Global commerce thrives during peacetime. The economic boom in North America during the late 1990s was in large part due to the end of the Cold war and the opening of the formerly communist countries to the world trading system. However, we should also understand the important role that trade and international marketing play in producing peace.
Boeing Company, America’s exporter, is perhaps the most prominent example. Although many would argue that Boeing’s military sales (aircraft and missiles) do not exactly promote peace, over the years that business has constituted only about 20 per cent of the company’s commercial activity. Up until 2002, of Boeing’s some $60 billion in annual revenues, about 65 per cent came from sales of commercial jets around the world and another 15 per cent from space and communications technologies. Its more than 11,000 commercial jets in service around the world carry about one billion travellers per year. Its NASA Services division is the lead contractor in the construction and operation of the 16 country international Space Station, first manned by an American and two Russians in the fall of 2000. The Space and intelligence Systems Division also produces and launches communications satellites affecting people in every country.
All the activity associated with the development, production, and marketing of commercial aircraft and space vehicles requires millions of people from around the world to work together. Moreover, no company does more to enable people from all countries to meet face to face for both recreation and commerce. All this interaction yields not just the mutual gain associated with business relationships but also personnel relationships and mutual understanding. The latter is the foundation of global peace and prosperity.
Another class of companies that promotes global dialogue and therefore peace is the mobile phone industry. During 2005 more than 700 million new mobile phones were purchased around the world connecting more than one quarter of all people on the planet. Nokia (Finland) the market leader, is well ahead of American manufacturer Motorola Samsung (S Korea), LG Siemens (Germany), and Sony Ericsson (Japan/ Sweden).
Individuals and small companies also make a difference, perhaps a subtler one than large multinational companies, but one just as important in the aggregate.
A company is created that combines basil pesto from Israel with other raw materials and glass jar supplied by an Arab partner to produce the first product in a line he calls Moshe & Ali’s Gourmet Foods. The company now sells some 60 products in 3,000 stores in the US and has its headquarters on Park Avenues in New York and business operations in Israel, Egypt, Indonesia, Turkey Sri Lanka and South Africa. Again, beyond the measurable commercial benefits of cooperation between the involved Arabs, Israelis, and others is the longer lasting and more fundamental appreciation for one another’s circumstances and character.
International marketing is hard work. Making sales calls is no vacation even in Paris when you’ve been there 10 times before. But international marketing is important work. It can enrich you, your family, your company and your country. And ultimately when international marketing is done well, by large companies or small, the needs and wants of customers in other lands are well understood and prosperity and peace are promoted along the way.
Never before in American history have US businesses large and small, been involved in and affected by international business. A global economic boom, unprecedented in modern economic history, has been under way as the drive for efficiency, productivity and open unregulated markets sweeps the world. Powerful economic, technological, industrial, political, and demographic forces are converging to build the foundation of a new global economic order on which the structure of a one world economic and market system will be built.
After the information technology boom of the late 1990s most did not visualize the high-tech bust of 2001 or the associated Enron and WorldCom scandals. No one could have imagined the September 11, 2001 disasters not even the perpetrators. Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were not on the horizon. The major international conflict grabbing headlines then was of diplomatic dustups among China, Taiwan, and the United States. Who could have predicted the disruptions associated with the 2003 SARS outbreak in Asia? The great Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 was perhaps impossible to anticipate. Oil at over $60 per barrel was unthinkable then.