and English speaking people. Actually, English is one of Hong Kong’s official languages, Cantonese being the other. In fact, sometimes when walking down the Central district in Hong Kong, which is the major financial hub on the island, it would be perfectly normal to not see any Asian people at all. However, it is important to note, that most of these Westerners were from Australia, Europe, or the United Kingdom. Upon doing research on the Westerner expats living in Hong Kong, I found that Americans made up the least percentage them. So, needless to say, I definitely got to experience what it feels like to be the minority. Being a Caucasian American, this was something that I was, well, unfamiliar with, but absolutely grateful to experience.

One major difference between Hong Kong and a quaint city such as Charlotte, North Carolina, is that it is a melting pot of many cultures. Hong Kong is revered as a “world city,” meaning that it inhibits people from all over the globe. India, Australia, Africa, Europe, you name it, and they are represented in Hong Kong. One of the things that I enjoyed most about this experience was being able to just walk down the street and hear people speaking at least three different languages. It was nothing to overhear a conversation in French, English (British dialect), or even German. It was particularly fascinating to me, being one of the only Americans, and being born and raised in a place like North Carolina where 99.9% of people speak with a “twang.”

Working in international operations, throughout my venture I had the pleasure of interacting heavily with Hong Kong natives, Chinese natives, as well as British, African, Indian and German expats. I found it so enriching to experience their perspective of Americans. For example, in my first week of work one of my British colleagues- who to this day remains one of my close friends- asked me, “Mate, you Americans just love guns, right?” I smiled in an understanding way. I see how he could draw such a generalization because all he has been exposed to is all the gun-related news stories that the international media presents to everyone outside of the US. Not to mention, the mere idea of regular citizens having access to guns is an extremely foreign concept to the UK, being that their police officers do not even carry guns.

I was also lucky enough to be abroad during America’s infamous Government Shutdown in 2013. I recall sitting in a Pub in the SoHo district one day after work enjoying a bējáu (Cantonese for beer) with another expat colleague of mine from Cairo, Egypt. We were watching a prominent news station as the anchor was discussing, with a confused look on his face, the story of the Shutdown. Obviously, the story did not make America look like the most competent country in the world, and it triggered a string of comments from the bar patrons such as, “America is so stupid,” “America is silly,” and “How can they not agree on a budget to avoid a Shutdown?” I thought about speaking up and defending my homeland, but in some situations I have found that is better to just to sit back, observe, and ultimately, to just pick your battles wisely.

Experiencing all the American stereotypes first-hand was ultra enlightening for me. The most common stereotypes that I encountered were the ideas that all Americans are ignorant (unaware and lack a multi-national conscience), obese, and arrogant. So, needless to say, the international media does not portray America in very a positive light. And many foreigners, unless they travel to the United States, may never get to encounter the real American, because the majority of US citizens do not even own passports. Thus, people abroad assume that all Americans act like the cast of the Jersey Shore, or Larry the Cable Guy, casually yelling, “Get-r-done” at every opportune moment. In fact, according to a recent study done by the State Department, only 46% of Americans actually have passports, and only 30% of the of North Carolina residents have passports. This is not a testament to our intelligence, and I encourage everyone to go get a passport, and to make plans to use it!

I returned to North Carolina this past summer a more humbled and enlightened man. I have a newfound appreciation for my personal space, international travel, and have developed more of a multi-national awareness. I no longer take a train to or from work, nor am exposed to exotic cultures, languages, and traditions on a daily basis. I am back to eating egg whites and orange juice for breakfast instead of the delectable dim sum and authentic jasmine tea. Sushi is little more expensive but the air is cleaner. And from the people that I encountered on my journey, whom I now refer to as “teachers,” to the sites that I saw, and the experiences I had- I will forever be enriched and grateful.

“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” –T. S. Elliott

View of Hong Kong Island from Kowloon
View of Hong Kong Island from Kowloon
View from the Ritz Carlton Hong Kong
View from the Ritz Carlton Hong Kong
Hong Kong Skyline from TST
Hong Kong Skyline from TST
Hong Kong Skyline at Night
Hong Kong Skyline at Night

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For the published version of this article please see: Triad City Beat – A North Carolina Publication

Follow me on Instagram: @landonhjohnson

The Future of the Global Economy and How Americans Can Prepare For It

Initially, after reading several articles on the downward spiral of America’s economy, (i.e. the debt ceiling issues, unemployment, decreasing capital) and watching countless YouTube speeches on how “America is not the greatest country in the world anymore,” (that of course, being a direct quote spoken by actor, Jeff Daniels, on HBO’s, “The Newsroom”) I wanted to further investigate these claims.  I have read the data about how America’s budget is screwed up (too much unnecessary spending) and opinions on how Americans lack empathy and a multi-national conscience. Which, I admit, there may be some truth to it, but we will get to that later. Even with all of America’s fiscal problems my initial arrogant reaction was that China’s classless culture (my opinion, not fact) could NEVER take the place of, or even join America as a dominant world power. However, after spending time in Hong Kong and in China, I have found that my initial reaction was in fact, arrogant and ignorant.

