The Bear without the bull

Michael R. Czinkota

There is often a strong desire for partisanship both in our domestic and global thinking. Russia keeps being framed as our most vile adversary. Such thinking has much historic background. Of particular worry has been competition in technology – one can still recall the Russian leadership reputation effects of the space launches of Sputnik, the electric ball, and Leica, the spaceship dog. It took the successful North Pole transit of the U.S. submarine Nautilus to re-declare American advantage. 

My research in the Georgetown archives yields evidence that not all Russians are adversaries all the time. One example comes from the Russian years of Georgetown University and the Jesuit religious order which founded it. 

The order was initiated by Ignatius of Loyola in Paris in 1534, with its members taking vows of poverty, chastity and an ole of full obedience to the pope. Its principles and their execution turned out to be quite successful, particularly in the field of education. With its headquarters in Rome, the proximity to the pope helped global expansion and influence. 

However, not all was smooth sailing. In spite, or because of their success, the more than 22,000 Jesuits were suppressed in 1773 of all people, by their main patron, Pope Clement XIV. This leader of global Catholicism sent out specific instructions called a “papal bull” or edict to other heads of country, demanding the abolishment of the Jesuit order. The major ruling nations such as the Portuguese and Spanish empires, the French nation, and Austria/Hungary accepted such abolishment,  making the Jesuits virtually extinct. Virtually, but not totally, thanks to Russian policy.  

At the time Catherine the Great was the Tsarina or Sovereign of Russia and the protector of its orthodox religion. One of her key objectives was to bring Russia and herself as an equal partner to the table of international leaders. She recognized that raising the capabilities of the Russian population and its nobility to reason and analyze was an important foundation for such an achievement. She was further impressed with the manifold educational activities which the Jesuits had already set in place. So she was not feeling exploited when the Jesuits requested that the impending papal bull should not arrive or be read by the Imperial Court. She also agreed that existing Jesuits could select Russia as their central headquarters and even allowed them to expand the order. 

As a result, those Jesuits, which had been part of the Maryland province in Baltimore all became Russian in their affiliation, as did their institutions. This relationship remained until 1814 when Pope Pius VII removed the onerous order of suppression. Georgetown University and it’s Jesuit faculty then became American again.

The lessons learned for today: 

  • Political hardships imposed to totally eliminate one’s adversary may not have to be final – there often is a workaround 
  •  An international orientation can often be crucial to advancing one’s agenda
  • Adversaries and traditions do not have to remain steady and immutable; to the contrary, a new perspective should be raised in one’s analysis of conditions
  • Global strengths and unique expertise can set a player apart and permit quite unexpected alliances and cross-references.

The evidence indicates that all this was good for both Russia and Georgetown University. Might there be other strategic linkages possible?  It is necessary to separate the bear from the bull and to remember that there is always a bear market somewhere. 

Professor Michael Czinkota (czinkotm@georgetown.edu) teaches international marketing and business at Georgetown University. His key books are International Marketing (10th ed.) with Prof. Ronkainen and In Search for the Soul of International Business. He served as Deputy Assistant Secretary in the U.S. Department of Commerce in the Reagan Administration

Key Words: Russia, Jesuits, Collaboration, Ignatius of Loyola, Suppression, Papal bull, Dog Leica, Nautilus, Catherine the Great, Education, Bear, Georgetown history, and Czinkota

Can We Really Delete The Past? A British Campaign Aims To Do Just That

What started as a simple idea over two years ago, has grown into a law that very well may be passed through the new Conservative leadership of Britain’s, Theresa May. The new Prime Minister of the UK has been insistent on passing “safeguards” that would allow children, once they turn 18 to delete any derogatory or incriminating former social media posts, photos, and even comments.

