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International Business

303
Margaret Hutchins
Liberty University Online
Spring 2015

Contents
Discussion Board Threads..................................................................................................3
Requirements..................................................................................................................3
Thread 1 – Global Management......................................................................................3
Thread 2 – International Trade Patterns..........................................................................5
Thread 3 – International Monetary Fund (IMF)................................................................7
Thread 4 – Decentralization............................................................................................9
Discussion Board Replies.................................................................................................11
Requirements................................................................................................................11
Reply 1a – Globalization................................................................................................11
Reply 1b – Hofstede’s Dimensions of Culture...............................................................12
Reply 2a – Developing Nations.....................................................................................13
Reply 2b – Human Development Index (HDI)...............................................................13
Reply 3a – World Bank..................................................................................................14
Reply 3b – Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM)............................14
Reply 4a – Operations Management.............................................................................15
Reply 4b – Location.......................................................................................................15
Faith Integration Threads.................................................................................................16
Requirements................................................................................................................16
Thread 1 – Different Worldviews...................................................................................16
Thread 2 – Loving your Neighbor..................................................................................17
Thread 3 – IMF..............................................................................................................18
Thread 4 – Personal Experience....................................................................................19
Faith and Integration Replies............................................................................................20
Requirements................................................................................................................20
Reply 1a – Different Worldviews...................................................................................20
Reply 1b – Worldview and Culture................................................................................20
Reply 2a – Risk..............................................................................................................21
Reply 2b – Risk..............................................................................................................21
Reply 3a – King Solomon and International Trade........................................................22
Reply 3b – Regional Economic Integration....................................................................22
Reply 4a – Golden Rule and Total Quality Management (TQM).....................................23
Reply 4b – Golden Rule and TQM..................................................................................23

Discussion Board Threads
Requirements


Definition of selected keyword (from list provided by instructor)
200+ word summary and discussion of relevant, recently published article
At least 3 annotated references

Thread 1 – Global Management
Topic: Characteristics of Successful Global Business Professional, 300 words.

Definition
The phrase “characteristics of the successful global business professional” refers to the
traits, attitudes, and practices that enable a business professional to perform well in the
modern global business environment.

Summary
For this assignment, I chose to review Sly Barasic’s article “5 Tips for Managing a
Company from the Other Side of the World” (2014). In this article, the author gives
recommendations for international management based on his experience as a CEO
living in the United States while managing a team in Croatia. The five practices he
discusses are:




Communicate clearly and often.
Bridge the distance with technology.
Embrace cultural differences.
Leverage partnerships and ask for help.
Create and maintain relationships (Barasic, 2014).

Discussion
In this section, I would like to expand on the original article by offering my perspective
on each of the five areas listed above.
Communication. This is one of the most important ingredients to a successful career,
whether domestic or international. Working in a global environment makes it especially
necessary to be able to communicate effectively with people of different sociocultural
and/or professional backgrounds.
Technology. In the context of management, technology is not only a tool for performing
calculations or gathering information, but also a means of cultivating productive
relationships. It should be employed to support and streamline the extensive networking
processes that have to take place in global teams.
Plurality. Global business is all about adapting. The global professional has to be flexible
and willing to tolerate, work with, and integrate different perspectives, methods, and
customs.
Partnerships. These are not only for sticky situations: collaborative relationships can
represent great opportunities to innovate and stay ahead of the competition (Vitasek,
2015.)

Relationships. In today’s personality-focused and network-driven world, positive
personal relationships are critical to professional success. As more companies move
towards a lean, project-oriented structure, there will be an increasing demand for
professionals with excellent teamwork, communication, and leadership skills.

References
Barisic, Sly. (2014, September 9). 5 tips for managing a company from the other side of
the world. Entrepreneur. Retrieved from http://www.entrepreneur.com
See the Summary section above.
Ellis, Georgia. (2014, August 4). 7 tips to make working overseas less painful.
Entrepreneur. Retrieved from http://www.entrepreneur.com
This article gives advice to help global professionals reduce the stress that
comes with working in a foreign country.
Mandell, Paul. (2014, November 13). Here is how to make your international team feel
like part of the family. Entrepreneur. Retrieved from http://www.entrepreneur.com
This article covers some of the same themes as Barisic’s article in relation to the
process of international expansion.
Vitasek, Kate. (2015, January 13). Innovation and collaboration: It’s not an either-or
proposition. Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com
I actually came across this article while researching another assignment. It
includes some interesting insights about inter-organizational collaboration.

Thread 2 – International Trade Patterns
250 words

Definition
International trade patterns are the patterns that are formed by the flow of goods and
services across international borders.

Summary
The article I chose to review for this thread is "5 Takeaways from the WTO's World Trade
Report" by Wall Street Journal reporter William Mauldin. The article summarizes the
World Trade Organization’s analysis of international trade patterns in 2014.

