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Thursday, November 12, 2009

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The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 was indeed such a powerful symbolic milestone of a new age it is hard to overestimate in terms of its global impact. History was made and not only in theory but a real life. During the euphoric sometimes turbulent early years of the new age the new NATO allies in Central Europe were immediately tested by the Balkan war and in the meantime the European Union became ready for the new members finally creating a unified market of 470 million people larger in numbers than the US. I know from the events in my home country Hungary the economic landscape changed entirely and the conditions of the market economy became the norm with I believe mostly positive results and with controversies, as well. The privatization process of the 90’s provided a once in a lifetime opportunities for many foreign investors to take positions in an expanding market. In some cases it did mean outsourcing that took a toll on jobs in the home countries including the US but at the same time the fresh stream of profit and the access to new markets supported the entire global operation of many companies. As a result the former Eastern Block was soon mostly synchronized into the global economy and provides extended room for manuvering ever since. On the day of the November 9th Conference in Chicago I attended the annual Automotive Outlook of the OESA the Original Equipment Suppliers Association in Detroit. Listening to the the presentations about the struggles and renewal efforts of the automotive industry just comfirmed my feelings about the many possibilities the New Global Economy that was born on November 9th, 1989 offer for the Midwest, as well. One of the presenters of the Outlook was a top executive from Remy, the Pendleton Indiana based automotive supplier and it is obvious the home operation in the US benefits from the developments in their facilities in Hungary. On the other hand Hungary’s current day largest employer General Electric is measuring the idea to close light bulb factories after running them for about 20 years because it might be too expensive to retool the production lines overseas so who knows maybe the pendulum swings back and jobs will be created in the US. It is still negotiated and the result is obviously due to corporate strategy and top level decision making. My point is only to join to those who believe the new global economy offers partnerships and opportunities for sometimes struggling regions of the Midwest and the initiatives including this new blog deserve a lot of credit.

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