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Economic competition and competitive practices

Gagliano Giuseppe

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Since enterprises are at the frontlines of geo-economic competition, they must learn how to deal with state influence in this field. They need to acquire a global understanding of the business environment and to develop new strategies to tackle stiff competition. In order to bend market rules and beat competition, economic actors developed new aggressive strategies on the model of military knowledge and underground operations.

The new competitive practices are no more aimed at adjusting to or anticipating other enterprises. Their goal is transforming the operating context and subverting the balance of power through imposing a given enterprise’s rules on its competitors. The final objective is eliminating competitors or at least preventing them from entering the marketplace.

These practices are based on the systematic acquisition of information and on its use for hostile purposes. In order to pursue innovation, export or acquire more market quotas, it is necessary to understand the business environment and to put in place effective operations. The new economic practices are therefore featured with harsh competition to dominate information platforms. The United States offers many examples of the use of offensive operations to reach commercial purposes.

In this context, companies go beyond the mere search of information. They aim at manipulating the facts through new offensive techniques of economic warfare targeting new markets and destabilizing competitors. Here are some examples of competitive strategies used for hostile purposes: offensive benchmarking (attacking a product through counterfeiting), lobbying, social learning, stretch marketing, (acquiring control through regulation, humanitarian intervention, civil and military operations and economic warfare). These practices date back to the end of the Cold War, when economic and cultural clashes replaced military and ideological conflicts.

Benchmarking consists in a comparative evaluation of services or procedures of the most successful enterprises, studying their strengths and weaknesses and identifying possible actions to match or surpass them. Benchmarking can be used for offensive purposes in order to destabilize competition through reaction tests: an alleged client evaluates all the aspects of the service provided and the weaknesses of the system; in some cases, this person purposely provokes accidents in order to have more time to study the situation. Repeated accidents clearly compromise the image of the competitor and obstruct its activities.

As far as counterfeit is concerned, it is true that copying existing products and improve them is the foundation for progress. However, some companies can decide to copy some products while decreasing their functionality, therefore realizing low quality artifacts that acquire some of the market quotas of the original product. The problem emerges when these counterfeit goods do not respect safety norms and became dangerous for the market, with a negative impact on the company producing the original goods.

Lobbying indicates all practices aimed at influencing – directly or indirectly – political, legislative, regulating actors in order to assert a given economic interest. More and more companies are adopting lobbying strategies to defend and promote their interests. Lobbying itself not only is a reprehensible activity, but its systematic use can turn it into a dangerous weapon for economic and cultural competition.

Social learning is another technique to conquer new markets that consists in an accurate psychological action setting up opinion trends to influence decision-making. Through providing what seem to be purely education services – often addressed to the future leadership of a given country – social learning techniques influence public opinion and installs a dependency relationship with the country providing social learnings services.

Stretch marketing originally consisted in coordinating Chinese family networks for business development in any field. Nowadays, this term indicates a careful observation of 1) a given socio-economic market and 2) the information exchange within a given group of partner enterprises, through which a given enterprise can better exploit its business opportunities. Therefore, on the one hand stretch marketing allows anticipating the client needs through controlling information; on the other hand, stretch marketing prevents competitors from enter the market through the sharing of both offensive and defensive techniques within a given group of partner enterprises.

Lobbying and social learning practices contribute to increasing international regulations that lead to the indirect acquisition of new market quotas. These rules represent a competitive weapon to perform technical-economic dominance practices because they prevent the other actors of the system from operating freely. This can be easily observed on the military level with the imposition of the inter-operability: pursuing a maximized standardization of military materials within NATO countries leads to the imposition of a given product or industry on the others.

Another aspect to take into account is humanitarian intelligence. In recent years, several economic domination strategies to conquer the market of developing countries have disguised as humanitarian and development missions.  It is true that development markets have impressive growth potential and can count on natural resources that the West is interested in. As a result, Western countries continuously engage in humanitarian operations and development project in order to obtain long and medium term economic advantages. Besides NGOs, there are a number of governmental organizations that combine their humanitarian mission with strategies pursuing political and economic goals.

