"There will exist one degree of separation between the most remote village
  and the tallest skyscraper of industry -- a Global Degree.

A Study of Globalization
Volume 1, No. 3
Editor: Mel Ochoa

In This Issue:

I. Editor's Note

II. Featured Essay:
"Branding for Development"
Simon Anholt,

III. Global Agent:
Kevin E. Hartz,
Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO
Xoom Corporation

IV. "G-Mavericks"

V. Global Spotlight: Holiday Traditions Around the World

VI. Sidebar: John F. Kennedy

VII. Global Wire

VIII. Coda: Bill Clinton & AIDS

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I was reading the magazine Business 2.0 about seven months ago and came across an interview with Simon Anholt, an international marketing expert. Soon thereafter I Googled him and found that his company, Placebrands, is focused on creating national brand strategies. One of the articles posted on the company's Web site, "The nation as brand," submits that entire countries exude a brand through the combination of exports, tourism, trade, foreign policy and more (i.e. England: heritage and class, Italy: style and sexiness, Germany: quality and reliability).

There are interesting thoughts within this article on brands as powerful means to level the playing field for developing countries. I contacted Mr. Anholt to expand on the notion, as the article states, of "global brands as the ultimate distributor of wealth" in an essay for Global Degree. He graciously accepted and his thoughts are included below.

Remittance is another big global topic on my mind. Kevin Hartz, CEO of Xoom, provides insight to this red-hot market. Also included in this issue is a sampling of holiday traditions from around the world and an opinion piece on Bill Clinton's work with AIDS.

Lastly, Global Degree is starting a new annual tradition. We are asking for nominations from readers for "G-Mavericks" -- or Global Mavericks. These are people who are at the forefront of globalization . . . or stopping globalization in its tracks. Read more about this special award below.

Due to Global Degree's journal-like nature, I recommend printing each issue and reading it in chunks of time on the bus or while relaxing. You'll miss a lot of interesting information that might spur ideas if you simply skim each issue.

--Mel Ochoa


"Branding for Development"
By Simon Anholt, Placebrands

Brands add value to products -- or, if you look at it another way, they add cost.

A small plastic bottle of sweet, fizzy brown fluid bearing the label "Cola" might cost you around 50 cents; a nearly identical bottle of sweet fluid bearing the label "Coca-Cola" will cost just over a Euro. It seems almost criminal, doesn't it?

Well, that rather depends on who is doing it. This essay explores the possibility that this art and science of branding could be better distributed around the world than it has been in the past. It shows how branding and marketing are, in fact, powerful tools for economic development, and might make a worthwhile contribution to the fairer distribution of global wealth.

The brand value which marketing adds to products and services is not tangible value: unlike sales, products, factories, land, raw materials or workforces, you can't measure it very easily, but it represents capital because it enables producers and sellers to charge more money for their products and services. It is a multiplier of value, and represents a substantial advantage for its owner: it's as good as money in the bank. You can borrow against it, buy it, sell it, invest in it, and increase or decrease it by good or bad management.

The economic value of branding is no trivial phenomenon: according to some estimates, it could be as much as one-third of the entire value of global wealth. According to Interbrand's survey of the 'Most Valuable Global Brands', the intangible assets of the top 100 global brands are together worth $988,287,000,000: just a shade under a trillion dollars. To put this almost unimaginably large number in context, it is roughly equal to the combined gross national income of all the 63 countries defined by the World Bank as "low income" (and where almost half of the world's population lives).

Like me, you may find that a slightly disturbing thought, even though you've probably heard these kinds of statistics before. What can't be denied is that this elusive component of commerce is of great importance in understanding the distribution of wealth in the world today, and it is likely to have a role to play when we are trying to work out ways of balancing things better in the future.

--How brands create wealth--

Selling products with well-known names, rather than bulk commodities or generic goods, has long been a smart business to be in.

Everybody knows that you pay extra for the well-known name on your food, your clothing, your hi-fi, your running shoes, your car, and if you are one of those rather rare but very sensible people who always choose the supermarket-brand products, you will end up saving quite a lot of money.

