Thursday, September 18, 2008

Free MPRE course for law students

For all you law students out there who have yet to take the multistate professional responsibility exam (MPRE), KaplanPMBR is offering a free online course here. 
The course is listed on their website as having a value of $199, but is offered for free for November MPRE test takers for "a limited time."
Of course, you gotta know the rules of the game to practice, so you might as well get it out of the way now.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Defining Global Integration...and this blog

A few of you guys have asked me: "Exactly what is the focus of this blog and exactly what is "global integration"?


Excellent question.


Global integration is the growing field that deals primarily with helping people, organizations, nations and even civilizations adjust to life in a new "world economy."  


Let me give you a simple example:


Tire company "T" in Detroit, Michigan hires a team of web-designers "W" in Bangalore, India to design their website for $7,000 paid in two installments.  After two weeks, the website is completed but T, unhappy with the website's appearance refuses to pay the second installment. 


What is W's recourse? 


If the two companies have not entered into an international arbitration agreement, W would be forced to take legal action in either American State or Federal Court.  The cost to W of hiring an attorney to file a lawsuit on their behalf and pursuing the claim would be extremely burdensome and most likely not worth the trouble to gain the payment. 


The above example involves business, law and even language elements.  If we add a small wrinkle into the above example and change the client "T" from a tire company to "S" a branch of the State Department, it is easy to see how politics could be involved as well.


This is a global integration issue.  I wrote about another very interesting integration issue last week that further illustrates the nature of these issues. 


With the outsourcing movement gaining ground with medium and even small businesses, the need for a sturdy system to deal with these issues is becoming more apparent.  Is this "system" primarily legal, business, diplomatic?  I don't know but I'm willing to find out with you guys.  Think the above mentioned hypothetical is unlikely or rare?  Check out Thomas Friedman's NY Times Best Seller The World is Flat, or websites such as: Brickwork India, Elance, or RentACoder which are completely devoted linking up clients and freelancers for all different types of projects, wherever they may be physically located. 


This blog attempts to address integration in its entirety, thus it includes subjects dealing with: law, business, politics, language/culture, and issues dealing with advocacy and philanthropy.  I intend to identify and discuss the most pressing and cutting edge integration issues.  Furthermore, this blog is designed for the people that will rise to careers devoted to helping solve these integration issues—the new generation of "global integrators" and that is why there are postings devoted to self-improvement, continuing education and such. 

Monday, September 15, 2008

Emerging Airline integration Issue

A bit of old but important news that has yet to catch on:


The European Commission (of the European Union) decided upon an emissions trading scheme (ETS) to help curb greenhouse emissions--specifically carbon dioxide (C02) back in 2003.  Although this has been in effect for some time now, the EU is nearing a deadline for airlines to join the scheme as well. 


Simple version of how it works:


Countries are given a specific number of credits, each of which "allows" a large polluter such as factories or power-plants to emit a certain number of tons of CO2 into the atmosphere each year.


The countries are distributing these credits to their largest polluters.  Polluters going over the limit allowed by their credits are penalized severely.  Polluters that stay under the limit can "trade" the credits to the other polluters that are in danger of going over the limit thus creating a free-trade market for the credits. 


A more intricate explanation can be found here on Wikipedia. 


 Non-EU Airlines to be included in 2012:


The EU-ETS has not yet been applied to airlines but the scheme will apply to European Union airlines by 2011 and then to all other carriers touching down within EU member states by 2012, including American-based airlines. 


Obviously, adhering to the EU-ETS is extremely burdensome and costly for any airlines that are subjected to it.  Predictably, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has spoken against the demand, asserting that the EU's insistence on including American Airlines in the ETS is a violation of international trade agreements.   


Why it matters:


For all you global integrators out there, this is a fantastic example of a fundamental global integration issue that we are seeing with our rapid increase of international business.  The EU is attempting to enforce a policy for a global problem based on the current (but fast becoming "old") system of land-based sovereignty.


Near-Future Implications:


This has already raised a huge concern with American airlines that are balking at the enormous added burden and cost of conforming to the EU-ETS. 


I anticipate that this is going to become a huge issue that will entail an entire new industry emerging to address it.  The industry will break into sub-categories:


1.  A renewed engineering vigor for producing aircrafts with lower CO2 emissions.

2. A brand new legal field devoted to issues of applicability of EU Directives and law to business based outside the EU but having operations within the EU. 

3.  A field of specialists with legal, business and diplomatic elements springing up to help make this transition without any major strain on free-trade agreements. 


This is a huge example of the new conditions necessitating the new field of global integration to help settle these issues in an amicable and efficient manner.  This field is exciting and brand spanking new for anyone that wants to dive in.  I will definitely be posting more on this later.    