Since developing countries often experience the devastating consequences of war, civil-military co-operations (COCIM) aim at leading the country out of the crisis situation and take care of the needs of the population. However, COCIM operations are often used to conquer the infrastructure market and acquire contracts to provide services and materials for the reconstruction of the country, while profiting from public funding. It is possible to observe that as soon as a conflict ends, companies from all over the world compete to get their share in the reconstruction of the country and they rush there in order to quickly identify its needs and to influence the terms of contracts. In order for this strategy to work, military personnel should be accompanied by experts like doctors, engineers, businessmen, teachers, sociologists, ethnologists etc., that provide a better understanding of the region together with its religious, cultural, and linguistic features.

Lastly, manipulation is also an offensive strategy and it relies on the key role played by the media. Information war can easily build or destroy the image of a given company or country through the planned and targeted use of information and telecommunication channels. Information war is based on using false information both to control and protect information sources, and to prevent the opponent from reacting. These subversive disinformation or propaganda techniques can be easily performed in every communication channel, especially the Internet. In this situation it is important to rapidly react with counter information practices and occupy media space with dominant strategies.

At the present moment in which we witness a real war of knowledge, no company is immune from this kind of competition attacks.

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Economy

War economics

Giancarlo Elia Valori

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In 2019 – the last year for which we have complete statistics – all classes of financial investment had a total increase of 23 trillion US dollars, particularly Stock Exchange securities and public debt instruments. The global value of Stock Exchange securities alone grew by 17 trillion US dollars, from 67,000 to 84,000 US dollars, while, finally, the global value of bonds alone grew by 6 trillion US dollars.

 A very weak house of cards. In fact, two events alone, such as the closure of the Straits of Hormuz, or a new “democratization” in the Middle East, would be enough to trigger an inflation led by oil or other raw materials cost, which would bring the whole great house of cards of public and private debt down.

 A “short-term life”, an “altered stage” of finance that currently – with fintech and derivatives, born with Clinton’s banking reform – can afford not to consider the financial flows data, but only a manipulated calculation of probabilities, against which, however, you can insure yourself.

 The entire Eurozone, which believes to be smarter than the others, lives on trade surpluses – often huge as in Germany – but also with a mix of low domestic wages and booming foreign trade, which makes the EU economies extremely vulnerable to asymmetric attacks from some non-EU expanding countries – not to mention the USA and China, which will tolerate for a short time yet this difference in level, which harms them significantly.

 The European Target 2, the interbank payment system that no longer allows to resort to foreign currency reserves to offset banks’ liquidity deficits, has now a full balance of over 1 trillion euros, of which 800 billion euros are German flows only, which therefore live on purchases by the Euro area.

 Hence a system that amplifies the asymmetric shocks, which are inherent in a “rigid” currency and not lender of last resort as the euro, but which favours above all the holders of greater surpluses than the EU countries, which are currently less capable of achieving trade surpluses. Therefore, for Italy, beating the surplus within the Eurozone is a primary goal of economic and financial warfare. It can be done.

 Certainly Keynes’ old and still valid idea – launched at the Bretton Woods Conference – to find a single currency and also an account currency, namely bancor, which would revalue the currency of the country recording a surplus and devalue the country recording an excessive deficit, was defeated by the USA, the winning country, which had also financed Great Britain – that paid its debt to the USA until 1973 – but which wanted above all to internationalize the dollar, so that it could have a “high” value despite its structural trade deficit.

 Therefore, this enables the EU countries which record higher balance of payments surpluses to purchase bonds –  for example, Italian ones – while the further reduction in value of the Greek, Spanish and Portuguese bonds is maintained by favouring one or the other markets of government bonds and securities. Currently the shopping of public debt instruments is a primary method of economic warfare.

 In this very weakened framework, the huge Covid-19 pandemic broke out.

 It is the seal – if ever there was a need – of a new war economics.

 This means: a) initial planning of actions; b) predefined distribution of resources; c) hierarchy of goals; d) careful selection of public and private spending.