But of course branding isn't just a trick for overcharging consumers for basic goods: consumers aren't that stupid. We know that a product with a famous name is one we can usually depend on to do what it's meant to do, one that's carefully made by a substantial company which cares enough about its reputation to work hard to remedy any problems the product may give us later on. A brand is as much an open invitation to complain as it is a promise to deliver, and companies which deal lightly with complaints will soon squander their reputation. So a brand also represents a considerable responsibility for its owner.

Brand names save us time, effort and worry. Even though, in the rich countries of the northern hemisphere, it seems as if we spend rather too much of our lives either buying things or deciding which things to buy, few of us actually have the time, patience or expertise to research all of the minute differences between dozens or hundreds of competing products. To understand exactly why a BMW engine performs better or worse than a Mercedes engine, a Nike running shoe cushions better or worse than a Reebok, a Compaq is faster or slower than a Dell, you would need a degree in engineering. A reputable brand enables us to shortcut this process: we feel we can take the quality, sophistication and reliability of the product on trust. The brand name is a promise that vast resources have been poured into making the product perform as well as the name implies.

Brands remain economically attractive purely because most people accept this pact, and find that the owners of brands generally live up to their responsibilities. So the companies which are lucky and clever enough to own powerful brands make much more money than the companies which don't, and some of the extra money which consumers pay for extra brand appeal is pure profit for the brand-owner.

Brands create wealth around themselves. The additional profit margin means that the company can invest more money in research and development to maintain the flow of innovative, high quality new products to market; in marketing to maintain and enhance the profile and power of its brands and keep up with the market leaders; in people and systems to improve its customer service so that the experience of dealing with the company doesn't renege on the promise of the brand.

Gradually, wealth spreads out from successful companies, merges with the wealth spreading out from successful supporting and competing companies in the same region, and it stimulates the economy of the city, the region, and ultimately the country in which the company is based.

--The other end of the bargain--

The brand effect is one of the ways in which the countries which had already generated great wealth through trade and empire-building in the previous three or four centuries have managed to become richer still during the last hundred years.

Today, many big corporations acknowledge that their real expertise is in product design and marketing, and this is where they invest most heavily: they only need to brand and deliver, and the money comes rolling in. The less profitable parts of their enterprise, such as sourcing raw materials, manufacturing and finishing, are farmed out to wherever they can get the required quality for the lowest price: and it's almost always in the second or third world.

Companies in poorer countries, on the whole, haven't been able to do this trick, and still make much of the foreign income which is so crucial to their economies through supplying companies in rich countries with the raw materials or basic manufactured goods and labour they need. But these supplies, since they are unbranded, are hard to distinguish from those of their many competitors, are extremely price-sensitive, and generate very slender profits indeed.

Companies in the richer nations then add large amounts of margin to the goods by finishing, packaging, branding, and retailing them to the end user.

The margins on these transactions between rich and poor have been compressed even further in recent decades as globalisation has advanced. As time passes, the profits at the branding end of business grow, and there is a tendency for the profits at the supplier end to shrink: in a globally networked world, where brand-owning companies are free to shop around the world for their materials, manufacturing and labour, and instantaneously locate the best combination of sufficient quality and low price, supplying them has become an extremely risky business.

--A new brand of justice?--

A visitor from another planet might well ask, if the governments of poor countries want to do something to catch up, why don't they simply play the same game, and encourage their industries to start selling finished, branded goods direct to consumers, rather than unbranded goods and materials to brand-owners? If one third of the entire world's wealth is composed of this thing called brand value, why aren't poorer countries getting into the branding business too?

There is much simple justice in this idea, and a simple formula is irresistible:

-If a company in a rich country sells brands to rich consumers in the same or other rich countries, nothing really happens: money simply circulates within a more or less closed system, and there's little to criticize on moral grounds.

-If a company in a rich country sells brands to poor consumers in the same or other rich countries, there is a risk of exploitation and a further widening of the wealth gap.

-If a company in a rich country sells brands to consumers in a poor country, the risk of exploitation is far higher.

-But if a company in a poor country sells brands to consumers in a rich country, the overall balance begins to be redressed, and justice begins to be done.

