Institute for Business in the Global Context

Where the World of Business Meets the World

Month: May 2016

10 Questions: If Cash is Dead, Why is that Fat Wallet Still in My Pocket?

checkcashingAfter more than 2,000 years as king, cash is facing competition. From credit cards to the myriad new payment technologies available today, there are now safer, cheaper, and more accessible payment options for both consumers and businesses. Yet cash continues to hold on. Why? What are the intrinsic benefits of cash that no alternative can provide?

Read more about Fletcher’s original research on the topic:


As part of our “10 Questions” Series, we delve into hard questions of international business not easily answered by a single book, class, discipline, or school of thought. They herald a future where the world and the world of business are ever more interconnected, where decisions can’t be made in a bubble, where real expertise demands deep ‘contextual intelligence.’ This series reflects that contextual intelligence we cultivate in our students in the MIB program.

Goodbye and Good Luck to the MIB Class of 2016!

MIB Class of 2016

MIB Class of 2016

 

Capstones complete, diplomas stamped, and Graduation Day officially behind us, it is now the sad yet exciting time where we get to send the newest Fletcher School alumni — the Master of International Business Class of 2016 — out into the world .  We can’t wait to hear about all of your successes and adventures (maybe feature some of them here on this blog!) in the years to come.

From all of us at IBGC, we wish you nothing but the best!

Who Knows If Robots Will Rob Us Of Our Livelihoods, But They May Help Us Live Longer

Regardless of how our new relationship with automation technologies develops, I am truly excited about the possibility that a certain class of bots might, in fact, make a dramatic difference to our lives – by extending them. A reality of aging societies is that we must contend with an increasing rate of colonoscopies, angioplasties and even nastier procedures. I take great comfort in the musings of the physicist, Richard Feynman, who spoke way back in 1959 of “swallowing” the surgeon as an alternative to all the nastiness.

In other words, bots can do good simply by being good for us.

Read the full piece from Dean Chakravorti at Forbes

The cost of cash isn’t stopping people from using it
by Guy Dixon

More than an inconvenience, the real pressures on physical money is the sheer cost of cash. “For a number of reasons, cash is a drag on the economy. It imposes costs on consumers. It imposes costs on businesses. And most significantly, it imposes costs on the Treasury,” argued Bhaskar Chakravorti, senior associate dean of international business and finance at the Fletcher School at Tufts University in Medford, Mass.

Read the full article on the cost of cash, with quotes from Dean Chakravorti, in The Globe and Mail

10 Questions To Ask Before Trusting The Nabobs Of The Net: Apple, Facebook, Google, Amazon, Uber

The Internet was meant to be a force for democratization, its power drawn from the bottom-up, peers working with each other without mediators. Recall that its origins were in ARPANET, originally funded by DARPA, as a decentralized and distributed collection of networks, without omnipotent hubs that might be vulnerable to attack by foreign powers. Much of the entrepreneurship that has fueled the Internet was bootstrapped out of scrappy locations — dorm rooms, friendly couches, garages — far from the corridors of power.

Yet, the Internet, circa 2016, is far from a digital Woodstock; it is ruled by a handful of omnipotent hubs. While this outcome may seem ironic, in an industry prone to network effects and scale economies, a concentration of market power among a handful of players is entirely natural and should not come as a surprise. What is surprising is how much we trust them and the tradeoffs we make every time we use their products.

Read the full piece from Dean Chakravorti in Forbes

10 Questions: Will Fewer Bridges Go Up When Oil Prices Fall?

Bridge - CROPPEDThere is a burgeoning gap between global infrastructure needs and funding sources. Sovereign wealth funds, government pension funds, and other institutional investors could help bridge that gap. But how resistant are these funds to the highs and lows of oil prices? Can they withstand the volatility of the energy market and underwrite the major infrastructure projects so desperately needed in so many corners of the globe?

Read more about Fletcher’s programming in this area:


As part of our “10 Questions” Series, we delve into hard questions of international business not easily answered by a single book, class, discipline, or school of thought. They herald a future where the world and the world of business are ever more interconnected, where decisions can’t be made in a bubble, where real expertise demands deep ‘contextual intelligence.’ This series reflects that contextual intelligence we cultivate in our students in the MIB program.

How Mark Zuckerberg Can Resolve The Inclusive Innovator’s Dilemma

More generally, innovation in doing well while doing good is a growing trend among businesses seeking new markets in the developing world. Our research and conference initiative on this issue, conducted in collaboration with the Citi Foundation, confirms a growing preference for pursuing such dual objectives over pure philanthropy. For example, when we spoke with Sunny Verghese, founder and CEO of Olam, the agri-business company, he mentioned how pure corporate charity was not popular with shareholders. “But when you tell your shareholders that you are engaging in a variety of developmental initiatives which have some reciprocal value for the company, there are no questions asked,” he says.

Read the full op-ed from Dean Chakravorti in Forbes

Care About People And Planet? Time To Add A Third ‘P’ — Profit

The entrepreneurial nature of business makes it a powerful force for problem-solving. As far as I am concerned, all points of intersection between entrepreneurial business and the wider context is fair game: geo-politics, economic development, international and national security, climate change, technological shifts, humanitarian issues, war and peace. It is time we recognized that the world of business must engage directly with the world – for the benefit of both. The power of ideas at this intersection has captured my imagination.

Read the full op-ed from Dean Chakravorti in Forbes