There is Nothing Wrong With Civility

There is a new, more dramatic form of hostility in the media and their users. I knew that but only now have experienced it with an anvil falling on me. I wrote an article for The Hill which distributes news in and around the US Capitol, entitled, “Thanks to Trump, America Shows True Leadership on the World Stage,” and the article triggered over 550 comments.

To my dismay, the article did not garner thought-provoking debate, but rather a disparage of uninformed commentary. Many writers had appeared to not even have read the article. Commentators argued primarily about the fact that Trump is not a leader, that they do not like him or his cabinet appointments, and disagree with his international performance. An overwhelming 575 out of the 582 of the comments were negative, while only three commentators made direct reference to the author and the article itself.

Commentators did not even address the arguments made in the article. Rather they used my thoughts as a platform for entirely extraneous arguments. There were continuously scrolling pages of hateful comments and threats aimed as a reply to specific earlier comments made. Users called each other names and created a fiercely hostile environment against freedom of speech.

There was no “conversation” or “discourse” or even arguments among people on the subject. It appears to me that neither readers nor writers learned new aspects due to the comments from the blog. They also clearly appeared not to be looking for such edification.

When making comments, readers should do themselves, their friends (and even their antagonists) a favor. Next time one encounters an article with a disagreeable title or first sentence, it should be read, thought about, and then commented on. Education and learning is the best form of artillery in an argument

New World, New Policy: Entrepreneurial Money Produces Residency Permits

A successful Chinese entrepreneur, showed me a news article. It reported that wealthy Chinese could buy an American passport and become US citizens. Is this really true? What are the implications of this visa program?

The US Employment Based Fifth Preference (EB-5) program was established by the U.S. Congress in 1990, to link investment, employment and residency. Three years later, the program language was relaxed from “to create ten direct employment opportunities”, to “directly or indirectly create 10 job opportunities.” This is broad and flexible wording. It is designed for entrepreneurial and wealthy investors outside the US, who fund a new commercial enterprise of  at least $500,000 for investments. Under the program, those entrepreneurs, their spouses and their unmarried children under 21 years old can apply for green cards permitting residency.The objective is to attract foreign investments to the U.S., and to stimulate economic development and job creation.

EB-5 demand has increased rapidly. In 2012, President Obama extended the program. In May of 2017, Congress extended the EB-5 Program until September 2017. There are many supporters.

In 2014, 10 thousand EB-5 petitions were filed with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”). Overall, 5,115 have been approved. Over $2.5 billion investments were attracted. An additional $6.2 billion are awaiting federal adjudication. EB-5 capital is also an attractive low cost funding tool for project developers in the U.S. It offers foreign investors a way to permanent residency that is not backlogged by other applications and does not require sponsorship by a US employer.

Throughout the world today,  numerous programs like the EB-5 have been established. In Australia for example, foreign investors are granted the opportunity to immigrate, but only receive temporary residency for four years. An investment of AUD $1.5 million in an Australian company ( U.S $1.2 million) is required. France allows foreign investors to obtain residency for 10 years by making a “long term  and non-speculative investment of at least € 10 million (U.S $11.8 million) in industrial or commercial assets.”

There is a standard moral objection to the EB-5 program: The United States should not be in the business of selling the right to live there. This claim suffers from a slight misunderstanding. In effect, the government gives the visas away — to profit-making businesses that have jumped through the program’s requisite bureaucratic hoops. Then the companies can solicit investment based on the promise of permanent residency. In spite of ten thousand slots a year, 40,000 investors still wait for a green card. Obviously investor needs have not been met.

Investment immigrants are in high supply. The U.S government should use the opportunity and open the gates to them. The U.S. has an immigration culture, with a spirit willing to absorb both elites and  refugees of the world.

However, change must come; the program needs to be refined in terms of size of investment, number of jobs generated, industry direction, geographic location, and job recipients. I believe that the investment minimum should be $2.5 million, and the American job creation shall be at least 25. Then we can continue this program helping both investors and employees; a noble outcome!

Global Business: Exchange and Value

Here you are, visiting the ever beautiful London, when you come across a shop with the most beautiful pair of shoes in the window. You notice they’re designer, vintage even, and in the perfect condition, and look, the price says £150. That’s reasonable you say, until you get to the counter to pay for the shoes, only for your mom to point out that £150, is actually $200 in U.S. dollars. This is called an “exchange rate”.

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Global Business: The Financial Side of Trade

When were talking about trade, you’ll probably hear the words “investments”, “portfolios”, “capital”, “debit and credit”, and BOP (thats balance of payments). These words to global trade advisors and financial aficionados are like second nature, but to those just breaking into the world of International Business, they can be daunting words. Let’s use an example  that will give you a visual picture of just how everything comes together to understand how countries measure international business activity, balance payments, and look at exchange rates and altered trade prices.

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Global Business: Trade, Broken Down

In business, trade is a big word. Not in the sense of how you spell it, but rather how we use it, as there are many compartments to trading with different countries. From exports, to labor, to production and prices, trade isn’t just the exchanging of goods. Lets break it down and use the example of clothing.

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