So why doesn't it happen?

Conventional wisdom gives various reasons why companies in poor countries can't get rich by exporting branded goods and services. These are five of the most common ones:

1. They can't produce high enough quality products or services

2. They can't afford to promote or distribute them internationally

3. They don't have the expertise to build international brands

4. Even if they did, nobody in rich countries would want to buy them

5. Even if they did, and even if people did buy them, the resulting profits would never benefit the economy as a whole, and would simply disappear into the pockets of a few corrupt individuals.

And yet a growing number of companies in poorer countries already do develop and sell their own branded goods and services abroad: what's more, many sell them back to the rich countries which until now have been their "clients", and so control more of the commercial process -- and the profits -- from conception through to sale. It is my belief that this trend is set to increase rapidly in the coming years.

An essay is too short to present complete answers to these five objections, and my latest book, "Brand New Justice", does this more fully. But perhaps I can summarise the main counter-arguments:

1. It is now very well known amongst consumers in richer countries that most of their Western-branded consumer goods are in fact manufactured -- to the high standards which these brand-owners require -- in developing and poor countries.

2. Spending huge amounts of money on conventional media promotion to build a brand is certainly the traditional model for multinational corporations. However, there are plenty of cases which prove that big brands can be built on public relations and cheap viral marketing, especially if they have an interesting story to tell. And investors in rich countries are constantly on the lookout for investment opportunities in developing markets and are often only seeking reassurance that the manufacturer has the ambition and the competence to build a brand. And finally, there is plenty of aid and development funding available for skills transfer and private-sector growth in emerging markets.

3. It is certainly true that a different kind of marketing expertise is needed when promoting a brand in a crowded and highly sophisticated market economy than at home in a developing country; but with adequate funding, the necessary expertise can always be acquired. More training is needed in the relevant skills, and this is an issue which the development agencies need to recognise.

4. Once a country starts to export quality products, its image improves, and this helps other exporters. It takes decades to change the 'brand' of a country, but there are cases like Japan and Korea which show that it can be done. There is also evidence to show that consumers in developed countries are increasingly interested in exotic products from distant countries with rich, cultural, ethical stories to tell.

5. This is a question for the legislators and for the international community, but it seems clear that some degree of trickle-down effect is almost unavoidable when businesses start to perform and create clusters of excellence, as is now happening in the Bangalore region of India.

Companies with successful export brands provide an example and an inspiration to other companies, they generate national pride and prosperity in their immediate neighbourhood, and perhaps above all they make foreign consumers and investors think again about their country: a place which is capable of producing attractive, desirable, high-quality exports is a place worthy of some respect.

More branded export business is most certainly a step in the right direction for an emerging country, even if showing a few companies how to improve their profit margins is unlikely to have any major, immediate impact on the development of the whole country.

But branding has a far bigger role to play than this. If the development of export brands is supported and encouraged by government, and written as a key component into a consistent, imaginative and well-managed national brand strategy, it can make a real difference to the country's long-term prospects.

A national brand strategy determines the most realistic, most competitive and most compelling strategic vision for the country, and ensures that this vision is supported, reinforced and enriched by every act of communication between the country and the rest of the world: the brands which the country exports; the way it promotes itself for trade, tourism, inward investment and inward recruitment; the way it behaves in acts of domestic and foreign policy; the way it promotes and represents and shares its culture; the way its citizens behave when abroad and how they treat strangers at home; the bodies and organisations it belongs to; the countries it associates with; the way it competes with other countries in sport and entertainment; what it gives to the world and what it takes back.

If done well, such a strategy can make a huge difference to both the internal confidence and the external performance of a country. Image and progress unfailingly go hand in hand, and although it is usually true that image is the consequence of progress, rather than vice versa, it is equally true that when both are carefully managed in tandem, they help each other along and create accelerated change.

The critics of globalisation are rightly perturbed by the idea of rich countries using their brands to create 'consumerist desires' in poorer countries which the inhabitants of those countries can't afford to satisfy. My proposal is that we should seek for ways to reverse the model: let the entrepreneurs and workers in poorer countries create the desires in the minds of consumers who can afford to satisfy them.

