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Making Sense Expands to the East Coast Opening an Office in Boston

Making Sense Expands to the East Coast Opening an Office in Boston











Making Sense Opens an Office in Boston


San Antonio, Texas (PRWEB) July 23, 2013

Seeking to maximize high quality services to world class clients Making Sense has opened an office in Boston, Massachusetts. The opening of the Boston office and expansion East follows the company’s recent hiring of Robert Matthews as the company’s VP of Business Development to introduce the Nearshore hybrid delivery model for Microsoft .NET, mobile applications and UX services from Argentina.

In Making Sense’s new office in Boston, Robert is responsible of new business development, strategic management, sales, and entrepreneurship. He maintains constant meetings with Making Sense’s direct clients and strategic alliance partners like Microsoft, that can extend the reach of the company into the U.S.

Rob also leverages his experience and knowledge of the outsourcing market to raise awareness for the benefits of the Nearshore model. The main benefits of this model are same time zone, cultural affinity and access to top tier talent. In many cases proximity allows for similar lifestyles, customs and styles of communications. Finally, it is also important to mention that this model promotes easiness in interaction between companies. Those Agile projects that demand constant communication with the outsourcing partner can easily take place due to similar working hours.

The presence of a Boston office “will enable us to serve a wide range of companies that use Microsoft .NET technologies from Fortune 1000 companies to innovative start-ups and the funding Venture Capital firms that the Boston area is so well known for,” said Matthews. “Helping our clients pivot to rapidly change a product offering or introduce a new feature to the market is how we provide our customers the competitive advantage they need,” added Matthews. Some of the firm’s notable clients include Dell, AMD and Rackspace.

Since it was founded in 2006, Making Sense has dedicated its efforts to offering excellent software strategic services, as means of creating long and lasting relationships between companies and their clients. The company is strongly committed to create applications and products that are enjoyable for users and profitable for partners implementing cutting edge technologies.

“We are excited to be opening an office in Boston that will allow us to be closer to customers on the East coast,” said Cesar DOnofrio, CEO of Making Sense. “We have seen that offering nearshore same time zone service combined with an onsite customer relationship and project management teams is a new and refreshing option for clients that historically only used offshoring development work in India and other parts of Asia.”

Recently, Making Sense was chosen by the Chamber of Software and IT Services Companies of Argentina (CESSI), as IT representative to the new United States ArgenTIna IT office in Austin, Texas. Nancy Medica, Making Sense’s Communications and Marketing Manager is the new Delegate who is now serving as an important communications, policy, and membership link between all the companies who are part of the International Network of IT businesses.

The city of Boston was chosen as the home of the new office due to Making Sense’s initiative of better serving existing clients who are in the Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey area. The company is determined to offer its clients the possibility to have constant, in-person meetings visiting the new office located at One Boston Place without having the necessity to travel to the South Central Part of the United States

On the other hand, the city of Boston is known for its high standards in education and the talent of its graduates. The city is home to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) University, established in 1861 and one of United States’s private universities with a strong emphasis on scientific, engineering, and technological education and research.engineering and exact sciences. Moreover, Harvard University is one of the most prestigious institutions for IT careers throughout the country and is also in the city. Boston is also a city known worldwide for capturing innovative entrepreneurs and tech innovators like Monster Worldwide, Bose Corp. and Staples.com, which is second only to Amazon as the nation’s largest, Internet retailer.

Massachusetts, together with New York and New Jersey in the East Coast welcome thousands of entrepreneurs who attend different international forums and conferences each year. Among the most renowned forums, we can name the World BPO/ITO Forum that takes place in New York and brings both strategic and operational issues to the fore while providing solutions to address the needs of CIOs, CFOs, CEOs and executive teams.

By settling in Boston, Making Sense is looking forward to helping build a stronger critical mass of brand-name tech companies in the city, and improve on newly emerging tech opportunities including cloud computing, and mobile tech.

Making Sense is constantly renewing its essence of offering high quality services and maintaining its unique spirit of passion and dedication that it brings to the pursuit of technical excellence.

About Making Sense

Making Sense is an IT company specializing in the development and implementation of software and web applications for different companies since 2006. It has over 120 employees who work in different offices located in United States, Argentina and Mexico.

The company specializes in offering the latest software development strategies, and has several partners throughout the world. Some of its most prominent clients include Rackspace, DELL and AMD. One of Making Sense’s most well-known products include Doppler™, the most widely used email marketing tool in Latin America, which allows users to create, send, analyze and optimize the user’s email marketing campaigns very simply, fast and effective; and Lander™, a tool that enables the creation of landing pages in minutes.

In recognition for its work in fostering Argentina IT outsourcing to the U.S., Making Sense received in December 2012 a special mention at the Polo IT Buenos Aires event. The company was also chosen by the Chamber of Software and IT Services Companies of Argentina (CESSI), as IT representative to the new United States ArgenTIna IT office in Austin, Texas.

Making Sense is constantly renewing its essence of offering high quality services and maintaining its unique spirit of passion and dedication that it brings to the pursuit of technical excellence.

Contact:

Making Sense LLC

Robert Matthews

Business Development

210-807-3552

rmatthews(at)makingsense(dot)com











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First Time Author Kevin Clemons is Making a National and International Buzz with Newly Released Children?s Book, ?Why Am I Blue??

First Time Author Kevin Clemons is Making a National and International Buzz with Newly Released Children’s Book, “Why Am I Blue?”












