There is an ancient Chinese curse that says, “May you live in interesting times.” Looking back on the seismic events that occurred at the close of this last decade who could have imagined that Lehman Brothers would crumble, that home foreclosures would become routine in America's neighborhoods, or that the American automobile industry would suddenly rely on government programs like “cash for clunkers” to stay in business. Having experienced a global economic meltdown of a magnitude not seen since the Great Depression, there can be little doubt that we are indeed living in interesting times.
Shipping Point: “A disaster is a terrible thing to waste.”
The global financial crisis touched everyone and everything, in ways that were unimaginable just a short time ago. When a speaker at a recent logistics conference was asked by a member of the audience how the shipping industry was performing “aside from the disastrous global economy,” the speaker paused, and then replied, “You mean, aside from the shooting Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?”1 It is near impossible to define any business situation today without relating it back to the turmoil experienced over the past two years.
During the peak of the crisis the once touted benefits of globalization, free trade, and the free flow of capital were increasingly scrutinized and in some cases vilified. Theories around de-globalization became increasingly popular, and protectionist policies found ...