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This was a speech given at the Thunderbird American Graduate School of International Management. We thank the staff of Thunderbird for their many courtesies during the stay. We were also appreciative of the student body not asking all the hard questions that we couldn't answer. This is a tribute to those students and I hope to visit your school again in the near future.

 

forward

With the advent of cyber-commerce, economic war can now be waged on a scale and with virulence unprecedented in history. The combatants will no longer fly national flags; they may, in fact, be totally anonymous. The authors of this article are convinced that a global economic cataclysm can only be avoided by creating a self-regulating organization (sro) that will give support to harmonizing the resources of multinational corporations with that of nation-states in order to regulate and nurture the evolution of electronic commerce.

The world that predated World War II was primarily isolationist and although treaties abounded, countries just did not want to become involved with each other’s problems and broke their agreements whenever they were faced with a potential crisis. Corporate investments for the most part did not traverse national borders and prohibitive duties and tariffs kept non-essential imports to a minimum. Protectionism reigned supreme.

The Hague was the only Court of last resort for international disputes and although it bore a wondrous reputation, it functioned only when it was politically expedient, which meant in real terms that nothing much happened there at all. globally though, the nations of the world thought that if they stayed at home, kept out international alliances and dug their heads firmly into the sand, the Germans, Japanese and Italians would not notice their presence and they ultimately would go away. Unfortunately, this philosophy historically had only worked for Moles and Ostriches but then again, leaders of the time had never studied zoology.

The war brought a transformation in innumerable things and people learned how to build very significant factories that produced prodigious quantities of product at economies of scale never before dreamed possible. As the darkness of war closed in, luxury goods were shunted aside for the production of munitions, but the theories that Henry Ford brought to the table in automobile production were reinforced during that period in spades. Trade expanded exponentially as allied nations supplied raw materials and finished goods across national borders to help those that were in solidarity with their cause. The world was shocked out of a global depression and bread lines were replaced by assembly lines.

The United States for the most part was not susceptible from attack by its enemies and thus was able to construct a production machine unmatched in the history of civilization. within a reasonably short time after America entered the war, it became evident that between Germany’s over-reaching, America’s production capacity and Britain and Russia’s unbreakable resolve, it would be only a matter of time before preparation must begin for the life after war.

The post war planners were predominantly concerned with one primary consideration, that the destruction that was being wrought on both sides should never be repeated, thus the resurrection of Wilson’s dream, the League of Nations was resuscitated in the form of the United Nations.

World leaders met a place called Bretton Woods and fashioned what they believed would be a new and better world. The United States agreed that they would become the "Sugar Daddy" for a series of novel international economic innovations. Thus, with Uncle Sam footing a good portion of the bill just as they had with the UN, the World Bank was born which was designed to originate and fund infrastructure projects for the betterment of people all over the globe. At the same time "the International Monetary Fund" a lender of last resort, that would come to the aid of economically failing nations was created and almost in concert the grandest scheme of all, the Marshall Plan was initiated to aid in the rebuilding of Europe.

To some, the act represented penance for America’s forsaking the League of Nations and indirectly creating the environment for World War II. Others felt that United States being the only major nation that came out of the massive conflict virtually unscathed, alone, was the solitary entity left that could make order out of chaos, give food to the starving and recreate the European Industry that it had helped to decimate. An act of charity? No in this lifetime if wasn't, America had millions of servicemen returning from that conflict that were entitled to jobs. The factories were bursting with capacity. The world outside the U.S. was clamoring for the goods that only the massive manufacturing potential of the country could provide and yet, there was no money to purchase America’s goods.

In order to avoid the breadlines and soup kitchens that not finding employment for the twelve million returning servicemen and women would create, the powers that be rightly determined to artificially create a market for a product and jobs for our citizens by restoring Europe to its previous vitality with American food, machinery and money. The idea worked to perfection. The IMF lent nations money to get back on their feet, the World Bank built roads, dams and factories to employee a population with no homes to go to, know food to eat and no jobs to earn a living at. The Marshal Plan gave the nations food, machinery and hope.

America’s factories could now turn to the production of both luxuries and necessities, for the restocking a civilization that had not had either the money to buy nor the production to create goods since the 1920’s.

 

MULTINATIONAL ENDNOTES

 

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