Continue reading

NEW POLICY – NEW RULES : U.S. Leaves Trans-Pacific Partnership

President Trump signed an executive order that will withdraw the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The TPP is the largest planned regional trade accord in history, and was designed for the United States and 11 other nations in Asia and the Pacific to build a free trade zone. Its purpose was to lower tariffs, resolve trade disputes, and make patents safe, all while enhancing  U.S. power in Asia.

The new administration has fulfilled Trump’s campaign promise, by changing  America’s trade ties with other countries, and abandoning the TPP brokered by his predecessor. The withdrawal from multinational trade agreements stems from his belief that they “erode American jobs and opportunities”, and has had large geopolitical implications in Asia, and throughout the world.

Continue reading

Shame Curbs Bad Behavior

In China, no one is safe on March 15th, World Consumer Rights Day. An Evening Gala is hosted every year by CCTV, China Central Television since 1991. The purpose is to name and shame companies for their misconduct against consumer interest.  In decades past, firms like Starbucks, LG and Hewlett-Packard have been called out when offering poor products or irresponsible customer service. Many Chinese companies and state-owned enterprises like China Mobile have been inducted in this Hall of Shame as well.

This year, the Evening Gala aimed mainly at the misconduct in E-Commerce and Social Media. According to the State Ministry of Industry and Commerce, during this gala, Elema, a billion-dollar food delivery company, was shamed for making food under unsanitary conditions; Yipai (Easy Pass), China’s leading online automobile marketing platform, was accused of hurting consumers by providing personal   information to outsiders; Taobao, the biggest online shopping website founded by technology giant Alibaba, was  named for fraudulent consumer reviews which influenced product  rankings.  The Gala quickly became a battle cry for corporate PR teams, who had to come up overnight with explanations and damage control.

Will these allegations curb bad behaviors in companies and individuals? The answer seems to be “yes”. A new law prohibits indoor smoking in Beijing.  Individuals breaking these regulations can be fined $30, restaurants up to $155. In addition to the fines, repeat offenders see their names posted on a government website for one month, alongside a list of their offenses. Witnesses to infractions are urged to notify the government. Social shaming pressure is expected to make the new law more effective – and it works!

Shame can be used to focus attention on some “bad apples”, especially when it comes to major collective problems. It helps to be creative and focused when choosing targets. Companies, such as British Petroleum or SeaWorld, do not feel guilt. However, the people working in these corporations do. Their thoughts and behavior can be influenced by public disapproval and even mortify them. Public opinion can be essential for companies, especially if they are producing consumer brands, such as IPhones or agile Orcas. Reputational risks are a concern, and public shaming can be most effective if targeted at ”friendly” corporations and their employees.

One must ponder the question: can “shame” really work in implementing government policy? Jennifer Jacquet, author of Is Shame Necessary?, claims success for a website run by the state of California that lists the names of people who have not paid their taxes. The site targets only the top 500 delinquents, and the state has retrieved more than US$395 million in back taxes since it was launched in 2007.

Another possible and very helpful area for “shame policy” is immunization of a country’s population. Typically, 90 percent of people need vaccination for there to be true immunity. People can opt-out and get a “free-ride”, since everyone around them is taking the needle for them. However, with reduced compliance, immunization doesn’t work anymore. That’s where shaming can help encourage participation.

Another example is the Rainforest Action Network and its shaming campaign against banks which financed coal companies doing mountain-top removal in the Appalachia region. After a five-year campaign, two of the nine banks have changed their policy of lending to coal companies. Two out of nine may seem like limited success, but every march starts with the first step.   Shaming can act as a stop-gap for the period when people are concerned about something and when actual change comes about.

Working to avoid shame can lead to better weights and measurements. Who wants to be ridiculed by competitors or lose a long-developed fine reputation. Particularly in fields such as marketing, where the brand and personal perceptions are paramount, shaming can become a major influence if not the rationale for the curative marketing approach which aims to heal relationships between business, government and consumers. Avoiding shame by reducing, eliminating and making up for past mistakes, can strengthen a company’s unique selling proposition and let it emerge as a seasoned competitor.