(PRWEB) April 06, 2012

“Why Am I Blue?”, is a Christian oriented children’s book with a beautiful, inspirational yet practical message for all ages.

“Why Am I Blue?” is a small book with a big message. Through the thoughtful storytelling of first-time author Kevin Clemons and vivid colors and emotion of the illustrations by Suganthi Manickam, children are not only taught to identify colors but are guided through a journey of patience, individuality, self-confidence and self-worth; a better-suited bedtime or anytime story would be hard to find.

Blue, the unassuming protagonist patiently awaits his turn while the other colors get assigned their role in the world. As the roles diminish, Blue questions his place and his worth. And then finally learns how truly important he is. “Why Am I Blue?” Is a multi-dimensional tale that offers many teachable moments both practical and psychological for children of all ages.

The first children’s book from KLC Productions, Clemons hoped to emphasize quality content as well as showcase amazing artwork. The fundamental belief that there is no child more important than the other and every child is important and has a special gift from God is very important to the development of today’s young minds.

The debut effort of Clemons has received quite a bit of buzz. “Why Am I Blue?” Received Honorable Mention nods at both the San Francisco and London Book Festivals and Runner-Up at the Paris Book Festival (2011). As well as a 4-out-of-5 star review from the San Francisco/Sacramento Book Review (2011).

About the Author

Kevin Clemons (born in Oakland, CA) the youngest of three boys is the owner of KLC Group, LLC. Clemons attended Florida A&M University, Tallahassee Florida where he studied Computer Science and Business Administration. Some of his passions include music (both as a singer and musician), athletics, and public speaking, working with youth and helping others enhance the quality of their lives through sound, practical and creative ideas.

Contact:

Kevin Clemons

(850) 778-KLCG (5524)

sales(at)whyamiblue(dot)com

http://www.whyamiblue.com

KLC Productions, $ 9.95









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, Vocus PRW Holdings, LLC.
Vocus, PRWeb, and Publicity Wire are trademarks or registered trademarks of Vocus, Inc. or Vocus PRW Holdings, LLC.







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Women Making History at the U.S. Supreme Court

Women Making History at the U.S. Supreme Court











Ruth J. Morrison, Founder, What’s The 411? Networks


Brooklyn, New York (PRWEB) March 05, 2012

What’s The 411 Networks, a digital media company (http://www.whatsthe411.com), founded by Ruth J. Morrison recently made history when it launched coverage of the U.S. Supreme Court. What’s The 411 Networks is the first Black-owned media company to receive media credentials to cover the U.S. Supreme Court. Constitutional Law Professor Gloria Browne-Marshall What’s The 411 Networks’ correspondent covering the United States Supreme Court is the first African-American woman journalist to cover the country’s highest court.

With U.S. Supreme Court media credentials, Ms. Browne-Marshall listened to the oral arguments at the United States Supreme Court on February 28, 2012, for the cases Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum and Mohamad v. Palestinian Authority. Both cases focus on corporate immunity; expressly, should corporations be held liable for acts of torture committed under their auspices? What makes these cases especially fascinating is that both cases allege torture by a foreign company on foreign soil.

“My mission is to report on the U.S. Supreme Court in a manner that is accessible to the general public and of assistance to scholars at large, said Gloria Browne-Marshall. “I applaud What’s The 411 Networks for its willingness to cover the actions of the U.S. Supreme Court, as not enough attention is paid to the Third branch of government. The general population knows the least about the workings of the U.S. Supreme Court; yet its rulings become the law of the land.”

“I am delighted to have created a media company that facilitated this momentous occasion, said Ruth J. Morrison. “Decisions from the United States Supreme Court affect the lives of all citizens, immigrants, and in these particular cases, people and corporations beyond our borders. And, truth be told, the U.S. Supreme Court is the most powerful branch of government because all too often, its rulings stand without Congressional intervention.”

“Further, in view of Citizens United, it will be very interesting to see how the Court threads this needle regarding these two cases,” Ms. Morrison continued.

About What’s The 411 Networks

Based in Brooklyn, New York, What’s The 411? Networks is a digital media/news company. Targeting sophisticated multi-cultural audiences, the What’s The 411 Networks’ website (http://www.whatsthe411.com) and television show contain primarily news-oriented original video content produced by the What’s The 411 team.

About Ruth J. Morrison

Ruth J. Morrison is the Founder of What’s The 411 Networks, a digital media/news company. Ms. Morrison is not one to color inside the lines. She is a person of firsts. Ms. Morrison was the first Executive Director of the Brooklyn International Trade Development Center, the first small business development center in New York City whose sole responsibility was to help small businesses export their products and services.

Additionally, Ms. Morrison was the first African-American leased time producer to distribute a weekly television show on WNYC-TV; she also licensed that show to a broadcaster in South Africa. She was a consultant to an American company doing business in Brasil; the first African-American woman beat reporter to cover the NY Knicks and she became a video streaming pioneer in the mid-1990s. Ms. Morrison developed and launched from conception the City of New York’s multi-channel cable television network.

Ms. Morrison was a Communications Fellow at the Annenberg Washington Program of Northwestern University; and a Communications Director for a member of the U.S. Congress. She earned a master’s degree in Interactive Telecommunications from the prestigious Tisch School of the Arts at New York University and she completed her coursework towards a Ph.D. in Political Science at Columbia University.

Ms. Morrison is a contender for the Robert McCormick New Media Women Entrepreneurs Program.