One would have to be blind to not see the flow of capital quickly leaving the Western World and heading to the East. China is already pretty much producing all our goods and soon (approx. 10-20 years) they will not need to import from the Western World at all, and will be completely self-sufficient. Good for them, right? But, what will become of the Western World’s economy when this comes to pass?

First of all, its funny to think that 10 years ago in, Shenzhen, a major City in China, people couldn’t even figure out how to use traffic lights and now, this highly traditional and not so refined society (from my observation and in my western point of view of course) are buying exotic cars and according to Bloomberg, replacing Japan as a global superpower. Now, China’s economy is particularly interesting to me because in my lifetime, I have never seen a country’s economy grow so fast and most likely never will again. So, assuming that this growth continues, which evidence suggests that it will, what will the next 10 years of the global economy be like? Can the Western World and the United States survive economically? How can we adapt, or stop this in order to preserve our way life and maintain our status as the most powerful and wealthiest country in the world?

Let’s take a look at the facts because we all know that people are fallible, meaning that people lie. Though, lucky for us realists and truth-seekers, numbers do not.  First, let’s compare China’s GDP data with America’s. Currently, according to The World Bank, USA GDP is $15.68 trillion with a GDP growth rate of 2.2% annual change. Now, compare that number to China’s GDP which is $8.2 trillion, still not more than America’s. So, we are good, right? WRONG! They have a GDP growth rate of 7.8%! (Which is almost 4 times our economic growth rate.) Furthermore, China is now investing in more sustainable transportation such as subways and trains, which they manufacture entirely by themselves, therefore, in the very near future improving mobility. Thus, jobs will be booming even more so, and with it, the nation’s economy.

China has also recently purchased a lot of land in Africa. Which is, also, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, gaining popularity amongst travelers as a destination, and is expected to rise drastically in the future as a popular tourist destination. The land will also be used for farming and agricultural purposes. And like the great American writer, Mark Twain, once stated, “buy land they aren’t making it anymore.”

I also feel it is important to discuss the differences between Hong Kong and China. Yes, there is a big difference between Mainland China and Hong Kong. What you ask? Well, for years now Mainland China people have viewed manners, or etiquette, as we know it in the Western World, as pointless and unnecessary. For example, a Mainland Chinaman is likely to spit on the street 3 inches from your feet. Whereas, a Hong Kong Citizen, or a “Honkie,” would have a bit more class than to perform such an act. “The Honkies” actually take pride in saying that they are not “Mainlanders,” being that Hong Kong is known as a much more socially advanced, educated, and classy society. In fact, Hong Kong University is even labeled as one of the top schools in the world. (No, not just Asia, the entire world.) However, since China now owns Hong Kong (because the British gave it back to them about 20 years ago, and let Hong Kong stand alone as a colony/country and the economy flourished. Weird how that happens, I guess Adam Smith was right about that whole “Laissez-faire” theory) one can easily see that the “Honkie way” is making its way into Mainland China.  The Mainlanders are getting more educated and they are learning manners. Not so much by choice, but by force. (But, whatever works, right?) The Chinese Government has actually gone as far as issuing a handbook instructing the Chinese citizens how to act when traveling abroad because there have been so many negative complaints (via the media of course) about their egalitarian behavior. Note, that 20 years ago, it was the Americans with the peaking 90’s economy, who were pissing off the locals of popular tourist destinations in Europe with their behavior. But, today, since China’s economy is doing so good, this increase in disposable income to its citizens has naturally led to more Mainland Chinese people venturing out to see the world. In fact, according to the UNWTO, “China became the number one source market in the world in 2012, spending $102 billion US on international tourism.” The organization also stated that because of, “rising disposable incomes, a relaxation of restrictions on foreign travel and an appreciating currency, Chinese tourism spending has increased almost eightfold in 12 years” (up from $13 billion US in 2000). Conversely, according to the UNWTO, American international travel and tourism are down 7%. In fact, the UNWTO confirms that “In 2005, China ranked seventh in international tourism expenditure, and has since overtaken Italy, Japan, France and the United Kingdom.  Additionally, with the 2012 “surge,” China jumped to first place in international tourism expenditure, passing both long-time top spender, Germany ($84 billion) and second largest spender, The U.S. ($ 83 billion). (Which are now 2nd and 3rd in the ranking.) The United Kingdom ($ 52 billion) remains 4th.

Not to mention, the UNWTO also predicts that, by region, the strongest growth will be seen in Asia, where arrivals are forecast to increase by “331 million to reach 535 million in 2030 (+4.9% per year).”  Thus, by 2015, the “total Chinese spending abroad will exceed total global luxury sales, having been only one-third of the total in 2008” (UNWTO). (My how the mighty have fallen.)

