Monday, October 11, 2010

Conscientious Equity Book Report

I read a new book by Neal Asbury called Conscientious Equity - An American Entrepreneur's Solution to the World's Greatest Problems.

His thesis is that businesses can help solve the problems of the world through having what he calls a Conscientious Equity Accord that includes:

1 - Strong Labor rights (especially around child labor)

2 - Powerful anti corruption rules (He makes an excellent case that poverty and corruption are linked. )

3 - Stringent environmental protections (my personal view is we need to bring current externalities into the economic system.)

4 - Access to foreign markets the same as those accorded to what they are granted in our markets (I agree with the theory but fear that all countries will try to tip the balance in their favour. I am nervous about the increasing protectionism I see in the US - especially as it relates to Canada which I suspect is an unintended consequence)

5 - Ironclad intellectual property safeguards

6 - Global rules of law that make this all enforceable globally (this is the one I see as a challenge)

He believes in free trade (as do I) and thinks the people of the world can prosper if given a chance to compete fairly. He speaks about the tariff applied to US goods in China (from the artificially low currency) and how allows China to sell seven times as many goods in the US as the US sells to China.

The book is a must read for anyone thinking of entering foreign markets. Although it might make it almost too scary to consider.

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