About Gloria J. Browne-Marshall

Gloria J. Browne-Marshall is a Constitutional Law Professor at John Jay College of the City University of New York. She is also the author of Race, Law and American Society 1607 – Present, and The U.S. Constitution: An African American Context. As the Director and Founder of The Law and Policy Group, a think tank for the community, she oversees the publication of The Report on the Status of Black Women and Girls(R) which is the only ongoing national report on the state of Black females in America.

Additionally, Gloria J. Browne-Marshall is an award-winning playwright, free-lance journalist, and recipient of the 2009 Ida B. Wells-Barnett Justice Award. As a journalist, she traveled to Oslo, Norway, to cover President Barack Obama’s receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize. She speaks nationally and internationally on criminal justice, civil rights, gender equality, human rights, and child advocacy issues. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., the bar of the Supreme Court of the United States, and several civic organizations. Gloria J. Browne-Marshall writes books, essays, and legal articles on issues of racial justice, which specifically relate to the role of women.

Ruth J. Morrison and Gloria Browne-Marshall are available for interviews.

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Vocus, PRWeb, and Publicity Wire are trademarks or registered trademarks of Vocus, Inc. or Vocus PRW Holdings, LLC.







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Making Money In Green Resources

Coberon Green Resources is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Chronos Group. This entity has over 50 dedicated consultants in 20 countries with a range of experience in the renewable area. But this green area covers much more than energy alone. The main sectors Coberon Green operates in are:

Wind

Windmill farms are sprouting up around the world. Australia, Europe and the United States are all investing in wind as a leading source of  renewable energy. The business of wind not only includes the generation and sale of power, but also the design and construction of wind turbines. Few countries rely on wind for more than a tiny fraction of their power generation needs, but many countries are interested in the possibility. The Coberon Chronos Group works with many clients such as General Electric and Gamesa with a presence in this market.

Water

Coberon Green Resources has fantastic experience in this sector as our website shows are we have great client references in this key strategic resource area in Europe and the USA. Investors see a clear opportunity to invest in companies that collect, clean and distribute water. The largest water utility company in the U.S. is Aqua America.  Another company in the industry, on the purification side, is ITT Industries, which produces water purification systems that help to make drinkable water.

To see the power of water, one needs look no further than China’s massive Three Gorges Dam project. This billion structure on the Yangtze River will be the largest hydroelectric power station in the world. Hydropower involves a lot of technology, a lot of infrastructure and a lot of power-hungry customers. Every one of those areas holds potential opportunities for recruiters and the Coberon Chronos Group has been active here for some time.

Solar Energy

As the cost of fossil fuels continues to rise and their availability continues to decline, the future looks bright for solar energy. Two of the leading producers of solar panals are Evergreen Solar and Sunpower Corp, which both develop, manufacture and sell panels and components and will directly benefit from the increased adoption of solar power. Coberon Green Resources has a team of professionals who are dedicated to recruitment in this industry with especial success in Spain and the USA.

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Fuel Cells

On a smaller scale, researchers are working with fuel cell technology to develop an alternative method of powering automobiles. The U.S. government hopes that hydrogen powered cars will be commonplace by 2020. If this technology works, there are millions of cars – and millions of consumers – waiting for it.. There are companies such as Ballard Power Systems, which produces cells that can be used in from cars to power plants, and Fuel Cell Energy , which focuses on providing power options to commercial and industrial facilities. Coberon Green Resources can provide cutting edge researchers in this field.

Efficiency

Just about every aspect of efficiency is good for the environment. Energy efficient construction and appliances reduce home energy use and energy efficient cars reduce our dependence on oil. From efficient lighting to creating the paperless office, innovative companies are developing innovative products that maximize the benefit that we get from the resources that we use. Efficiency is the watchword of the day and a developing field that will create the technologies that we will use tomorrow. Some of our clients have done a great job at leveraging efficiency such as General Electric with its Ecomagination business unit.

Pollution Controls

Reduction is the key term here. From reducing green house gas emissions on industrial power plants to minimizing  car emissions, the pollution control industry is on the rise. Every time legislation mandates an improvement in the amount of some harmful chemical that can be released into the environment, the pollution control industry responds. There are companies developing pollution control technologies such as Fuel-Tech and Versar. Coberon Green Resources has excellent references in this area.

Waste Reduction

One of Coberon Green’s most extensive recruitment activities is in waste reduction. Recycling has become a standard practice for many people in recent decades. Most people are aware that household products such as paper, metal and glass are reprocessed and reused, but they never stop to consider the business behind these endeavors. Of course, these aren’t the only items that are reused; waste oil, vegetable oil, batteries, cell phones, computers and even parts from cars can have a second life. Waste management companies with a large base of recycling facilities may be of interest including companies such as Allied Waste Industries and Waste Management. Coberon Green Resources has superb references in this arena of activity.

Organics

Our organization in Scandinavia and the USA has extensive recruitment experience in this segment. Organic farms eschew the use of pesticides, engage in sustainable farming practices and sell products that are often healthier to eat. They also engage in animal management practices that avoid the use of hormones and antibiotics, keeping those chemicals out of the food chain and out of the ground and water surrounding the farms. It’s good food – and good business. With U.S. organic food sales reaching billion in 2006, there is a huge market for organic food producers and grocery stores. Some of the biggest organic food companies include Whole Foods Markets , United Natural Foods and NBTY among others.