But, to get back on point, as I stated above, before I came to Asia, I could not see China replacing America as a global superpower. However, I had to look at China’s economic development logically and not emotionally, or arrogantly.  I also had to acknowledge the fact that sustainability, pollution, and overall quality of life is a BIG problem in China, and without innovation, could potentially slow economic growth in the future.  In fact, according to the Beijing Health Bureau, lung cancer is at an all-time high, and the life expectancy in China, itself, is only about 50 years. This is directly caused by the poor quality of life, mainly pollution. So, I asked myself “How could an economy with such pollution and lack of long-term sustainability thrive?” Then, it occurred to me, as the poor in China begin to get more educated, and earn a higher income they will soon DEMAND a better quality of life. I mean that’s what happens, isn’t it? Poor people have no clout to complain therefore they don’t feel that they can, and are forced to conform and do what they are told to keep the status quo.  However, with this shift in global capital from the West to the East, the Chinese society is quickly getting richer. One can already observe this in the way their society is mocking trends of Western society, and with money also comes higher demands. Consumerism has told them that it is “cool” to buy and wear Louis Vuitton, so they do, because that’s what the media says rich people do, right? Pretty soon they may even start maxing out their credit cards on fashionable material items they cannot afford. (Sound familiar, America? Cough. Cough.) In 10 years time, not only will China have a strong control of their wealth and economy, but their education and work ethic will also be driving forces for a thriving future economy.

Children in kindergarten in China and Hong Kong are already learning 3 languages: Mandarin, Cantonese, and English.  Note, that there are approx. 40,000 characters in the Chinese language and the people tend to learn about 5,000-6,000 of them for everyday use. Compare that to the Western World where we learn an alphabet of 26 letters; they learn one of 40,000.  Therefore, as the Chinese society progresses and each generation become wealthier and more educated, the once super poor Chinese factory or rice field workers will evolve into the new comfortable middle-class.  Once this happens, again in approx. 10 years time, the Chinese will be extremely educated “super minds.”

So what can we, in the U.S. and Western World, do to retain power, or possibly slow down the growth of China? Or do we really want to? Well, honestly, the answers are, “nothing,” and “no, not really.”

As stated previously, China produces everything, from dollar goods to our technical devices that we rely on in our day-to-day lives, and this just continues to increase.  We could stop having them produce our gadgets, but that wouldn’t be very economical being that if we did produce in America, the retail product price for the consumer would go up dramatically just to cover production costs. However, it is important to note, that China is slowly becoming uncompetitive for manufacturing and production. With that being said, if it gets too expensive for production there we could always start looking for other countries to produce in.

So, is the Western world just screwed? My answer, “No, of course not!”  The data does show that China’s economy WILL, in fact, be equal, if not bigger, than America’s in the next 10- 20 years. In fact, The Economist Intelligence Unit predicts that China’s economy will be as big as America’s by 2016. (America, it is time to WAKE-UP!)

However, while there are definitely negative aspects of China’s economic growth, there are also a few positives too. One negative aspect would obviously be our lack of control due to lack of capital. (Oh No! Could Rome fall? Oh No! Not Change!)  Nevertheless, there are major benefits to their growth as well. Such as, once they become a superpower, U.S. firms will have to invest more in research and development in order to compete, thus improving the quality of goods and services, which is good for the consumer, You and I.  Just as, Art Blakemore, a moderator for the China Global Trade, wrote, “the growth of China does not require or even imply the decline of the U.S….. In the end: China is richer. The U.S. is richer.”

There is, however, one monumental thing we can do to prepare for what the future holds. We can adapt. How can we adapt? We can learn their language. (Yes, you read right.) We can learn Mandarin!  We can create a truly win-win trade situation for both economies and a “comparative advantage,” as economists refer to it. There is plenty of capital for everyone to have a piece of the pie. Working together with these “superminds” will make a brighter economic future for the entire globe. Communication is key in any business and learning their language is crucial to the future success of our Western economy. In short, language can be the bridge that connects these two great empires. (Two minds are better than one, right?)  Furthermore, recruiters at big banking institutions have already stated that candidates whom can speak multiple languages, especially Mandarin, are put at the top of the “hire list.” In my opinion, the Western World has been spoiled because we have never really had the need to learn another language. However, in today’s competitive job market, being multi-lingual is not only an asset, but also an absolute necessity, and will better prepare business professionals for what the future global economy holds. This also means we need to start teaching Mandarin to children at a young age, and it becoming as common as Spanish and French in a Western classroom.

So in conclusion, to my first blog post,  China produces everything and soon (10-20 years) may no longer need the Western World for anything, then what? The Western World must drop the ego and learn their language, and while doing so, try to develop more of a multi-national conscience, and awareness. We must, in order for our economy to survive and thrive, view the world and the global economy with just that, a GLOBAL point of view instead of a Nationalist point of view.