Starbucks, Toys R’ Us, McDonalds, Coke, Nike

What do these big name brands have in common? They are global brands.

When I was growing up I remember my dad saying negative comments about foreign countries taking over our gas stations. I watched a 1980’s rerun of a show with a series of comedians performing and one of them was making fun of the way Japanese people spoke and then said, “If you can’t speak the language then get the F(*$@ out of the country!” The audience applauded and whooped wildly.

When Dell first started using India for phone computer support people didn’t like it. They wanted to speak with someone that spoke English as their first language. When jobs started leaving the US we wanted to shake our fist at large corporations who seemingly only wanted to make more money.

What I found interesting about all of this is that 90% of Americans aren’t educated when it comes to Globalization, Foreign Direct Investment and International Trade. The world is changing so rapidly due to technological advances that we can’t keep up. Why is the dollar weak? Why do corporations outsource? What caused the great depression?

I’m 32 and I only recently heard of the Smoot-Hawley Act and how it affected the Great Depression. I also thought the Great Depression only impacted the US, I had no idea that it was a global phenomenon and that the Smoot Hawley Act of the 1930’s only worsened the depression by limiting international trade.

So why did I mention Starbucks, Toys R’ Us, McDonalds, Coke and Nike in the title of this post? Because they are global corporations that benefit Americans by investing internationally. Americans are so often ethnocentric that we turn our nose up when it comes to international business in America, but what if the rest of the world did the same thing? Starbucks has over 8,400 stores and 2000 of those are in other countries. There are over 150 Toys R’ Us’ in Japan alone, McDonalds has over 31,000 restaurants worldwide employing 1.5 million people and residing in 119 countries. Coke employees close to 90,000 people and they are located in over 200 countries with people consuming 1.5 billion servings per day. And I found this on Nike’s website: As of May 2006, Nike’s three main product engines – footwear, apparel and equipment – used almost 700 contract factories in 52 countries to manufacture all Nike products, employing close to 800,000 workers. It is our mission to make responsible sourcing a business reality that enhances the lives of these workers.

If any country is taking over the world it is the United States. We make the most recognizable products, we are envied around the globe for our freedoms, we are the most innovative and it is because we are made up of people from all over the world. We make the best use of resources from other countries. We have been blessed, but we need to start educating ourselves more on what is happening in our world. We need to work harder, become smarter, keep being creative in an effort to continue to be the best.

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