For more details about the full range of activities at Coberon Green Resources please contact Dr Simon Harding in the Coberon Chronos Group

Dr Simon Harding

www.coberongreen.com

Article from articlesbase.com

Professor Noam Chomsky: Decision Making When Voting in Elections

Video Rating: 5 / 5

Making climate change policy work in difficult economic times – Opening Plenary

Opening Plenary: Climate Change, Economic and Carbon Pricing Overview This was the opening plenary of the May 5th conference, Making Climate Change Policy Work in Difficult Economic Times. PowerPoint presentations by these and other conference speakers will be available at laborcenter.berkeley.edu Opening remarks: Carol Zabin, UC Berkeley Labor Center Art Pulaski, California Labor Federation Bob Balgenorth, State Building and Construction Trades Council Opening Plenary Moderator: Andrea Buffa, UC Berkeley Labor Center Opening Plenary Speakers: Payal Parekh, International Rivers Dan Kammen, UC Berkeley Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory Holmes Hummel, 2008 Congressional Science Fellow Sponsor details: This event was sponsored by the UC Berkeley Labor Center (laborcenter.berkeley.edu) with Apollo Alliance, California Labor Federation’s Workforce and Economic Development Program, California State Building and Construction Trades Council, Don Vial Center on Employment in the Green Economy, Energy Foundation, Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative, and Western Climate Advocates Network (WeCAN). Funding was provided by the Energy Foundation, French American Charitable Trust, and Pacific Gas and Electric.
Video Rating: 5 / 5

Power Brokers now in Full Control. a1st.us Follow the Money Time Line… World Bank Owned by The Illuminati and the Illuminati control all listed below International bankers Centralized banking system Council of Foreign Relations ( CFR ) Federal Bank Reserve ( FBR ) Internal Revenue Service ( IRS ) Tri Lateral Commission (TLC) ya right Bilderberg Group Skull & Bones Bohemian Grove HAARP Weather Modification Research & Technology Act, March 3rd 2005. Also search ( REX 84 )&( Black Water ) But most of all The United States Constitution.. www.youtube.com 2.3 Trillion Missing anounced 9-10-2001 www.youtube.com Money went into the black budget for under ground military bases.. NAFTA Superhighway Beware it’s Coming.. www.youtube.com A Great 3:35 3 hour tell all video about money, power and greed into the (NWO) New World Order Get some popcorn for this video… video.google.com World Bank Truth: The World Bank is active in the following areas * Agriculture and Rural Development * Conflict and Development * Development Operations and Activities * Economic Policy * Education * Energy * Environment * Financial Sector * Gender * Governance * Health, Nutrition and Population * Industry * Information and Communication Technologies * Information, Computing and Telecommunications * International Economics and Trade * Labor and Social Protections * Law and Justice * Macroeconomic and Economic Growth * Mining * Poverty Reduction * Poverty * Private Sector * Public Sector Governance
Video Rating: 4 / 5

Abu Dhabi Summit to Catalyse Global Support for Enhanced Environmental Decision Making in Emerging Economies

Abu Dhabi Summit to Catalyse Global Support for Enhanced Environmental Decision Making in Emerging Economies
Abu Dhabi will host the first Eye on Earth Summit on December 12-15 2011, in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme . The summit will focus on the issue of greater access to environmental and societal data.
Read more on PR Newswire via Yahoo! Finance

Nova Scotia NDP faces rural-urban divide
HALIFAX – When Atlantic Canada’s first NDP government swept to power two years ago, it did so on a promise of change, buoyed by hopes that it would listen to people who felt their voices weren’t heard by previous Liberal and Conservative administrations. At the swearing-in ceremony for his first cabinet, Premier Darrell Dexter vowed that he would heed the concerns of residents outside his party …
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EPA to remove contaminated soil from Nepera Superfund site
Public meeting on plan scheduled for June 15 Hamptonburgh The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Tuesday released a plan to remove contaminated soil from the site of former lagoons at the Nepera Chemical Company Superfund site in Hamptonburgh.
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Making It Even Easier to Go Green

Although the word “natural” is among the most commonly found words in recent trends in home improvement, it does not always go hand-in-hand with cost effectiveness. As eco-friendly products become a more popular commodity and more available, prices of those products are decreasing, with savings not only limited to immediate project costs but also long term energy use.

Meanwhile, as the Go Green! trend increases, other types of trends are surfacing or regaining value, especially those that give tax breaks. These include energy efficient windows, doors, insulation, metal or asphalt roofs, and solar panels. Outcomes for consumers are even better when tax breaks and energy efficiency are combined.

With the economy’s current gradual incline, consumers looking to update, change, and better their homes are finding that products with long-term solutions and quality are the investments that they are looking to make. Customization in many American homes starts with functionality and is combined with eye-pleasing creations. The use of older light fixtures in the house replaced with energy efficient light bulbs or the recycling of wood from an old shed or barn are money savers with a twist; they add a rustic look with a feel of freshness.

The do-it-yourself method is gaining in popularity in the economic crunch, but depending on the magnitude of the home improvement project, the competitive market and the complexity of newer home improvement eco-friendly ideas, it is important to look for a home remodeling company with plenty of experience and enthusiasm for your particular building project niche.

Putting a Fresh Coat on Home Improvement

Reducing toxins in the air with eco-friendly paint is a good first step in the Go Green home remodeling movement. While this paint still needs to be reapplied every couple of years, the green version avoids putting damaging toxins into the environment. The Freshaire Choice and BioSHIELD are companies that offer a variety of stains, paints and finishes that are truly environmentally friendly.

