In Athens, Greece at the 12th Annual International Conference on Management, presenting my research paper, “America’s Staple Exports and the EU’s Favorite Purchases: Seasonal Trends in Global Exporting of Consumer Durables”
Fact about the paper: Statistics on Consumer Durables, which play a central role in predicting and dictating GNP in both America and Europe, are reported yearly, and this study breaks this data down by season, and found through a cross-sectional analysis that since the 1980’s, purchases generally spike during both the Summer and Fall months.
Country Manufacturing as a % of GDP (Rank of seven countries): 16%, 4th out of 7 (Theodora stats)
Country’s most Important Industries: food and tobacco processing, textiles, chemicals, mining
WWII fact: Athens was occupied by both Italy and Germany during the war, when over 40,000 citizens in the area died from starvation because the city imported a sizable amount of their food and trade came to a halt.
I would have enjoyed taking part a bit more in the Athens conference but had the opportunity to go to Copenhagen to tour the Carlsberg grounds, considered a crown-jewel in Copenhagen, and so that trip cut in to the Athens conference.
The Danish have a history of trade, much like Holland. Former industrial buildings have been transformed and modernized to form the new skyline w/ glass being a popular trend. Copenhagen was the first urban city to restrict cars to streets to bar cars and go pedestrian friendly.
I was able to take a tour through the Carlsberg brewery grounds and production site. Their operations are enormous. Founded in 1847, they’ve made some important strategic decisions over the years to survive and thrive. They first started exporting in 1868. Although many Americans aren’t aware of the brand, it’s slowly making inroads into the American market. The company has developed a brand image throughout Europe largely due to their sponsorships of soccer events including the European championship, which is the second most prestigious tournament, next to the World Cup. The truck in the photo below is one of the first trucks to transport the product around the country, when the infrastructure of the country didn’t necessitate high speeds for cargo. Currently, they are the 5th largest brewery in the world.
The country tends to have quite a bit of nationalism and Carlsberg is their local company that still employs many Danish in the country. Recent reports indicate that the company has nearly 47,000 employees, many of which are Danish. Local buy-in is often an important ingredient for international industry to rely upon as a cash cow before investments can be solicited for global investment. Below is a display at the airport. The Danish are emotionally invested in this product, just like many in St. Louis and beyond are emotionally invested in Anheuser Busch.
Another key industrial power in Denmark is the Lundbeck company. The company’s core competency is R&D related to pharmaceuticals. I spoke to a few employees who were able provide some insight as to their operational efficiencies. Of their 6,000 worldwide empoyees, 1/3 are Danish. The company invests 20% of profits back into R&D, which is mostly contained in the domestic market. Lexapro and Sabril are among their products. Like many successful international industrialists, they rely heavily upon American consumers for their profits.
On to Athens. Democracy, philosophy, and theatre all originated here. Athens is truly the epicenter of many capitalistic viewpoints that we Americans hold dear. Today, the Greeks manufacture 16 percent of all merchant shipping. I’ve been to Athens before and they truly have an interesting culture. IMO, the culture is very nationalistic and devoted to one another. Even when Greek communities immigrate to America, they hold dear to their beliefs and pass it on from generation to generation. I had the privilege of being a camp counselor in a Greek camp for 4 years in Seattle and it was an important component of my personal depiction of Greek culture. Below shows my the context of my presentation.
Athens is the cradle of Western civilization including democracy and it’s one of the world’s oldest cities. Greece became members of the EC in 1982 and adopted the Euro 20 years later. However, budget issues have plagued them and they have consequently spread around the EU in a negative fashion. The Greek economy was in the center of many debt crisis of the EU and were forced to issue “austerity” measures upon their government. This brought about debate upon the merits of “austerity”, government mandates to decrease spending or increase taxes.
It was a short trip because I was able to gain access to the side-trip to Copenhagen, Denmark. Part of the fun of these conferences is the ability to gain cultural insight into another’s world, or in this case academic world. Unfortunately, the schedule dictated a brief Greek adventure and much of the collegial interaction was not as fruitful as it might have been during a less-dense itinerary.
The “A” hotel had an unbelievable view of the Parthenon on its urban terrace.
The Acropolis, which is considered to be the world’s most noteworthy ancient site, as well as the Parthenon which sits atop.