Monday, May 22, 2006

The Speechwriter


Marks and hallmarks


(Written: May 22, 2006. All rights reserved)

Sunday, May 7, 2006

Key Dynamics: Agorophobia (Marketphobia)

Does the average citizen of the world today suffer from some sort of "agorophobia" (marketphobia)?

Agora is an ancient Greek word which means a place of public gathering or "market".

Does "globalisation" suffer from faulty marketing?

There is a saying that there are two things which cannot avoid: Death and taxes!


Many libertarians think that taxation is unfair! That a zero tax rate is the right rate! Others argue for a flat tax.

Is there a "taxphobia" in many people, or merely a phobia of unclear and bureaucratic fiscal authorities or regimes?

Is a simple taxation system the solution?


Many people, companies and investors seem to suffer from fear of bureaucracy, i.e. unclear, complex, unrealistic or unstable (ever changing) regulatory and legal frameworks.

This tends to keep them away from countries or activities which may get them tangled in the web of bureaucracy!

Home alone!

And tend to prefer to stay "home", at their local or national markets. Companies and people with multinational operations tend to have to develop the critical mass which allows them to have the right skills and capacities for dealing with the labyrinth of 40, 50, 100, different markets and their bureaucratic or regulatory labyrinths. Others become "pirates", i.e. they hop from market to market, sail the high seas of the global economy without paying attention to national regimes.

Yet, most of people and companies remain primarily "home", in their local/national markets/societies and familiar regulatory regimes. They do not venture out into their regional (e.g. European) or global markets!

Is that some form of "agorophobia", and is it after all, justified?

I argue that it is!

And that unless this stance is not dealt with effectively by policy makers, then globalisation's future (as well as "free trade's") is at stake!


There has always been some level of international trade. Yet today, this level seems too intense. It is a main element what what many people call "globalisation".

Assuming that globalisation is mainy characterised by high mobility of the movement of capital and goods across national borders, then it does indeed seem that we live in an era of globalisation.

Many analysts suggest that this is the third way of globalisation the world has seen.

What makes this one so awe-some/awe-full?

Is it a question of volume, or merely media hype?

How many companies, other organisations or people can claim that they are "global"?


How many companies, let alone people, have a pan-European or a "Pan-EU" activity (activity: economic or social or "political")?

How many have the tools or critical mass to do so?

What can European policy makers do to increase the number of companies, organisations and persons which/who feel that they are "active participants" in the EU "market" or "agora"?

"Feel"? Yes, it comes down to feeling, thinking. After all, in economics people talk about business, investor or consumer confidence!

I propose that it the confidence of the US consumer which constitutes a key factor in the competitiveness and overall strength of the USA.

How about the "confidence" of the EU or the global "citizen"? Their consumer confidence?

No, I am talking about their general confidence! About work, safety/security, health, of themselves, of their families and their loved ones or their country's!

Is the fear of globalisation justified?

Most economists and all proponents of free markets argue that trade is good. That trade opens up all aspects of society, down the line, and trade has positive effects on politics (democracy) and society (social effects)!

Where is the proof?

"Show me the money" may be the reply of the average citizen of this world (borrowing the words of the character played by Cuba Gooding Jr to Tom Cruise's character from the "Jerry McGuire" movie)!

Show me the jobs! Show me the investors! Show me that globalisation is good for me and my "home" too! Show me that globalisation is not the opportunity of the few to roam around the world, while most of us are simply bystanders or even victims of "tsunamis" in our local or national markets (for products, jobs, etc.)!

Show me the job security OR the job opportunities, show me, at least, the social security or the unemployment benefits! Show me a realistic way to partake in this globalisation thing, this global agora! Or get out of "my house" Mr. Travelling Salesman of Globalisation and Free markets! At the end of the day, I would rather be miserable at home, than abroad!

So I have to change employers, jobs or professions 2, 3, 4 or 5 times in my working life? Do I have to move to other places to find the right job or at least a suitable job? Do I have to move to China?

Are these arguments without rational basis? How can they be addressed, using both logic and emotion?

Mobility of people is a tricky thing! I porpose that most people who relocate are either very rich or very poor! That the large mass of average people do not really want to relocate! To lose their social network, to live or work in a "foreign" country!

Relocation is of course only dimension of mobility! Many people like to travel around the world, for business or pleasure, as tourists or "travelling salesmen". But how many?

Most people do not really want to leave their home markets/agoras/societies/countries either to tour or to relocate elsewhere!

They prefer to stay "home". Cause home is where their heart is! Nations are still standing strong and their roles should not be underestimated.

National identities provide a stabilising effect to people, in an otherwise chaotic world!

Do people normally like to enter jungles? No! When as long as the markets and agoras are perceived as "jungles", is it logical to expect that people will not opt to stay home? When most news seem to implictly tell them that "it's a jungle out there"?

Most people do not feel as strong as "Rambo"! Because they are not. Because, after all, "Rambo" is a fictional character! How fictional is "globalisation"? "Free" trade? Food for thought for policy makers at all levels!

Does the average citizen of the world today suffer from some sort of "agorophobia"?


But he/she suffers from the mediatic treatment of reality. And from the inability of policy makers to decide what a "free marker" or a "free agora" is!

Unless globalisation proves to the average citizen of France, the UK, Michigan, Bresil, Argentina, etc. that it can work for him/her TOO, then I propose that globalisation has good reason to fear for its own future (future-phobia)!

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