Interestingly enough, consumers can go in the opposite direction and avoid the harmful effects of paint altogether. One company has created home siding with a 15-year finish warranty, thus the need to repaint is drastically minimized. Along with the reduced need to paint, JamesHardie utilizes locally available resources whenever possible (and fewer of them) to manufacture their merchandise, reducing the cost of the transportation of materials and decreasing the emission of destructive gas toxins. Fiber-cement, as produced by JamesHardie, has been given the USGBC LEED® certification, which, according to usgbc.org, is the “nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.” With tax incentives, this innovative home siding is offered by companies across the country.

A New Window on Energy Efficiency

The next step in cost saving home improvement items are energy efficient windows and doors. The type of glass used in the latest generation of replacement windows, offered by a number of companies, works in multiple beneficial ways for the homeowner. Www.efficientwindows.org explains the benefit of energy efficient windows, the energy tax credit that can be obtained by using an Efficient Window Collaborative (EWC), and the environmental savings that can be made by the use of this product.

Home improvement companies have seen an increase in the construction of sunrooms, with a variety of replacement window treatments used to keep warm air out in the summer and cool air out in the winter. Andersen Windows has created practical, energy efficient windows using SmartSun™ glass that helps to protect interior items such as furniture and carpets by letting in natural daylight and blocking 95 percent of UV rays. Doors created with this economical glass also reduce the destruction of the home’s interior with an incentive for consumers to also get a tax break.

Making it Easier to Go Green

Trends in home remodeling are developing with the growing economy. With the increasing availability of Green building products, companies are looking for more innovative ways to conserve the environment in conjunction with lowering consumers’ project costs. Interest from both businesses and homeowners is growing, and remodeling companies that want to grow with the times are now making sure they offer the eco-responsible products that the market is demanding.

Simple ideas, such as recycling older items to create new home fashions or replacing old light fixtures with energy efficient bulbs are in the forefront of Green ideas, due to the ease of implementation and the low costs involved. Larger projects, including siding and window replacement, may come with tax break incentives and can identify among Green movement credentials.

Consumers are also looking for builders who practice what they promote, recycling left over materials, practicing safe disposal of hazardous wastes, and finding ways to make their own facilities a showcase of green building practices.

Carol DiGiorgi is the owner of DiGiorgi Roofing and Siding, Inc., a Connecticut home improvement and building company, family owned and operated since 1933. Ms. DiGiorgi and her professional remodeling team have experienced first hand the evolution of green building practices and how the volatile economy has stimulated increasing energy efficiency in home improvements. For more information, visit their website at www.digiorgiinc.com, call 1-203-723-6880, or contact the author at CDiGiorgi@digiorgiinc.com.

Article from articlesbase.com

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Japan: Making the Sun Rise Again

Japan knows what to do to get itself back on track, it needs no advice from anybody, it has all the human resource required to identify and tackle its current problems. The Japanese know how to fix Japan and I have no doubt in their ability to get things right.

Those who know Japan, have an eternally abiding faith in the ability of the country to get out of mess, they say that the country always seems to shuffle its feet but then snaps into action when faced with a crisis. It did so in 19th century, adopting modern ways to avoid being colonized, and again after the Second World War. Japan was the world’s second largest economy for 40 years. But the qualities that made it an economic power house in the 20th century: easy capital, big companies, excellent education, disciplined and efficient management, and stable lifetime jobs for male breadwinners- are out of fashion with the 21st century. Japan’s biggest obstacle today is itself.

In the recently released global ranking of Newsweek magazine’s 100 Best Countries in the World, Japan was placed a not quite impressive 9th position of the overall ranking. Except in the health category which Japan undisputedly holds the 1st position, it hovered around 4th to 10th position for other categories such as education, economic dynamism, quality of life and happiness.

Its reluctance to change has become has led to an anticlimax for this once economic power house. Just some few weeks ago, when the global media was abuzz with the news of China overtaking Japan as the world’s 2nd largest economy, the general mood in Japan was resignation and hopelessness, it is understandable why such mood can overtake a people once proudly revered for their once enviable achievements.

Despondency and resignation is only naturally expected after being faced with two lost economic decades characterized by a protracted deflationary cycle, declining growth and an ageing population.

But we must also remember that “faith without work is dead”. Without dramatic reform, Japan will slip swiftly to number four, five and beyond.

However, we still need to take a look at Japan to see if we can identify any new or hidden issues militating against efforts to revive this ailing giant. For this, we need to take a deep retrospective look at Japan through its remarkable history. Starting from the Tokugawa shogunate, the first and second Meiji restoration, the modern era, until the great wars that humbled an ambitious Japan and subsequently its re-emergence as a global economic and industrial power house, and finally, to the current economic challenges that has plagued it.

Historical timeline of Japan:

Since 1854, when the Tokugawa shogunate first opened the country to Western commerce and influence (Bakumatsu), Japan has gone through two periods of economic development. When the Tokugawa shogunate was overthrown and the Meiji government was founded, Japanese Westernization began completely. The first cycle was during Pre-war Japan, the second cycle was during the period of Post-war Japan.

 

In the Meiji period, Japan, under visionary leadership, inaugurated a new Western-based education system for all young people, it sent thousands of students to the United States and Europe, and hired more than 3,000 Westerners to teach modern science, mathematics, technology, and foreign languages in Japan (O-yatoi gaikokujin). The government also built railroads, improved roads, and inaugurated a land reform program to prepare the country for further development.

 

In tandem with its objective to promote rapid industrialization, the government decided that, while it should help private business to allocate resources and to plan, the private sector was best equipped to stimulate economic growth. The greatest role of government was to help provide the economic conditions in which business could flourish. Essentially, government was to be the guide and business the producer.