 Furthermore, democratic Socialism, but also social Catholicism, were born from the experiments that the great capitalist economies carried out during the First World War, such as the Beveridge Plan – a continuation of war Socialism by other means – just to paraphrase Von Clausewitz’s well-known statement – but also the subsequent democratization of Germany following the end of the Third Reich, which led the winners to maintain the workers’ co-participation in the management of small and large companies.

 When this health and human tragedy is over, we can think about a sort of new “Glorious Thirties”, as a French economist called the years from 1945 to 1975.

 Nevertheless, we shall give up what the Maoist Red Guards called the “four old habits”, i.e. old ideas, old culture, old habits and old behaviours.

 But obviously we shall do so within our eternal Western culture, which respects all the others and, often, enhances them.

 Old ideas: balancing the budget as a goal in itself. Let us consider that currently the EU Member States’ Constitutions enshrine precisely the “balanced budget” principle. It is a laughing matter. What should be done if Vesuvius erupted? Could we leave the whole Campania region without aid? What about Smith’s invisible hand?

What if a new pandemic broke out? What should be done? Are we not aware of the fact that probably also the current financial criteria may be undermined, not only by people’s demands, but precisely in their intrinsic structure?

 Old culture: what if we rethought all the finance and productive economy?

What if, for example, we rebuilt the internal market, without thinking – as it will never happen – that trade-induced capitalization will be such as to refinance the system? The mountains of money on which the global “billionaires” are sitting like Uncle Scrooge are not really cashable now, even if it seems so.

 Hence we are building a “Monopoly” that looks like a real system, but it is not so any longer.

 Old habits: what if we tried to control production so as to avoid – even manu military – companies’ delocalization abroad? What if we understood, for example, that a mechanic from the Piaggio company in Pontedera is not at all interchangeable with a poor Indian immigrant?

 Surely they will never make the same Vespa scooter. Hence, what if we invested not in the quick planned obsolescence – possibly with much advertising rhetoric – but in items capable of being a non-monetary investment for buyers?

 This is the theory of generalized wear – even in goods production – that Ezra Pound expressed in the 45th Canto of his most important work.

 However, there are no industrial nations by vocation or mission.

 Nevertheless, the shrinking of the Welfare State following the eventful advent of the so-called “Second Republic” in Italy has been based on the concept – which is very hard to prove scientifically – that the cost of market limitation is always greater than the cost of a restructuring crisis.

 This has never been the case, not even on a simple accounting level.

 Hence a war economics against the pandemic is needed to rebuild the old Welfare State with new formulas.

 The war economics, as it was studied after the Second World War, is made of many things: the economic “war cycles”, which absorb the Schumpeterian creative destruction; the calculation of the national income; the estimate of real capital and its depreciation, not to mention the input-output tables.

 There is an old study by the Naval War College, drafted by Jim Lacey in 2011, which tells how US economists probably determined the allies’ real victory in the war against the Axis powers.

 In 1931, a British intelligence cell supervised the German industrial reconstruction, while in the 1930s and 1940s, the economic experts – not the poor ideologists of the current tout va bien – identified the industrial sectors which had to be selectively funded, as a priority, to secure the victory and the war efforts.

 A cost-benefit analysis was made – not the ridiculous one that is currently so fashionable for infrastructure in Italy – but the one based on Leontief’s matrices.

 Preference for strategic bombing, for example, as well as for precision weapons and for surgical actions on convoys.

The battle of materials theorized by Ernst Jünger was made by the Allies, not by the Third Reich.

 Hence, in the current Covid-19 times, selective investment is needed in biological sciences and electronic infrastructure – all public investment, even if some private entities would have the possibility to invest in these fields – but also in technical and mass information, scientific training and all the new technologies.

 The private sector may currently have the capital to invest, but it has not the heads for it while, in the medium or long-term, the public sector can afford a return on non-financial investment and, in any case, lower than the one that a private investor in the same sector would expect.

 This is the reason why, based on my first-hand experience of that era, I can say it was silly to privatize IRI’s large product and business sectors.

