Friday, January 18, 2008

Entrepreneurs: think big and global or die soon

I got two quick reactions from our readers advocating entrepreneurship.

One is from Norman Madrid, an economist in New York City, and with the Export & Prosper Investment Club. Norman forwards these interesting ideas:

a.. Filipinos are refreshingly energetic and entrepreneurial.

b.. In the past decade foreign direct investment inflows of $20 billion to $40 billion have been flowing to four neighboring "Asian Tiger" economies--SK, HK, Singapore, Taiwan--that have a smaller combined land area and population than in the Philippines. That has meant that these economies had abundant inflows of machines, technologies and global brains to help them succeed at world competition. Thus, their export earnings in 2007 came to $1.5 trillion. But, in the Philippines, inflows have amounted to only less than 5% as high usually. Hence, our exports have also been down deep in the abyss--only 5% as high as among the Tigers in 2007 and previous years, only $0.07 trillion ($74 billion) in 2007 despite the remittances of OFWs that are included in that figure. Lacking dollar earnings for decades, the nation could not import enough machines to employ the people in full or productively. GDP was only $140 billion in 2007, against $1,300 billion among the four Tigers, or eight times as high, despite their smaller combined populations. Wow--that is nearly a $1,200 billion shortfall, a $1.2 trillion problem. Unemployment was 10 times as high as among the Tigers usually when disguised joblessness is taken into account. Productivity was usually less than $4,500 per fully-employed worker, against $30,000 to $70,000 among the Tigers.

c.. In short, the entrepreneurship all around Manila is so local, is so globally blind, that I almost believe that Manilenos think that if they stepped out one inch to the world outside, then they would fall into an abyss.

d.. After all, the Philippines is only 0.3% as large as the world economy. Why not focus on-- may I repeat the refrain?-- developing companies and groups of investors to win foreign investor allies with whom to win the world at export wars, and earn the big dollars to import the big machines and technologies of the world so needed for Philippine factory and infrastructure building, and also needed for the creation of great jobs and laboratories and the enrichment and empowerment of the Filipino people?

e.. why aren't they uniting and forming investment groups that use 99.7% of their entrepreneurial energies at attracting foreign investment allies and conquering world export markets with them and their capital and technologies and products, and with our low wages and enthusiasm, creativity, efficiency and initiatives? As we work with these foreigners, we will acquire all their technologies, attitudes, knowledge. We will be looking at global opportunities while standing on the shoulders of imperialism; and we become global imperials ourselves as the Teutons, Vandals, Goths and Huns did after Rome first decimated them.

f.. After all the strategy of focusing on the world, which is usually summarized in three words: Export or Die! --now has a 45 year history and it has been proven sound. Actually it has a 2,000 year history. Rome used it. So did Elizabeth 1. So did 19th Century America.

g.. With that Plan, Hong Kong, which was poorer than the Philippines in 1965, became richer than Japan only 30 years later, in 1995. And, China, using the above strategy starting in the 1980s, has zoomed in the world in the next 25 years. Some 65% of its exports are produced by foreigners.

I am also impressed with some of the words of wisdom Norman shared: So much to do, so little time to do it. Fortune favors the brave! Why support young artists when the more interesting are those who smash the world's doors on their own? If you want something, go get it. The greatest risk in life is taking none. Eat lunch, or be lunch.

Keep your Christmas lights on!


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