The fact is that we can't have it both ways. Either marketing works, and it is a powerful tool for change, in which case it must admit responsibility for the absolutely central role it has played in creating the ever-widening inequality between rich and poor during the last century; or else it is nothing, and has enriched itself over the decades without giving any value in return, and can play no useful part in the huge tasks which lie ahead for humanity in the next century.

Adapted by the author from "Brand New Justice -- The Upside of Global Branding", by Simon Anholt (Butterworth-Heinemann, 2002). 2003 All rights reserved.


Simon Anholt is regarded as one of the world's leading specialists in the theory and practice of creating brand strategies for countries, cities and regions. Simon also enjoys a high international profile as a public speaker, author, and contributor to many branding and marketing publications, public sector and academic journals. He sits on the UK Government's Public Diplomacy Strategy Board and has advised several countries on branding issues including Croatia, Scotland, New Zealand, Latvia, Germany, the Czech Republic and Slovenia. He also works with bodies and organisations worldwide, such as the British Tourist Authority, the World Travel and Tourism Council, the World Bank, the United Nations, and the World Technology Network. He is the author of the best-selling marketing book 'Another One Bites The Grass'. He recently edited the Special Issue of the Journal of Brand Management on the subject of 'Nation as Brand', and his new book on the role of branding for developing countries, 'Brand New Justice', was published in 2003.

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Global Agent profiles a "globalist" making an impact on a global level with an overview of some of the responsibilities, experiences and issues involved with their job. Each profile includes a short bio and a Q&A format piece.

Kevin E. Hartz,
Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO
Xoom Corporation

Kevin E. Hartz is co-founder, chairman and CEO of Xoom Corporation (http://www.xoom.com). He began his career in technology as a product manager at Silicon Graphics (SGI). Inspired by the company's academic environment, he would go on to co-found Connect Group, a company which provided high-speed Internet access capabilities to the hotel and lodging industry, and was later acquired by Lodgenet -- currently traded on NASDAQ as LNET.

Hartz went on to join Outlook Ventures, a venture capital firm that actively invests in promising seed and early stage technology companies. Outlook is a $140 million San Francisco based fund whose seed investments included Overture (NASDAQ: OVER) and DotBank, acquired by Yahoo! (NASDAQ: YHOO).

In 2001 Hartz would reconnect with Alan Braverman, with whom he had worked at SGI. They began a pilot project, which would eventually evolve into Xoom Corporation. The company launched officially in June 2001.

Mr. Hartz holds both a BA and BS from Stanford University, as well as an Mst from Oxford University's University College. Hartz has been an active early stage investor and advisor to startups including PayPal.

GLOBAL DEGREE: What you are doing on the remittance front?

KEVIN HARTZ: Xoom is a technology company providing a means for immigrants to send money to their home countries. We launched in one country as an experiment last year, the Dominican Republic, and had very successful results. We've just received a round of financing and are in the process of bringing the service to other countries around the world.

GD: Why is remittance important?

KH: With a continued globalization of the markets, we have seen an increased immigrant movement of people from developing countries to developed countries. With that has come an incredible growth in the flow of money back to developing nations.

GD: Have you seen an impact on the stabilization of the Dominican Republic economy due to remittance?

KH: Yes. A recent banking crisis that included internal fraud and corruption is now causing weakness in their currency. However, the government realizes the importance of remittance. Over US$2 billion transfers into the country every year. That is an enormous amount of money added to the economy, so the government certainly sees the impact of remittance. As such, you see the trend in developing nations of the government working to promote new mediums and new players in this market.

GD: Have you faced major obstacles?

KH: There are numerous obstacles in the space. Fraud is one. So detection triggers need to be in place. You also have the extreme scrutiny of government regulators, both in the recipient country and the U.S. with the events of September 11 and the development of the Patriot Act. There is a whole regulatory jungle that you need to wade through. When you come to Silicon Valley you're not accustomed to having to go through some of these sorts things. But we also see that our competitive advantage comes in how we solve some of these problems.

GD: With the development of your remittance program over the next five to 10 years, how do you think it will improve the economy?

