This Fall, I am teaching a Georgetown University Seminar on International Trade – The Insiders, populated by our First Year Students. The insiders we talk with and about are politicians, Policy Analysts, lobbyists, Ambassadors, former cabinet members, and many other highly interesting people who have a lot to share with the students.
During the lectures, we always try to expand our understanding, knowledge and dialogue about key trade issues. Recently, we discussed the “Blood Diamonds”, which are said to make life difficult as well as bring pleasure to those who own it. However, they should be rejected by recipients, since the money obtained from diamond trade may be used for revolutions, exploitations, and other types of harm to mankind.
Since money is fungible, it occurs to me that it is only a matter of time for us to find other goods to be “facilitators of evil”. Of course, the main question is: what products or services will be the Next Nefarious “Blood Products” around the world?
Here are the top 16 issues which, after substantial thought and discussion, emerged from the minds of the young tigers who are participating on the seminar:
- Gasoline: Oil wars continue to increase;
- Palm oil: Palm trees are being cut down at an alarming rate, causing negative effects on the environment;
- Actions and transactions over the internet: Blockchain technology may mislead;
- Computer parts: Scattered rebel groups will use technology in their favor;
- Advanced technology use: Putting in danger human rights and leveraging child labor;
- Coffee: Coffee makers exploit land, labor, and economic systems;
- Smartphones: We are more and more dependent on technology;
- Pharmacology: Aggregated demand will increase market share and profit margins unacceptably;
- Dairy: Veganism has already grown by 500% in the U.S.;
- FIFA World Cup: Migrant workers with long shifts may lead to dissatisfied processes;
- Robots/Artificial Intelligence: They will eventually do everything better than humans;
- Cryptocurrencies vs current currencies: Easier for criminals and terrorists to conduct exchanges;
- Oil: Impending energy shortage by 2030 will lead to the usage of oil as a new form of currency;
- Biofuels (fuel-producing algae): Fossil fuels are highly valuable but their reserves are in decline;
- Antiquities and artifacts: Terrorist groups like the Islamic State begin to claim physical property and presence for themselves;
- Endangered species: Harming the natural world and exploiting species.
I always say that is wise to listen to these young minds, they will be in command soon. And according to them, these are the issues of the day. Remember, forewarned is forearmed.