By Way of GOOD MAGAZINE: OPIUM ECONOMICS

I hear about all these different natural resources from poor countries that developed countries profit from. I thought this was a video that would people realize the difference between how much an Afghani farmer makes and how much the middle man makes.

FIRM ASSET VIDEO –


Super Bowl Commercial From Best Buy

Recently, while wasting time and watching television, I saw a commercial that I thought was a FIRM ASSET. It was the same commercial that was played during the Super Bowl. During the first fifteen to twenty seconds, the commercial had short clips of professionals who said what they created. For example, the first guy was named Philippe Kahn who created the camera phone, the next guy was Ray Kurzweil who invented text-to-speech synthesis and speech recognition technology, followed by a few others like Matti Makkonen who created text messaging and so on and so on. Immediately, the commercial had me hooked because all these everyday things that I see, use, and watch other people use, I can now know who created them. Usually, the only tech guys that an average Joe will know are Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. Other than that, we do not really know who invented the Hi-Def television or the person who created the GPS and all the other great technological advances that have happened in the past two and a half decades.

This made me assume that the commercial was for a social media website or some innovative new company that was trying to explain the power of innovation. Better yet, maybe it was an inspirational commercial that was trying to inspire us through the economic problems of today. I waited patiently to see what this commercial was trying to sell me or in fact what statement it was trying to make. Also, I should admit the background music was a great way to create suspense. It was a great usage of mellow tones with a slight progression. So I listened and waited….

While watching and hearing all of this I knew this commercial was going somewhere with a strong statement. What was interesting was that it was not. The commercial ended with a staff of employers from Best Buy, the electronic department store. That was a pretty big let down. However, Best Buy was smart in creating social recognition for all these great innovators, while manifesting a brand image that was trying to connect them to that type of environment.

Yet, in the end, all Best Buy was stating that all these great innovations for smart phones can be seen and bought at their stores with all the notable carriers in the U.S.A. I would give kudos to the marketing team behind this idea because the emotion stirred from the music and the filming was done very well and hit home. On the other hand, I felt that this message could have been better used to create inspiration for young aspiring inventors to create something on their own. I do have to say, Best Buy is not doing too well economically, so maybe when people do want to buy a smart phone, people will likely remember to go to Best Buy first.

Firm Asset Writer Fahad Shariff


A Firm Asset I Would Vote For

Make More Sense Than Mitt Romeny


The Economic Impact of Property Rights

Firm Assets, Firm, Assets, Fame Appeal, Coase Theorem,

Coase Theorem

This past semester in my Economics class, I learned the impact of property rights. In specific, the professor went into depth about the Coase Theorem and how as long as property rights are well established and there is a low cost of fees to do business, each firm can interact with each other to gain a benefit that the other may need.

For example, say you have a chemical plant and a boat ride company located near a river. If there are no established property rights, then the chemical plant is free to pollute the water and make the boat ride company lose business. However, if a regulatory agency states that the boating agency has property rights over the river than the chemical plant does not have the right to pollute the river. Since property rights are now established, there can be an interaction between the two companies. The chemical plant can discuss with the boat ride company if he can compensate the boat company by producing his chemicals and continuing his business. The boat company can receive a money amount from the chemical company that will make him content. This form of compensation allows the two companies to create a better environment by utilizing market forces instead of outside enforcement.

In China, many foreign companies’ products’ are copied and sold in fake markets. Property rights may not be well defined in outside markets however is the same true on the internet? Recently, Burberry has been awarded $100 million dollars by a Manhattan federal court, on a counterfeiting lawsuit against Chinese websites that were selling fake Burberry products. This lawsuit is also contingent on third party sites that direct visitors to places that sell fake products, i.e. Facebook, Twitter, and Google. With this being said, I believe Burberry has utilized regulatory agencies to establish well defined property rights on their products over the internet. However, will this finally benefit both sides? Clearly not, because the Chinese manufacturers will lose money and there will be jobs lost in China, yet Burberry has one less fake producer to worry about and they can protect themselves from other infringing companies.

Article On Burberry Lawsuit 

 


Are International Students Being Taken Advantage Of?

In China, I saw how important education is to families. Since most Chinese families have only one child, there are high expectations to succeed. Also, there is a well known cultural note where the Chinese often save money for their child. I am not familiar with the Korean culture, but from my Korean friends, I see that there is a strong emphasis on education. In addition, I have witnessed my personal friend from Europe and the difficulties he has had because he is not an America citizen.