KH: There are two sides to this. Incumbents who charge very egregious fees have fleeced senders. In some cases Western Union charges upwards of 15 percent when you also factor in the currency spread. Our platform allows the sending of money at a lower cost, which we then pass to the consumer. On the recipient side, these countries benefit from money flowing across its border.

GD: Are there any opponents to remittance programs?

KH: You see very little opposition in terms of moving capital from developed nations back to developing nations. These are hard working people who send money to support their families back home. They certainly have every right to do so. We have seen no opposition in allowing this to happen.

GD: Moving to a more global discussion, remittance might be one pillar in creating stronger economies throughout Latin America. What else do you think will need to happen to make those countries major players on the global scale?

KH: It really comes down to governments building trust and reducing corruption. The Dominican Republic has been doing very well in this area. Just as in the United States, you need to instill confidence in investors to attract the dollars and to show stability. Certainly there can be no place for corruption. We are concerned that as we expand we will encounter corrupt situations. How governments and institutions function then becomes a very important criterion in working with them. They will not see proper growth and development otherwise.

GD: As an investor in PayPal, you based this program on the PayPal system?

KH: That is correct. Which adds another risk: adoption. We are seeing some nice adoption, but there will be an issue of immigrants going online and sending money. Unlike a PayPal transfer, with one online user sending money to another online user, an immigrant sends money online to our partner institution in the Dominican Republic that then dispenses cash to the recipient. The transaction happens within a few hours and doesn't require any change of behavior on the recipient side where you see no technology adoption. We have people sending money from many countries because of our strong relationship with PayPal, including the United States, Canada, England, France, Spain, Italy, the Virgin Islands and more. It becomes geographically dispersed in comparison to the retail-based remittance you see today. Allowing someone to consistently send money from anywhere in the world is exciting.

GD: What do you see as some of the positive trends of globalization?

KH: I fall very much into the Libertarian camp and think that from a general scale you need to allow businesses and people to work in a natural way, with resources allocated freely. If you have an inexpensive and skilled labor force in another country, then that's where things should occur. I think people and countries need to focus on their core expertise. I don't think that what happens in Silicon Valley can be replicated elsewhere. We have a very specific core expertise here that can then be exported throughout the world. I also don't think California should be a support desk center when you can get skilled technical workers in India, for example, who can work just as effectively at a much lower cost. I believe in the natural flow of money, capital and human resources in a free manner. That is going to benefit everyone overall in the long run.

GD: Do you think exporting culture is good or bad?

KH: I probably see that as more of a negative side of globalization. Through the company, I've been exposed to Jamaica and we've spent some time in the Dominican Republic and other areas of Latin America. I think there are some amazing, very distinct cultures throughout the region. This doesn't reflect the opinion of Xoom, but I certainly see a downside to globalization in terms of blandness of culture much like the U.S. has seen with strip malls and more.

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This award enforces the belief that one person can make a difference. Whether it is advancing the benefits of globalization, or stopping globalization's harmful wake, Global Mavericks define the power of one. If you consider someone to be at the forefront of globalization in one of the following categories, please submit their name with a short explanation no later than January 15, 2004 to contact(at)gdegree.com. This may include a personal contact or someone you've never met. G-Mavericks will be highlighted in each issue of Global Degree throughout 2004.

Foreign Policy


Global Spotlight usually highlights an organization that is interacting with globalization in some way. However, this issue highlights a sampling of traditions from around the world during this holiday season.

SPAIN: The 12 grapes of Noche Vieja, New Year's Eve
(Adapted from http://www.nerjanow.com)

The New Year, or "Noche Vieja", is the highlight of the year. The Spanish buy new outfits and ladies go to the hairdressers. Girls are supposed to wear red knickers for good luck! Around 11:30 p.m. it seems as is if everyone in Nerja heads to the Balcon de Europa armed with Cava, plastic glasses and twelve grapes. At midnight the church bells strike and you are supposed to eat one grape with each chime. After the last chime there are fireworks. There is a live band and the partying continues until very late!