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Great Resource for Law Students

I have found a fantastic blog for legal writing competitions that I wanted to share with you guys.
I am a huge fan of legal writing competitions as I believe they are a fantastic way for law students to:
1.  Put their legal educations to work before graduation.
2.  Build their brand-names and network.
3.  Earn some extra money and have fun domestic or even international travel opportunities (to present winning papers).
Great opportunity for young global integrators to get started ASAP.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Benjamin Graham's "Security Analysis"

I just finished scanning Security Analysis by the Dean of Wall Street.  Now you might be thinking "scanning?" but let me tell you this is a monster of a book-somewhat dense and complicated and I'm mighty proud of having scanned the whole thing in 2 months time. 
The book has been a great continuation in my studies of value based investing.  Just as a reminder, Warren Buffet credits value based investing for the success of Berkshire Hathaway and whenever asked about how to become a successful investor, his answer remains the same--Read Benjamin Graham! 
I wonder now how Graham would determine value in the more globalized economy we work in today.  Would looking at balance sheets still be enough?  I will keep this in mind as I continue on to The Intelligent Investor
As always I'll keep you guys updated! 

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Globalization side effects.....Global integration!

Has anybody really thought about how the newest wave of information and communication technology is going to transform the way we do business?
Sure, Thomas Friedman wrote about it in The World Is Flat but did he get it right, and more importantly is anybody listening?
The idea I get is that Friedman's work was popular because it was fascinating and intriguing but primarily in an entertainment sense.
Every day I am seeing more evidence of this incredible shift and I'm stunned every time that we are NOT hearing about this all over the place.
This is what I see as happening right now:
1.  There will no longer be "international" business, but rather just business.  We (as business owners) are increasingly competing against everyone now, from down the street to across the world. 
2.  There is not yet a reliable, non-porous legal solution for this new way of doing business.  If you have employees, clients and countries in 20 different countries, where/how will you resolve a dispute?  This leads me to...
3.  There has to be an increase in international arbitration agreements/organizations or an equivalent that can do the job of assuring a safe, cost-effective system for resolving international disputes.  My guess is that the WTO is best poised to take leadership in this role.  Get ready for organizations that were formerly seen as toothless to grow some teeth.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

LA Sparks Game

I went to an LA Sparks Game last night with my "Little" brother, as part of an event with the Big Brothers Big Sisters Los Angeles (BBBS). 
It was great fun--we got to run drills with former UCLA men's basketball coach Steve Lavin, had dinner at the Staples Center and we got great tickets, 5 rows from the court. 
We also peeped actor Jack Black and Sacramento Kings player Sheldon Williams at the game--it was a great time and of course all the kids were having a blast.
Reminds me of how much good we could do if everyone made it part of their routine to mentor a child. 
Rock on BBBS!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Doha Disaster?

No agreement on 2 out of 20 items.  It looks like India and China are starting to wield some of their newfound economic might. 
The WTO needs to encourage countries to set up a "transition" fund for its people that will be disadvantaged by opening markets (more), encourage them to move to something else that makes more sense and let er rip! 

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Funny cartoon explaining subprime mortgage crash

I literally laughed out loud when I read this.

When I was working at Hollywood Realty, Jeff used to tell me about how most people were lying about their "stated" incomes on their loan applications. This cartoon explains it beautifully.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Int'l Business is becoming just "Business"

To some of you, this may seem obvious:

"International trade" is becoming just "trade." There is a lot of talk about the new global market, and when the conversation continues from there, the topics I usually hear discussed are:

1. Loss/Metamorphosis of cultures
2. Increased competition
3. Rise of so and so country because of globalizing forces (usually China or India)

That's not all though!

I suspect that there will be some other emerging trends that will pick up speed. I have not heard much about these:

1. International NGOs will rise in prominence/influence and finally grow some teeth.
2. Countries' sovereignty will start to be undermined slowly by NGOs.

Really these two go ideas go hand in hand-but I think they look better when they are neatly separated.

As we all know, for the most part, countries can only assert jurisdiction within their own borders. As trade becomes more inter-national, companies will act strongly to prevent being subjected to some foreign court in a foreign country with a foreign language (scary) when business partnerships go sour. Consequently, they turn to some body/entity for a stabilizing influence.

Individual countries can't provide it because of the jurisdiction-issue. Private arbitration companies are willing and may provide judgment but again, they have trouble enforcing. Companies will turn increasingly to NGOs to do the task. My guess is that NGOs will be more than happy to oblige because of the accompanying increased authority.

This will lead to NGOs beginning to set the trend for business practices.

Naturally, companies will clamor for their judgments to be enforceable and will act in their home countries (NGO member states) to give up just enough authority to the NGO to enforce these resolutions/judgments.

In the end we have reduced state sovereignty and increased NGO prominence.

This raises an additional number of questions- Next posting.