Understanding the Chinese culture, Korean Culture, and talking with my friends, I have begun to see a new side to education. The business side.

As I go to class, I walk by a lot of students who speak Chinese. I barely understand them, but then two feet away, I hear a group of Korean students speaking with each other in their native language. New York University is well known for the diverse international presence in its student body, but do these students have the same opportunities as American students?

Apparently, most international students have to pay full price for their tuition. At New York University, that is a steep price. If an international student wants to become a doctor, he has a slim chance to attend medical school, since medical schools accept few international students. When students apply for internships or jobs in the work force, many have to look for an employer who is able to sponsor them for a visa. With no visa, they cannot work in America, thus they will have to return to their home country. Also, finding an internship is even harder, especially in New York City, since they are competing with students who are familiar with American culture and with the language and most NYC internships are unpaid. Moreover, most international students are not aware of the American culture for various reasons. They hold true to their personal culture, but in America, things do not work exactly the way things work in China, Korea, amongst other countries.

The chips are stacked against these students from the beginning. When most of our parents have come from abroad and fulfilled the American dream, these students arrive here with the same intention, but I believe they are taken advantage of. The schools understand that it will be tough for the students to find a job in any field, and if the students do not have a pro-career attitude and start to find work experience early, it will be a long uphill climb. With this being said, high ranked and middle-tiered colleges are able to get full-tuition from a student who, will in the end, not be able to properly utilize the degree that they earned.

All in all, this is the journey of life. People will go through these things where they will feel being taking advantage of. If nobody made any mistakes, life will not be enjoyable. All I am saying is that this is a growing trend and I hope that employers and universities help these students, instead of just taking their money.


Can Paid Internships Become A Reality?

Unpaid internships need to stop. People complain about the work conditions in China and other developing countries. Well, I have concerns regarding the work culture within New York City.

There are no unions for interns. Many interns get no pay, no stipend, and no reimbursement. Many companies have taken advantage of these students for a long time and the companies themselves are aware of it. There are some great bosses. I have had many of them, but I also have heard stories where the my friends were not so lucky.

Also, better ranked universities are preferred over other universities for these internships. Within the workforce, this is a well known fact, but I have met a student who recently transferred from a community college and he is more creative than I am. After visiting Philadelphia, I know people who barely have a high school diploma, yet they understand business better than people I have met in New York City.

Is it worth it? I have yet to find out. Most students in the fashion business have to deal with unpaid internships from the beginning of their career because that is how the fashion business works. Just starting out in the finance industry, expect to do at least one unpaid internship just to step into the industry and to make connections. In medicine, you better have volunteer hours on your resume or else employers will question you about your client-patient experience. In the tech industry, it will be advantageous to gain some experience to show that you are able to work within a team and show that you have communication skills.

All that I want is for some compensation. It should be tax-deductible and the American government should recognize this need. If you give companies an incentive, your giving the future workforce an opportunity to gain more skills to expand their human capital. How does that not make economical sense? Does it require companies to declare more employees on their taxes, so they are forced to pay more taxes to the government? Well, this needs to change.

 


Do Sanctions Work?

While reading the news recently, I have been seeing the word ‘sanction’ multiple times. While listening to the news on various channels, many report on countries that are being sanctioned in the world by international organizations or by various countries.  Pondering about what do sanction exactly do, I thought about the implications of a sanction. Some countries use sanctions as a way to punish another country to stop doing things that may be harmful to the world or to their own people. Of course, this is their opinion, but doesn’t the sanctions ultimately hurt the general base population more than the more privileged in the society.

One way to sanction a country is to stop its international trade and to stop its international transactions with its central banks, which both lead to a heavy impact on the economy of the country. Ultimately, it will leave less money in the peoples’ pockets as a whole, which means less money circulating in the economy, which leads to less economic growth. The consumption is lowered, investment will take a hit since their is no strong investment that will be profitable, and the government has a cut in funds since the tax revenue will decrease. My intuition states that if all these negative events occur simultaneously, won’t the people begin to revolt and question the government or the particular reason they are being sanctioned? With a riled population, the government may become afraid because their power will become undermined leading to a possible regime change. This will probably be the ultimate result that the countries or organizations enforcing the sanctions want.