In the early Meiji period, the government built factories and shipyards that were sold to entrepreneurs at a fraction of their value. Many of these businesses grew rapidly into the larger conglomerates. Government emerged as chief promoter of private enterprise, enacting a series of pro-business policies.

 

The development of banking and reliance on bank funding has been at the centre of Japanese economic development at least since the Meiji era.

In the mid 1930s, the Japanese nominal wage rates were 10 times less than the one of the U.S (based on mid-1930s exchange rates), while the price level is estimated to have been about 44% the one of the U.S.

 

Comparison of GDP per capita between East-Asian Nations and the U.S. in 1935:

Country

GDP/capita, 1935$ (Liu-Ta-Chung [2])

GDP-PPP/capita, 1990$ (Fukao [1])

GDP-PPP/capita, 1990$ (Maddison [3])

U.S.

540

5,590

5,590

Japan (excl. Taiwan and Korea)

64

1,745

2,154

Taiwan

42

1,266

1,212

Korea

24

662

1,224

China

18

543

562

 

Oil crisis

Japan faced a severe economic challenge in the mid-1970s. The world oil crisis in 1973 shocked an economy that had become virtually dependent on foreign petroleum. Japan experienced its first post-war decline in industrial production, together with severe price inflation. The recovery that followed the first oil crisis revived the optimism of most business leaders, but the maintenance of industrial growth in the face of high energy costs required shifts in the industrial structure.

 

The subsequent result of the oil crisis was to increase the energy efficiency of manufacturing and to expand so-called knowledge-intensive industries. The service industries expanded in an increasingly post-industrial economy.

 

Structural economic changes, however, were unable to check the slowing of economic growth as the economy matured in the late 1970s and 1980s, attaining annual growth rates at only 4 to 6%. But these rates were remarkable in a world of expensive petroleum and in a nation of few domestic resources. Japan’s average growth rate of 5% in the late 1980s, for example, was far higher than the 3.8% growth rate of the United States.

 

Despite more petroleum price increases in 1979, the strength of the Japanese economy was apparent. It expanded without the double-digit inflation that afflicted other industrial nations (and that had bothered Japan itself after the first oil crisis in 1973). Japan experienced slower growth in the mid-1980s, but its demand-sustained economic boom of the late 1980s revived many troubled industries.

 

Factors of growth

Complex economic and institutional factors affected Japan’s post-war growth. First, the nation’s pre-war experience provided several important legacies. The Tokugawa period (1600–1867) bequeathed a vital commercial sector in burgeoning urban centres, a relatively well-educated elite (although one with limited knowledge of European science), a sophisticated government bureaucracy, productive agriculture, a closely unified nation with highly developed financial and marketing systems, and a national infrastructure of roads. The build up of industry during the Meiji period to the point where Japan could vie for world power was an important prelude to post-war growth and provided a pool of experienced labour following World War II.

 

Second, and more important, was the level and quality of investment that persisted through the 1980s. Investment in capital equipment, which averaged more than 11% of GNP during the pre-war period, rose to about 20% of GNP during the 1950s and to more than 30% in the late 1960s and 1970s. During the economic boom of the late 1980s, the rate still hovered around 20%. Japanese businesses imported the latest technologies to develop the industrial base. As a latecomer to modernization, Japan was able to avoid some of the trial and error earlier needed by other nations to develop industrial processes. In the 1970s and 1980s, Japan improved its industrial base through technology licensing, patent purchases, and imitation and improvement of foreign inventions. In the 1980s, industry stepped up its research and development, and many firms became famous for their innovations and creativity.

 

Japan’s labour force contributed significantly to economic growth, not only because of its availability and literacy but also because of its reasonable wage demands. Before and immediately after World War II, the transfer of numerous agricultural workers to modern industry resulted in rising productivity and only moderate wage increases. As population growth slowed and the nation became increasingly industrialized in the mid-1960s, wages rose significantly. However, labour union cooperation generally kept salary increases within the range of gains in productivity.

 

High productivity growth played a key role in post-war economic growth. The highly skilled and educated labour force, extraordinary savings rates and accompanying levels of investment and the low growth of Japan’s labour force were major factors in the high rate of productivity growth.

 

The nation has also benefited from economies of scale. Although medium-sized and small enterprises generated much of the nation’s employment, large facilities were the most productive. Many industrial enterprises consolidated to form larger, more efficient units. Before World War II, large holding companies formed wealth groups, or zaibatsu, which dominated most industry. The zaibatsu were dissolved after the war, but keiretsu—large, modern industrial enterprise groupings—emerged. The coordination of activities within these groupings and the integration of smaller subcontractors into the groups enhanced industrial efficiency.

 

Circumstances beyond Japan’s direct control contributed to its success. International conflicts tended to stimulate the Japanese economy until the devastation at the end of World War II. The Russo-Japanese War (1904-5), World War I (1914–18), the Korean War (1950–53), and the Second Indochina War (1954–75) brought economic booms to Japan. In addition, benign treatment from the United States after World War II facilitated the nation’s reconstruction and growth.