 This is also the reason why energy is still mostly public in Italy, precisely because the capitalists in the sector would have been forced to – or would have anyway preferred – a “shorter” timeframe for the return on capital.

 As is the case with household appliances, cars and even computers. As often currently happens, they are homogeneous products, but selected by consumers on the basis of structurally non-efficient criteria such as colour, fashion, user-friendliness, advertising, etc.

 The next industrial revolution will be much less advertising-based than the current one. The market is already rather updated and selective.

 The Washington Consensus is also over. Disciplined fiscal policy is not necessary, as the most recent European history has shown us. Quite the reverse. “Fiscal moderation” does not produce capital and investment. Also the “public spending readjustment” does not produce the desired effects, because the average wages of those who remain at work are lowered and the positive interest rates do not always guarantee the investment expansion, but probably above all the unearned and unproductive income.

 Furthermore, there is no free “market” of exchange rates, considering that it is guided by exquisitely political evaluations and that the privatization of public companies does not ensure greater quality of management. Quite the reverse. It entails a distribution of “donations and contributions” to the new political parties – as happened with the “Second Republic” in Italy. Finally, deregulation is not necessary given that it permits the exploitation of the lower labour costs, but does not automatically optimize the production formula.

 With these economic and financial mechanisms, the wealth produced in the Glorious Thirties has been drained. However, much less wealth than expected has materialized.

 The offensive weapons of war economics are still traditionally the same: limiting the financial flows in the enemy country; the embargo; the manoeuvres on the public debt (to cause the fiscal crisis of the State or its insolvency). Today it is a matter of overturning these rules, so as to identify those that capitalize on the Covid-19 epidemics and stop their adverse actions.

 For Italy, the cost of this epidemics is now quite clear: if it ends next May, although it is unlikely, the cost for companies – generically calculated – will be approximately 300 billion euros.

 If the epidemics lasts until next December, companies’ losses will be over 640 billion euros.

 Obviously all this requires a war economics, both in terms of a planned strategy for investment and subsidies and in terms of the future reprogramming of Italy’s production system.

 This system shall be targeted to take essential market shares away from the States that would currently like to benefit from our crisis, both to acquire our companies at low prices and to make the remaining Italian companies ancillary to their production formula.

 This is the new war economics.

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Economy

How Coronavirus Affected the supply chain Networks/ Businesses

Zainab Arshad

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The public health Emergency as novel  COVID-19 has  caused the product flow to be changed around the global and it caused the disruption of the supply chain network to a great extent .As world is the global village and interconnected with one another for different  purposes . The most important manifestation of globalization is the Economic integration. The Corona virus outbreak caused the disruptions to every aspect of life but considerably to the Economy of every country and the global supply chains. The economy wheel is the fluctuation of the economy between periods of expansion (growth) and contraction (recession). When we think about the disruption or disturbance of the supply chain network by COVID-19 , It will be impacted in the four ways  first of all ”  problem in  Production of new products ” e.g.  Demand for sanitizers and toilet papers have tremendously risen these days but racks are empty in the stores due to the production constraints. due to this epidemic the whole supply chain network disturbs because there is limited production in the organizations due to many reasons  the foremost is the limited access to  workforce  or the employees due to quarantines as the  virus is continuous to spread  around the world so government advised to stay at home so it reduces the overall normal productions of the factories and the leaders also need to think about how they can protect the health of their employees and also help their workers who are ill . 

Due to the pandemic most of the companies have started work from home but it is not that effective. there are different drawbacks related to that too . second one is the” cost of the products” due to this pandemic  organizations have to bear the additional costs of shipping for the products to stay in the market as complete lockdown for the businesses is not easy and it will ultimately  be horrifying for the economy as well .Third is the ” products that have already being manufactured and present in the market and in these days people are stocking down (the essential items) but there is the limited supply at the backend due to factory lockdowns and this could lead to the loss of market shares for different companies as the customers are looking for the substitutes as well, due to the shortage of products in the market due to this pandemic outbreak.

