Monday, April 23, 2012

Three articles of interest

Yesterday's NY Times had several things worth reading.  A front-page article details bribery by Wal-mart in Mexico.  If accurate, there can be serious repurcussions for the company and its executives.  The company has faced criticisms from many for labor practices and for driving out of business smaller, local firms before, but this will inflame sentiment against the company even more.  Another concern may be the company's actions in China.  I am unaware of any legal issues, but the Chinese system is pretty corrupt and the opportunity to gain market share through favors to key bureaucrats exists there as well. Hopefully, the problem Wal-mart had was with the Mexican leadership and not company wide.

A column by Frank Bruni shows the effects of austerity in Portugal through grafitti on buildings there.  The use of debt to prosper for awhile comes back to haunt both people and countries in many ways.  It is a sobering examination of the aftershocks of prosperity through debt.
Finally, an  op-ed piece that brings us to China.  Nicholas Kriftof discusses the scandal in China around Bo Xilai.  He suggests, and I find it likely to be true, that it is an indication of more widespread problems in China.  American firms face a quandry--the market is so big it cannot be ignored but the potential problems are also huge.

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