 

1980s

Throughout the 1970s, Japan had the world’s second largest gross national product (GNP)—just behind the United States— and ranked first among major industrial nations in 1990 in per capita GNP at US,801, up sharply from US,068 in 1980. After a mild economic slump in the mid-1980s, Japan’s economy began a period of expansion in 1986 that continued until it again entered a recessionary period in 1992. Economic growth averaging 5% between 1987 and 1989 revived industries, such as steel and construction, which had been relatively dormant in the mid-1980s, and brought record salaries and employment. In 1992, however, Japan’s real GNP growth slowed to 1.7%. Even industries such as automobiles and electronics that had experienced phenomenal growth in the 1980s entered a recessionary period in 1992. The domestic market for Japanese automobiles shrank at the same time that Japan’s share of the United States’ market declined. Foreign and domestic demand for Japanese electronics also declined, and Japan seemed on the way to losing its leadership in the world semiconductor market to the United States, Korea and Taiwan.

 

Japanese post-war technological research was carried out for the sake of economic growth rather than military development. The growth in high-technology industries in the 1980s resulted from heightened domestic demand for high-technology products and for higher living, housing, and environmental standards; better health, medical, and welfare opportunities; better leisure-time facilities; and improved ways to accommodate a rapidly aging society. This reliance on domestic consumption also meant that consumption grew by only 2.2% in 1991 and at the same rate again in 1992

 

During the 1980s, the Japanese economy shifted its emphasis away from primary and secondary activities (primarily agriculture, manufacturing, and mining) to processing, with telecommunications and computers becoming increasingly vital. Information became an important resource and product, central to wealth and power. The rise of an information-based economy was led by major research in highly sophisticated technology, such as advanced computers. The selling and use of information became very beneficial to the economy. Tokyo became a major financial centre, home of some of the world’s major banks, financial firms, insurance companies, and the world’s largest stock exchange, the Tokyo Securities and Stock Exchange. Even here, however, the recession took its toll. In 1992, the Nikkei 225 stock average began the year at 23,000 points, but fell to 14,000 points in mid-August before leveling off at 17,000 by the end of the year.

 

1989 Economic Bubble: Enter the Lost Decades.

In the decades following World War II, Japan implemented stringent tariffs and policies to encourage the people to save their income. With more money in banks, loans and credit became easier to obtain, and with Japan running large trade surpluses, the yen appreciated against foreign currencies. This allowed local companies to invest in capital resources much more easily than their competitors overseas, which reduced the price of Japanese-made goods and widened the trade surplus further. And, with the yen appreciating, financial assets became very lucrative.

 

With so much money readily available for investment, speculation was inevitable, particularly in the Tokyo Stock Exchange and the real estate market. The Nikkei stock index hit its all-time high on December 29, 1989 when it reached an intra-day high of 38,957.44 before closing at 38,915.87. The rates for housing, stocks, and bonds rose so much that at one point the government issued 100-year bonds. Additionally, banks granted increasingly risky loans.

 

At the height of the bubble, real estate values were extremely over-valued. Prices were highest in Tokyo’s Ginza district in 1989, with choice properties fetching over US.5 million per square meter (9,000 per square foot). Prices were only slightly less in other areas of Tokyo. By 2004, prime “A” property in Tokyo’s financial districts had slumped and Tokyo’s residential homes were a fraction of their peak, but still managed to be listed as the most expensive real estate in the world. Trillions were wiped out with the combined collapse of the Tokyo stock and real estate markets.

 

With Japan’s economy driven by its high rates of reinvestment, this crash hit particularly hard. Investments were increasingly directed out of the country, and Japanese manufacturing firms lost some degree of their technological edge. As Japanese products became less competitive overseas, it is believed that the low consumption rate began to bear on the economy, causing a deflationary spiral.

 

The easily obtainable credit that had helped create and engorge the real estate bubble continued to be a problem for several years to come, and as late as 1997, banks were still making loans that had a low guarantee of being repaid.

The time after the bubble’s collapse, which occurred gradually rather than catastrophically, is known as the “lost decade or end of the century” (ushinawareta j?nen) in Japan. The Nikkei 225 stock index eventually bottomed out at 7603.76 in April 2003, moved upward to a new peak of 18,138 in June 2007, before resuming a downward trend. The downward movement in the Nikkei is likely due to global as well as national economic problems.

 

Japan’s problem are two fold: an intractable credit crisis which has inadvertently derailed the Japanese economy and a thinning labour force characterized by a fast aging population with a corresponding low birth rate that makes the prospect of replenishing the graying labour force harder to achieve.

 

The core problem of Japan is that it suffers from a gross misallocation of resources both financial and human. Japan has long kept the cost of capital low, to boost investment or help struggling companies. Since the financial crisis started, bureaucratic organs such as the Innovation Network Corporation (INC) of Japan and the Enterprise Turnaround Initiative Corporation (ETIC) have been allocated over billion to revive ailing corporations. A good example of the misallocation of credit issue was the choice by ETIC of aiding a wireless operator which operates on archaic technology.

 

This is what can be described as “unnatural selection”, in Japan by agencies or lenders charged with the responsibility of providing credit to corporations that require funds. There exist perverse incentives for the allocating credit to needless sections of industry. The system almost guarantees that fresh capital goes to the losers of yester years. And because struggling companies rarely die, new ones do not form. Japan’s bankruptcy rate is half America’s; and the rate at which it creates new firms is only a third as high. Japanese venture capitalists are few. Japan’s bureaucratic allocation of credit seldom spurs animal spirits, instead it breeds zombies.

 

Japanese banks’ practice of continually extending credit to very weak or even insolvent firms. In Japan’s bank-centred economy, where banks often have the responsibility for corporate monitoring and governance, many lending decisions are strongly influenced by perceived duty to support troubled firms, rather than an objective, non-biased credit risk assessment, such as what is obtained in other developed economies. Both government policy and bank regulations in Japan actually encourage banks to keep extending credit to problematic borrowers, which is unofficially known as “evergreening of credit”.