Fourth is the ” customer satisfaction’’ in this period of higher uncertainty people are looking in order to fulfill their needs they are not considering their wants their first priority for this they are looking for the substitutes of the products no matter if they have a brand loyalty for certain brand or products. All this has changed due to the shortage of the products and rising uncertainty in the market. The spreads of COVID-19 has pushed the pause button on the world’s economy let’s talk about the world’s power Economic houses. China has the world’s largest economy behind US one of the main reason of its rising economy is the massive  network of different factories in china includes from T shirts to mobile phones to all consumer goods for the consumers all over the World .Today china  makes up of 1/3 of world manufacturing and is the world’s largest exporter . As world is the global village and supply chain is interconnected so deeply across the world. So if the issues appear in the china’s economy it can felt across the world. As the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak was first identified in Wuhan china in December 2019, As of 28 March 2020 more than 650,000 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in over 190 countries resulting in approximately 30200 deaths. And due to the vigorous spread of virus globally it has impacted every country directly or indirectly. In an effort to stop the spread of the virus the Wuhan China epicenter of the virus was completely sealed off and in China mandatory factories shutdown in most of its provinces in order to halt the spread of corona virus.

All the Businesses across the globe are badly affected by the COVID-19 outbreak e.g. The Hyundai Motors in South Korea had stopped their production in early February due to not getting its parts that they usually import from China. Chinese Car sales dropped drastically by 86% in last month and other companies like Tesla and Geely are start selling cars online as consumers stay away from showrooms. On the other hand most of the components of iPhone are manufactured in china so it relies heavily on China for its production. China suggest Apple’s corona virus problem may be worsen in future. As there is the steep decline in the iphone sales in February that is 61% and according to analyst it will be worse in future. As the corona virus impacted every business so the Investors in US stock market suffers their worse week in February after the Global finance crises since 2008. Investors fear the spread of the virus will destroy the economic growth of countries. . Central Banks in many countries including the United Kingdome has slashed down the Interest rates. Due to the corona virus outbreak European automotive crises deepens, as plants have been closed temporary and demand likely to fall up to 20% this year.

Travel Industry has been badly impacted by the outbreak of corona virus .In order to halt the further spread of this virus as Airlines cutting down their flights and tourists cancelling business trips and holidays and the Government around the world have imposed the travel restrictions in order to stop the spread of virus as a controlling measure. In order to slow down  the spread of virus as it is affecting the globe drastically Government of almost every country has  close down the restaurants , bars ,  and social places  closure of the Restaurants cause the Knock -on  effect on the related industries  such as food production , dairy products , fish farming  food and beverages , wine and beer production  the issues were especially troublesome in industrialized where enormous extents of whole categories of food  are normally imported typically by  just-in-time logistics. In addition to all this as the virus has spread globally the oil market is continue to suffer losses but the uncertainty is still there to answer the questions, how deep? and how long? Corona-virus impacts the oil market  because of  the Travel restrictions imposed by the Government which limits the use of  jet  fuel and  due to the slowdown of supply chain network   , lockdowns, less mobility , shutting down of factories this has the very direct affect on the oil consumption. and In late January projections the oil consumption would decline by approximately by 600 __800,000 barrels per day (bpd) over Quarter 1 and by 200,000 (bpd) over the entire year eclipsed by  International energy Agency’s (IEA). Gold is traditionally considered as the safe haven for the investors throughout the world.

When crises hits, Investors often choose less risky Investments, but even the price of Gold tumble -down briefly In March as investors were fearful about global recession. These are some high profile cases. Now, there are certain suggestions for the businesses in order to cope with the prevailing uncertainty. There are certain lessons that the companies can learn from the current situation. There have to be some mitigation strategies as well. Companies can work more proactively and agile by good planning. They can overcome the risk by making improvements in the recognition of risk profiles .By implementing the risk management strategies and many more. After the Covid-19 global emergency, we will see organizations can be categorized as one of two classifications. There will be those that don’t do anything, trusting such a disturbance won’t ever happen again. These organizations will be facing exceptionally hazardous challenges in future. Furthermore, there will be firms that notice the exercises of this emergency and make interests in mapping their supply chain Network. The businesses organize themselves so they don’t need to operate blind when the following emergency strikes again in future and they would be capable enough to rapidly make sense of arrangements .These organizations will be the victors in the long run.