BRAZIL: New Year's Eve on the beach
(Adapted from http://www.brazil.org.uk)

In Brazil, December 31 is the feast of Iemanja, the Goddess of the Sea and one of the most important of the macumba and candomble deities. Devotees of Iemanja start arriving on the beaches of Brazil in the thousands early on December 31. By early afternoon Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro will be a living sea of people and glowing candles as the macumba rituals are played out. As the evening wears on, more and more people arrive to join in the celebrations and by midnight close to three million people, predominantly dressed in white, will be present on Copacabana.

The faithful offer gifts to Iemanja and at a few seconds to midnight they lay their offerings on the seashore and, if all goes to plan, the waves will pluck their gifts up and drag them into the depths.

The New Year is greeted by a spectacular fireworks display with the 36 floor Meridien Copacabana turning itself into a gigantic Roman Candle. After midnight the city goes back to partying and the year's first samba strikes up. New Year parties are held in the road, in oceanfront apartments, in all the beachfront hotels and on boats off Copacabana. By dawn many of the partygoers will still be on the beach to see the sun rise before going home or on to one of the hotels for breakfast.

INDIA: Diwali, the Festival of Lights, Hindu New Year
(Adapted from http://www.bawarchi.com)

Diwali, which leads us into Truth and Light, is celebrated on a nation-wide scale on Amavasya -- the 15th day of the dark fortnight of the Hindu month of Ashwin (Aasho) (October / November) every year. It symbolises that age-old culture of our country which teaches us to vanquish ignorance that subdues humanity and to drive away darkness that engulfs the light of knowledge.

The word "Diwali" is the corruption of the Sanskrit word "Deepavali" -- Deepa meaning light and Avali, meaning a row. It means a row of lights and indeed illumination forms its main attraction. Every home -- lowly or mightly -- the hut of the poor or the mansion of the rich -- is alit with the orange glow of twinkling diyas -- small earthen lamps -- to welcome Lakshmi, Goddess of wealth and prosperity. Multi-coloured Rangoli designs, floral decorations and fireworks lend picturesness and grandeur to this festival which heralds joy, mirth and happiness in the ensuring year.

This festival is celebrated on a grand scale in almost all the regions of India and is looked upon mainly as the beginning of New Year. As such the blessings of Lakshmi, the celestial consort of Lord Vishnu are invoked with prayers. Even countries like Gkyena, Thailand, Trinidad, Siam and Malaya celebrate this festival but in their own ways. Diwali or more aptly Deepavali is very enthusiastically celebrated for five continuous days and each day has its significance with a number of myths, legends and beliefs.

MOROCCO: Eid al-Fitr, the feast of the breaking of the fast
(Adapted from http://eid-al-fitr.holiday.com)

'Eid' means recurring happiness or festivity. Eid is celebrated with much enthusiasm and fervor and Muslims from all strata of life can be seen adorned in beautiful new clothes, visiting the mosques to attend Salatul Eid (Eid prayers). Greetings of "Eid-Mubarak" or "a blessed Eid" are exchanged.

A very important aspect of eid is the charity which all the Muslims are expected to extend to the needy. Earlier, this was in the form of gifts in kind but now cash is given to the needy. The first Eid of the year is known as "Eid Al-Fitr". Al Fitr literally means breaking of fast. Thus Eid Al Fitr is celebrated on the first day of Shawaal, the tenth month in the Muslim calendar, to mark the end of a month long fast during the month of Ramadan.

It is believed that the Koran was revealed during this month. Coming with the full moon, Eid Al Fitr is a day of joy and thanksgiving. On this day, Muslims show their joy for the health, strength and opportunities of life, which Allah has given them to fulfill their obligations of fasting and other good deeds during the month of Ramadan. It is considered unholy to fast on this day.

It is also a day of forgetting old grudges and ill feelings towards other fellow men. The second important Eid celebration is called "Eid Al-Adha".

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VI. SIDEBAR: John F. Kennedy

Sidebar is a section devoted to an interesting -- or devastating -- outcome of globalization, a unique tidbit relevant to the global economy or a thought-provoking quote from an individual within the audiences served by Global Degree.