 

Japanese banks fund firms to enable the firms make interest payments on outstanding loans, and thus avoid, or at least delay, bankruptcy. This practice allows the banks to have healthier “mirage” looking balance sheets, because the banks report fewer problem loans and make smaller loan loss provisions. The evergreening of bank loans for debt servicing purposes was widespread. With banks more likely to increase loans to firms with weaker financial health. With such practice widespread, banks had more incentives to extend additional credit to troubled firms with loans already outstanding as those same banks’ reported risk-based capital ratios neared their required capital ratios. What mattered most was the need to have a good appearance than the reality of best practices and adequate capital.

 

A second factor was, corporate connections made it even more likely that banks will extend such credit. Third, government-controlled banks were also more likely to increase loans to financially weak firms. Finally, the only firms that were not under pressure to evergreen loans to the weakest firms were non-affiliated, non-bank lenders. The evergreening of loans in Japan clearly insulated many troubled firms from market forces this may have prevented a bank credit crunch as at that time, instead it made economic problems worse by promoting the allocation of an increasing share of bank credit to many firms least likely to use it.

 

The pertinent question any observer would be forced to ask is: was there any regulator or were there no regulations to check such practices, or was there an apparent lack of foresight as to where such practices would eventually bring the Japanese economy to?

Japan had its own banking regulator as is definitely the practice. Forbearance by bank regulators had allowed the banks to neglect restructuring of non-financial firms.

 

Enter the Amakudari: “descent from heaven.”

The term’s literal meaning “descent from heaven” refers to the descent of the Shinto gods from heaven to earth. In modern usage, it refers to the upper echelons of civil service, the civil servants are seen as the deities, and the earth is the private sector corporations.

The amakudari phenomenon partly explains the apparent weakness of Japanese regulators and regulations from preventing the initial factors that led to the present economic woes faced by Japan. Amakudari is the institutionalized practice in Japan, where Japanese senior bureaucrats retire to high profile positions in the private and public sectors. The practice is inherently corrupt and it is a drag on efforts to break the ties between private sector and the state which prevents economic and political reform.

 

Reforming the reformer (scrapping amakudari)

The relationship that exists between these senior bureaucrats and their former junior colleagues who would have replaced them fosters blind loyalty such as what is obtainable in the ranks of mobsters. It is in Japan’s best interest to break the blind loyalty between the regulators and the regulators, efforts at reform should first target institutional and cultural practices that sustain the greater and familiar economic crisis.

Amakudari and any of its variant (e.g. Yokosuberi or “sideslip” that is retiring to jobs at other government organizations) should be completely abolished. Such practices have proven over time to promote risky business practices. Regulations and proactive regulators are essential to healthy economic growth and sustenance. Japan lacks both because of those the descended from heaven. It is only wise to shut the gates of heaven before Japan is finally ruined by these angels. This will provide the vital first step which would ensure that other measures being muted by experts and economists will eventually get to be fully implemented without prejudice or interference that has always sabotaged such expert opinions.

The seniority and gender issues

Japanese society is one deeply built on respect and age based seniority. This has made Japan lose its knack for getting the best out of its human capital. Despite the superb literacy of its people, the cultural requirement of respect for seniority means that promotions go to the older, not the most able. Young executives with good ideas refrain from speaking up. Retiring presidents are also kept as chairmen or advisers, making it hard for the new boss to undo his predecessor’s mistakes. A rising executive at a big trading house says he was counselled by his seniors to keep his views hidden if he wanted to get on. Half of Japan’s talent is squandered. Only 8% of managers are female, compared with 40% in America and even China’s 20%. A manager at one of Tokyo’s biggest conglomerates says that 70% of qualified job applicants are women, but fewer than 10% are hired, since the work conditions may require visits to factories and mines, where they might perspire in an unladylike way.

Japan is also remarkably “racist” it maintains one of the purest race on earth with very few inter racial marriages. Japan is also not favourably disposed to foreigners and migrants. This has deprived it of the cheap labour offered by migrant workers seeking better living conditions. Instead, it has had to outsource manufacturing to other locations that offer cheap labour, whereas it could have exploited such cheap labour within its boarders. Bosses grouse that the young Japanese eschew overseas posts; even a foreign-ministry official confides that Japanese diplomats prefer to stay at home.

In an attempt to kick-start the Japanese economy again, the government of Japan took a cue from industrial-policy books of old. The trade ministry released a comprehensive new “growth strategy” which identified scores of vibrant sectors meriting government assistance, from overseas construction to attracting medical tourists and migrant workers. The report called for hundreds of reform, very extensive reform in some cases. But the bureaucratic egg heads responsible for drafting the report were promptly drafted to other jobs just a month later. Leaving observers in doubt about the sincerity of the government to implement the outcome of the reports.

This is a clear example of how the old static and “changeophile” Japan scuttles the new. Japan knows what is best for it.

References:

Fukao, Kyoji (2007) (PDF). 
Liu, Ta-Chung (1946). China’s National Income 1931-36, An Exploratory Study. The Brookings Institution.
Maddison, Angus (2003). 

Fortune Nwaiwu
The Nigerian Economic Summit Group Limited by Guarantee
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Email: fortune.nwaiwu@nesgroup.org, fortune.nwaiwu@gmail.com
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