Politician is a bad word; Politicians are dirty. Yale World Fellows Forum today is rethinking “Culture, Entrepreneurship and Politicians” at Yale Law School. The Forum examines the relations of people, corporation and sustainability, particularly in Africa. Fellows argue the issues relating to democratization and the international political economy, how women lead differently, and its ideological evolution.
“Politics belong to people. Never launch a missile from a canoe. It will backfire itself.” Norbert Mao from Uganda comments at the Forum while others advocate leaders should start with community services as social leaders before becoming political leaders to foster political engagement. Capital, both human and physical, is a major element in facilitating country's economic growth. In the context of globalization, which is impossible to disappear, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is a scare resource; it is important to probe into the nature of foreign investment decision-making. Historical cases depict how the politicians of the governments responded to sophisticated foreign investors, and how they interacted with each other strategically.
For examples, CNOOC's (China National Offshore Oil Corporation) withdrawal of its $18.5 billion offer for Unocal Corp; China's Anshan Iron & Steel Group's cancellation of its agreement with U.S. Steel Development Corporation; and Huawei's acquisition exit of U.S. 3Leaf. The interplay between globalization and nationalism as presented in these examples, which are not limited to China, demonstrates the balance of two forces—namely, centrifugal and centripetal forces. The multinational companies empower the force of globalization to the extent that nationalism nearly has no impact. In contrary, nationalism backs up the governments, with the consent of the politicians in the process far beyond the control of globalization.
At “Rethink Africa” session, a Yale World Fellow recalls the Director of the Program, Michael Cappello’s recent involvement with the mission in Africa. “Michael did not pay me to say this but I must say Michael is an excellent, excellent Ambassador.” He commented, “It is about the technical governance.” In general, the governments receive FDI are categorized as governing bodies of developing countries. It is a frightening concept to the opponents of globalization; indeed, it forces a nation to open its psychological as well as geographic borders so as to push outwards toward all the countries. On the other hand, the centripetal force of a nation pulls a country inward toward its own national identity. The balance of these two forces can be attained rather automatically.
Some literatures on foreign investment decision-making tend to look on foreign investors as simple, opportunistic maximizers. However, politicians or governments can be opportunistic as well. Foreign investors, once detect they were cheated in one round, would “punish” the host government by reducing foreign investment far below its optimal point. Therefore, the interaction between government (politician)and investment is complex and sophisticated, particularly in the area of involving national security and views on defining the term “national secrets”. Emerging markets has under-investment in capital and technological know-how; they differentiate themselves from the industrial nations and counterparts in terms of policy regulations and legislative frameworks. The lawmakers’ roles are to not only promote FDI but also to ensure that informed decisions will be made based on balanced shared interests by stakeholders, both politically and economically, to encourage FDI, and not discourage it, in order to remain or become competitive.