This issue of Global Degree remembers U.S. President John F. Kennedy, assassinated 40 years ago last month, and his prescient words on a changing world -- words that are as true today as when he said them, especially as we discuss globalization.

"The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty, and all forms of human life."

--John F. Kennedy

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VII. Global Wire

Globalization news and findings from leading publications throughout the world.

Should your global strategy optimize scale or exploit differences? HBS professor Pankaj Ghemawat suggests a mix-and-match strategy in this excerpt from Harvard Business Review:


Reason -- Economist Tyler Cowen argues for the cultural benefits of globalization:


Anchorage Daily News -- Nobel prize winner hammers on the importance of trade:


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VIII. Coda

Power is an interesting concept. Leaders are often defined by power, specifically how they gain or wield power.

As seen over the past two years since 9/11, power is sometimes best utilized in "coalition" and consensus building . . . and power is sometimes best utilized in a "unilateral" manner. To be honest, I'm still waffling over which is a better means. No current world leader has shown to me a responsible and effective use of power either way.

What I do know, though, is that not having power can sometimes show more leadership.

Case in point is the U.S. presidency, the "most powerful position in the world". A sitting president can have power through his words, his decisions, his advisors or his military. We have recently seen a little of each. I'm interested in what happens when one becomes a "former" U.S. president. Here is someone who commands the world's largest military and economy and then, suddenly, becomes a private citizen with laundry piling up and a dog to walk. I cannot think of a more drastic change. Power then becomes a matter of soft skills like the ability to persuade and build consensus to reach goals.

Bill Clinton has impressed me in his new role as Former. The lack of office really hasn't stopped him in accomplishing great things, perhaps because now he doesn't have to deal with Congress. His recent work with reducing the cost of anti-retroviral medicine is inspiring and comes at a crucial time in the worldwide war against AIDS. Mr. Clinton has used his power of persuasion -- not economic or military power -- to find a real solution in a dangerous world.

What I am not impressed with is the media's lackluster coverage of such important work. Let's step back, though, and define the issue. UNAIDS has recently released the following numbers:

--40m people are infected with HIV
--5m were newly infected in 2003
--The AIDS death rate has risen from 2m in 1999 to 3m in 2003
--$4.7 billion was spent on AIDS in low and middle-income countries in 2003 (versus $20m in 1996)
--$10 billion a year is needed by 2005 just to keep AIDS in check
--In South Africa, it will cost $680m a year by 2007 to buy drugs, set up clinics and train thousands of health workers
--Since 2000, the cost of medicine needed for treatment has fallen from $10,000 per person annually to $300
--The Clinton Foundation has reduced this cost to $140 by introducing production efficiencies at certain drug makers

(The Economist, Nov. 29-Dec. 5, 2003)

Some of these numbers can damper one's spirits. As U.S. Health & Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson recently stated, we are losing the fight against AIDS. That is why it is even more important to showcase "wins" along the way to ending the war.

As soon as the news broke in October of Mr. Clinton's work, I learned the details from an article on the front page of the BBC Web site. However, very little -- if anything -- was posted on other major news sites: Yahoo! News, CNN, MSNBC. I watched local broadcast news that evening to learn more about the deal. Nothing. Local print dailies dedicated a small amount of space to Mr. Clinton.

This is shameful. The brokering of this deal is one of the most significant milestones in the global fight against AIDS for many reasons. First, and foremost, infected people are going to get the medicine they need but could not previously afford (or their countries could not afford). Second, it sets an important trend for globalization.

Whether we like it or not, globalization is here. There is significant progress due to globalization and, at the same time, devastating ripples. Through Mr. Clinton's work, new production techniques -- most likely perfected around the world -- will help Indian drug makers reduce costs in supplying medicine to South Africa, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania and the Bahamas. Globalization, the international flow of capital, goods and people, is obviously at work here in a good way.