There are some instances where I can understand why this process is effective, however, doesn’t it show that the country or organization that has the power to sanction, has too much power? If someone has enough influence to stop another country’s economy, basically it can control that country on the basis that money is the very important to any country’s existence. From another aspect, what if the government that the sanctioned country was voted by its people. Now after being voted by the people, a foreign country imposes sanctions. This seems to me that this does not give the general population of that country the proper rights as they deserve to elect their own officials who they feel represent them.

After learning more about what is happening in Syria and the sanctions that are being imposed on that country, a person who supported the opposition to the Syrian government stated that they general population want the sanctions because it will threaten the current government to clean up its act on its corrupt ways. He admitted that the Syrians are sacrificing today for a better tomorrow. But, how long will they be able to handle this and will their economy be hurt for sometime to come in the future? Will they be able to handle a new lifestyle after their is a regime change?

I hope that I at least brought another side to the impact of sanctions. If I made have stated something incorrectly, let me know, however, if you have an opinion, I would love to hear it.


What is a Firm Asset?

A firm asset is strictly an objective opinion of what I believe is beneficial economic insight for people who are interested in global economics. I am an undergraduate student who is studying Economics and has a concentration in Chinese. When I read about the global economic news, there are some aspects of economic insight that I feel is not taken into consideration. For example, there has been a growing real estate bubble in China, but in my opinion, I realize that some of the demand that fuels home-buying is that when a woman marries a man, she would prefer a man who is stable and has his own home. This drives the demand of buying a home and thus increases the price of property. This is a part of the modern Chinese culture and because China has such a large population, the amount of marriages they have is probably larger than that of foreign countries. As long as woman demand homes, the price will continue to go higher. Of course, there is a slow down in growth in China, but this is just my opinion

With my insight taking into account the economics, the culture, and the politics of the issues that I look at, I hope  this will help me, as well as, my readers to see a different perspective.

Keep in mind that I am not the most knowledgeable person in Economics, however, it is something that I have an affinity for. If I have made a mistake or said something that was not right, please let me know. I am not perfect, but I do want to maintain my website as a Firm Asset.

With that being said, FirmAssets.com is a website that watches the global curve in the International market.


Saudi Arabia = Firm Asset

 

I think Saudi Arabia will be a growing impact on the global economy. A country that has a history of nomadic tribes and known for its vast amounts of oil is successfully diversifying its business ventures and becoming less oil reliant. Of course, this is a slow transition, but in 2011 “the non-oil component of the economy expanded by 7.8% (http://bit.ly/zOmdVY).” This is a growing trend in other places in the Middle East such as Qatar, where  an official has announced investing money into alternative energy’s and in Dubai where it heavily relies on its financial sector, its real estate sector, and its tourism sector.

Although I have heard much about other countries in this particular region, there is not much being reported about Saudi Arabia’s rise in the global economy. Saudi Arabia has been ranked 16th by the World’s Bank 2009 Ease of Doing Business index. It is ranked 27th in the world for global competitiveness. It is building multiple “Economic Cities” across the country to invite foreign direct investment in different sectors of its economy. Recently, Mars Inc, the candy company, invested $210 million for the next 10 years in building a factory that will supply the Middle East region with its products (http://bit.ly/AvKs7Z). In a statement, the Mars Inc. Representative made it a point to say that this move is to “develop and nurture Saudi talent.” However, the future is not relying on just one company that has invested in this particular economic city. In 2007, the government began to develop two economic cities that gave foreign investors a place to settle down as if it was their home country. It is a “policy at SAGIA (Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority) that hosts the needs of the corporations within an environment that suit the needs of businessmen” of foreign countries (http://bit.ly/yrSU5Y).

Having stated many positives about Saudi Arabian business practices has overshadowed the culturally gap that it has holds with Western countries. The treatment of woman in Saudi Arabia is something that is not exactly approved by the U.S.A. and it has a history of not treating lowing class citizens well. My opinion on its treatment of woman is that it is a theocratic monarchy. The country is supposed to follow the rules of the land and these are rules of Saudi Arabia. Things may change in the future and we have all witnessed the changes across the Middle East so we will have to wait and see. The ill-treatment of its immigrant working class is prevalent throughout the Middle East, and every western country has a demographic that is employed for low skill cheap labor so I believe this is an effect of the capitalistic system.

All in all, Saudi Arabia is a Firm Asset. I will include other aspects about Saudi Arabia in later posts such as its investments in commodities and its stock exchange, Tadawul. If I made any mistake please correct me and if you have any questions feel free to comment me on the firmassets website.