Archive for the ‘globalization’ Category

Coffee War in China

November 15, 2011

Coffee War in China

Starbucks opened its first coffeehouse in the People’s Republic of China in 1999. It just opened its 500th java joint there and plans to open another thousand by 2015.

But let a thousand coffee shops bloom. True to the market principles of 21st century China, the British chain Costa Coffee is expanding into the country as well. Will this mean the War of the Beans?

Coffee is a pretty hard sell in China, where tea has been king for 5000 years.  There are other challenges, too. Not only does coffee need explanation, so does milk.

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Short link: http://wp.me/p6sb6-bxE
Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Icelandic Exodus

April 14, 2010

Icelandic Exodus

More people left Iceland in 2009 than in any year since 1887. Some of those who remain line up in charity food lines. A country can expect this after its economy becomes “zombulated” by unregulated financial institutions and a right-wing, laissez-faire government.  In the words of current Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir, “the ideology of an unregulated free market utterly failed.”

More:

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Holiday Edition

February 15, 2010

Holiday Edition

Much of the USA is observing Lincoln and Cadillac’s Birthday Presidents Day Washington’s Birthday today.  Here at NotionsCapital, we still haven’t recovered form Valentine’s Day and the Chinese New Year.

Happy Year of the Tiger to one and all.

 

Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Dear Occupant: Season’s Greetings

December 26, 2009

Season's Greetings: Santa's Spreadsheet

Santa has returned to the Polar Fulfillment Center. If you think you have received a coal delivery in error, please call Customer Support between 0800 and 1700 hrs IST (Mumbai time). 

Image (“Santa’s Spreadsheet, after Haddon Sundblom”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

 

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2009 Air Guitar World Title Goes to France

August 22, 2009

2009 Air Guitar World Title Goes to France

Frenchman Sylvain Quimene (aka “Gunther Love”) won the 2009 Air Guitar World Championship in Oulu,  Finland yesterday. Clad in a skin-tight gold leotard, his imaginary instrumental antics impressed judges, who awarded him a decisive 35.1 points on the tough International Air Guitar Scale. Last year’s World Champ, American Craig “Hot Lixx Hulahan” Billmeier, and 2009 U.S. titleholder Andrew “William Ocean” Litz shared second place with 34.8 points. Other competitors hailed from Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Great Britain, Brazil, New Zealand, France, Taiwan, Switzerland, Romania, Australia, Russia, Belgium and Canada.

Here is a video of  Monsieur Quimene nailing the French Air Guitar championship back in June:

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Glorious Joint Venture Feeds the Masses

July 17, 2009

Glorious Joint Venture Feeds the Masses

If you get hungry driving around China, head your Hummer to McDonald’s. The global burger joint has 1,000 outlets in the People’s Republic, plans for 500 more, and a deal with state-owned Sinopec to open restaurants at some of their 30,000 gas stations.

No wheels? No worries. Some of China’s Mickey Ds deliver (try the Mala Pork Burger at the new low price).

McDonald’s plans envision 5,000 to 10,000 restaurants in the nation of 1.3 billion.

 

The fellow in the yellow suit is a registered trademark of McDonalds, used here under the satire provisions of the Fair Use Doctrine. NotionsCapital received no promotional consideration for this, not even a Red Bean Pie.

Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

The Ink is Red

June 2, 2009

The Ink is Red

However much the reactionaries try to hold back the wheel of history, sooner or later revolution will take place and will inevitably triumph. — Mao Zedong, November 6, 1957

The General Motors Corporation has agreed to sell it’s Hummer division to Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Company Ltd. of the People’s Republic of China. Terms have not been released, but the sale should be closed by the end of September.

Diligence and frugality should be practised in running factories and shops …. — Mao Zedong, 1955

GM filed for bankruptcy protection Monday morning, and needs the money. Essentially, the company has been nationalized, as the U.S. government now owns sixty percent of General Motors. Sichuan Tengzhong, based in Chengdu, is a private corporation.

 Factories can only be built one by one. — Mao Zedong, November 18, 1957

Some GM plants in the U.S. will continue building Hummers — for Sichuan Tengzhong — for a least a year.

 

Note: Military Humvees are built by AM General, not GM; quotations are from the new Hummer Owner’s Manual; the title of this post alludes to a Chinese folk song that became a patriotic march and then an anthem associated with the Cultural Revolution.

Image (Hum-Mao) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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The Shoes Hurled ‘Round the World

December 22, 2008

The Shoes Hurled 'Round the World

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Mike Licht was home on Capitol Hill the evening of Sunday, December 14th, when a symbolic protest in Baghdad drew him into a 21st century semiotic cyclone of soaring shoes:

Catching up with email before turning in, I read reports of a Green Zone “press conference,” a pseudo-event designed to make lemonade from the bitter fruit of the George W. Bush presidency. Mr. Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki decorated the room with flags, flowers, and members of the press corps, but one working reporter, Muntader al-Zaidi, refused to be used as a stage prop, and gave Mr. Bush a reality check by chucking shoes at him.

I wrote a brief post on the incident and mashed up a graphic to illustrate it, Mr. Bush’s face on the sole of a shoe atop patriotic bunting. I uploaded the image to flickr and published the completed post to the NotionsCapital weblog.

The next morning’s email pointed me to a photo on the Web, the image from my blog post, a few hours old, printed on a large banner, hanging on a building in a city center on another continent (above).

Welcome to the 21st century.

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Questions About This Car?

December 13, 2008

covini-c6w

 This is Italy’s Covini C6W sportscar, voted one of the ten ugliest non-US cars of 2008 by Jalopnik. Compared to entries from India and France, this car looks almost normal — until you open the doors.

At this point you must have five questions:

1. Around 185 mph

2. Price TBD

3.  Jalopnik‘s Ten Ugliest US cars of 2008? Click here.

4. Ugliest car of 2008? The Mitsuoka Orochi. Ray Wert thinks the Orochi “is what happens when you let a sushi chef design a car using his favorite fish as inspiration.”  The orochi is a mythical Japanese eight-headed serpent, and much cuter.

The answer to your remaining question is found after the jump.

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Björk Explains It All To You

October 30, 2008

Björk Explains It All To You

Icelandic singer Björk Guðmundsdóttir (oldsters know her from the Sugarcubes) wrote an Op-Ed in Tuesday’s Times of London linking Iceland’s financial crisis with an incipient ecological danger. If you haven’t been paying attention, Iceland is the worst-case scenario for financial deregulation; its financial services companies borrowed ten or twelve times the value the country’s entire money supply. The notes are due, the banks are closed, the currency is worthless, and the island nation cannot import goods.

The choice of the Timesis important. British depositors had savings in Icelandic on-line banks, and cannot access their funds. Icelandic companies bought British firms, and the U.K. government has seized these assets under an anti-terrorism law.

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