Globalization is our only solution when it comes to AIDS. An international effort to eradicate AIDS can be one of the first major wins in this Age of Globalization. September 11 and SARS were unfortunate training periods for a more serious and focused cooperation among nations in this effort. Here are a few steps that can be taken from every corner of the world (some already proposed, some my own):

--More money given from more countries, especially the United States. The American Congress needs to approve the US$2.4 billion package currently proposed. Other countries need to follow. The U.N. Global Fund to Fight AIDS has been promised a mere US$3.6 billion out of the US$10 billion a year it needs to fight AIDS.

--Create savvy marketing campaigns to encourage testing and prevention (safe sex and the use of condoms). The best marketing minds in the world should provide pro-bono services to build effective advertising, public relations, branding and word-of-mouth strategies around African leaders and international celebrities.

--Increase the manufacturing and distribution of drugs. Mr. Clinton's work helps on the manufacturing side. However, distribution is a major hurdle. Nurses need to be trained, data collected and an increased number of clinics need to be managed. Global companies should provide volunteers, best practices and resources to create a strong healthcare infrastructure within Africa. After all, it is in the best interest of private companies to battle AIDS since a large percentage of the workforce is dying every second. In all of my research, I have not seen significant work done by private companies outside of certain drug makers. Much of the burden has been placed on governments to provide money and resources. More private companies should come forth with a willingness to help by donating money or allowing employees to take a few weeks of paid leave to assist in testing or education.

--Hang a lantern on other distressed countries. Africa is by far the epicenter of the emergency. However, countries such as India, China, Indonesia, Cambodia, Russia and those within the Arab region need to increase prevention and education efforts before their numbers skyrocket. A worldwide testing strategy needs to be implemented.

--Increase participation from world leaders and celebrities. U2's Bono is a shining example of the power of one. Governments need to speak out against the stigma associated with AIDS. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annon says that the leaders of the world are not engaged enough in the issue. More discussions need to be held at international forums, much like U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Richard Holbrooke created in 2000 when he took over the presidency of a Security Council session for an unprecedented discussion of AIDS -- the first of its kind at that level within the U.N. (China and Russia refused to participate).

--The Vatican needs to promote the use of condoms and change its policy that chastity is the best method of prevention.

--Increase short-term economic aid, including lifting/relaxing certain trade restrictions and providing debt relief. Money can then go toward buying medicine and building distribution channels. Economic incentives will encourage apathetic leaders. The Marshall Plan helped build European economies through monetary assistance, debt cancellation and trade incentives. The same can be done with sub-Saharan Africa and AIDS.

Mr. Clinton's ability to bring many sides to agreement is progress in the right direction and is worthy of first-story coverage in every worldwide media outlet. Anything less is disrespectful to his hard work, to the concessions made by all sides including political leaders and drug makers (by slashing profit), and to those dying of AIDS throughout Africa. This is a significant deal with important consequences that did not receive coverage on par with its implications.

It will be tough to stop AIDS, no doubt, but not impossible. Mr. Clinton has started us in the right direction by showing his power of consensus building and his ability to bring about positive global change. I'll give credit where credit is due and give Mr. Clinton some well-deserved ink. He's in the game, and I respect that. Congratulations, Mr. Clinton, for making a substantial contribution to the battle against AIDS.

--Mel Ochoa

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With an increased global interdependence, Global Degree presents the many facets of globalization in a fresh and interesting manner to the widest possible audience. Global Degree is a medium for CEOs to exchange ideas with activists, for filmmakers to interact with politicians, and so forth. Each issue offers a timely, open and multidisciplinary discussion of globalization and its impact from different perspectives including, but not limited to, business, politics, academics, technology, economics, activism and foreign policy. Essays and interviews touch upon ideas, opinions and concepts related to trade, investment, technology, labor, governance, law, political and/or social unrest, the environment, and culture.

Mel Ochoa

Global Degree welcomes essay submissions, feedback/comments and suggestions for all sections. Email the editor directly or visit http://www.gdegree.com for essay submission guidelines.

No part of this publication, advertising or editorial, may be reproduced without written permission of the editor and individual essayists. The Global Degree subscription list will not be sold for third-party marketing or advertising purposes. The opinions expressed herein are those of the contributors and not necessarily shared by the Global Degree staff. All editorial rights reserved. Copyright 2003 Mel Ochoa.

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