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Economy

COVID-19 has exposed the fragility of our economies

Guy Ryder

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The human dimensions of the COVID-19 pandemic  reach far beyond the critical health response. All aspects of our future will be affected – economic, social and developmental. Our response must be urgent, coordinated and on a global scale, and should immediately deliver help to those most in need.

From workplaces, to enterprises, to national and global economies, getting this right is predicated on social dialogue between governments and those on the front line – the employers and workers. So that the 2020s don’t become a re-run of the 1930s.

ILO estimates are that as many as 25 million people could become unemployed, with a loss of workers’ income of as much as USD 3.4 trillion. However, it is already becoming clear that these numbers may underestimate the magnitude of the impact.

This pandemic has mercilessly exposed the deep faultlines in our labour markets. Enterprises of all sizes have already stopped operations, cut working hours and laid off staff. Many are teetering on the brink of collapse as shops and restaurants close, flights and hotel bookings are cancelled, and businesses shift to remote working. Often the first to lose their jobs are those whose employment was already precarious – sales clerks, waiters, kitchen staff, baggage handlers and cleaners.

In a world where only one in five people are eligible for unemployment benefits, layoffs spell catastrophe for millions of families. Because paid sick leave is not available to many carers and delivery workers – those we all now rely on – they are often under pressure to continue working even if they are ill. In the developing world, piece-rate workers, day labourers and informal traders may be similarly pressured by the need to put food on the table. We will all suffer because of this. It will not only increase the spread of the virus but in the longer-term dramatically amplify cycles of poverty and inequality.

We have a chance to save millions of jobs and enterprises, if governments act decisively to ensure business continuity, prevent layoffs and protect vulnerable workers. We should have no doubt that the decisions they take today will determine the health of our societies and economies for years to come.

Unprecedented, expansionary fiscal and monetary policies are essential to prevent the current headlong downturn from becoming a prolonged recession. We must make sure that people have enough money in their pockets to make it to the end of the week – and the next. This means ensuring that enterprises – the source of income for millions of workers – can remain afloat during the sharp downturn and so are positioned to restart as soon as conditions allow. In particular, tailored measures will be needed for the most vulnerable workers, including the self-employed, part-time workers and those in temporary employment, who may not qualify for unemployment or health insurance and who are harder to reach.

As governments try to flatten the upward curve of infection, we need special measures to protect the millions of health and care workers (most of them women) who risk their own health for us every day. Truckers and seafarers, who deliver medical equipment and other essentials, must be adequately protected. Teleworking offers new opportunities for workers to keep working, and employers to continue their businesses through the crisis. However, workers must be able to negotiate these arrangements so that they retain balance with other responsibilities, such as caring for children, the sick or the elderly, and of course themselves.

Many countries have already introduced unprecedented stimulus packages to protect their societies and economies and keep cash flowing to workers and businesses. To maximize the effectiveness of those measures it is essential for governments to work with employers’ organizations and trade unions to come up with practical solutions, which keep people safe and to protect jobs.

These measures include income support, wage subsidies and temporary layoff grants for those in more formal jobs, tax credits for the self-employed, and financial support for businesses.

But as well as strong domestic measures, decisive multilateral action must be a key stone of a global response to a global enemy. The G20’s virtual Extraordinary Summit on the COVID-19 response  on 26 March was a welcome first step to get this coordinated response going.

In these most difficult of times, I recall a principle set out in the ILO’s Constitution: Poverty anywhere remains a threat to prosperity everywhere. It reminds us that, in years to come, the effectiveness of our response to this existential threat may be judged not just by the scale and speed of the cash injections, or whether the recovery curve is flat or steep, but by what we did for the most vulnerable among us. ILO

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