Discussion
In this section, I will list the 5 takeaways from Mauldin (2014), supported by a few
observations I’ve gathered from additional research.
1. Europe is disappointing. Employment and trade continue to stagnate in Europe
(Mauldin, 2014), and Germany seems to be the only European country that has
experienced a significant increase in exports (OECD, 2015).
2. The U.S. is a bright spot. U.S. imports rose 3.4% and exports rose 2.8% during
2014, and trade in USD also increased (OECD, 2015).
3. Emerging markets keep chugging along. Although there are some concerns about
the stability of emerging market countries, growth is expected to continue for the
Middle East, Asia, and Eastern Europe (Mauldin, 2014). China in particular
achieved a substantial 5.3% growth in exports in 2014 (OECD, 2015).
4. China is changing. Although China’s imports grew by only 0.6% in 2014 (OECD,
2015), it has now achieved the status of the world’s second largest importer,
probably because of the increasing consumerism in the country (Mauldin, 2014).
5. Watch out for Russia. Western sanctions have weakened Russia’s economy,
resulting in large drops in both imports and exports throughout 2014 (OECD,
2014a, 2014b, 2014c, 2015). Other countries that experienced significant drops
during 2014 include Brazil (OECD, 2015), Japan (OECD, 2015), South Africa
(OECD, 2014a, 2014b), and Thailand (Mauldin, 2014).

References
Mauldin, William. (2014, October 20). 5 takeaways from the WTO’s World Trade Report.
[Blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.blogs.wsj.com/briefly
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. (2014, May 27).
International trade statistics: Trends in first quarter 2014. [Press release].
Retrieved from http://www.oecd.org
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. (2014, September 10).
International trade statistics: Trends in second quarter 2014. [Press release].
Retrieved from http://www.oecd.org
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. (2014, November 27).
International trade statistics: Trends in third quarter 2014. [Press release].
Retrieved from http://www.oecd.org

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. (2015, February 26).
International trade statistics: Trends in fourth quarter 2014. [Press
release].
Retrieved from http://www.oecd.org

Thread 3 – International Monetary Fund (IMF)
350 words.

Definition
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is an organization that works to ensure the
stability of the global monetary system, including the area of international trade,
through loans to member countries, policy surveillance and recommendations, and
capacity development.

Summary
The article I chose to review for this thread is “Lift Growth Today, Tomorrow, Together”
by Christine Lagarde (2015), Managing Director of the IMF. It consists of the text of a
speech prepared for a meeting with the Atlantic Council, and is divided into three main
sections. The first, “Lifting Today’s Growth,” outlines the global economic situation,
current risks that need attention, and what the implications are for policy. The second
section, “Lifting Growth Tomorrow,” discusses broader policy directions for long-term
economic benefits, and the third section, “Improving the Way We Work Together,”
presents what the IMF is currently working on to improve the health of the global
economy. For this thread I would like to comment on three major themes that I observed
throughout the article.

Discussion
The first theme is the interconnectedness of the global economy. The mutual
interconnection and interdependence of the world’s nations are key aspects of today’s
global culture. For the financial/economic sphere, this means that the economic actions
and achievements in each nation have an effect on the global economy, as Lagarde
(2015) emphasizes.
The second theme is the “new mediocre.” Currently, the growth of the global economy
is holding steady at a moderate, reasonable level; however, Lagarde (2015) seeks to
explain why that’s not enough. Her reasons include: the existence of other negative
economic factors, such as high unemployment, that will cause problems later if left
unattended; the instability of many nations’ economic situations, which poses a high
risk for the global economy; and the lack of attention towards investment and policy
actions for long-term economic productivity (Lagarde, 2015).
The third theme is a culturally holistic view of sustainable economic development. The
IMF recognizes both that a country’s financial scenario is just a part of its overall
national situation, and that a country’s financial condition is affected by sociocultural
and political factors. Sociocultural issues affect the economy through their impact on
the nation’s workforce, and the political sphere affects the motivation, productivity, and
possibilities for the nation’s businesses. In light of these observations, the IMF considers
it a “core area” of their work to address sociocultural and political issues through policy
advice and analysis (Lagarde, 2015).

References
International Monetary Fund. (n.d.) About the IMF. International Monetary Fund.
Retrieved from http://www.imf.org

The About page of the IMF website.
Lagarde, C. (2015, April 9). Lift growth today, tomorrow, together. International
Monetary Fund. Retrieved from http://www.imf.org
See Summary Section above.
Sen, A. K. (2015, April 9). Avoiding the ‘New Mediocre.’ Atlantic Council. Retrieved from
http://www.atlanticcouncil.org
From the viewpoint of the Atlantic Council. Contains some interesting information
from the Q&A session with Lagarde.
Reuters. (2015, April 17). HIGHLIGHTS – IMF, World Bank 2015 spring meetings in
Washington on Thursday. Reuters. Retrieved from http://www.reuters.com
Highlights from the beginning of the IMF summit yesterday.

Thread 4 – Decentralization
300 words.

Definition
Decentralization is the redistribution of power and/or functions from a central,
consolidated area to several peripheral areas. ("Decentralization," 2009).

Summary
One of the biggest decentralizing trends in the business world is crowdsourcing –
tapping the resources and ideas of a large group of people rather than relying on an
individual or a small group of individuals. The power behind crowdsourcing – at least,
smart and effective crowdsourcing – is not that it gets other people to do your work for
you but rather that it promotes the development of a culture that is characterized by
openness and “spreadability” (Jenkins, Ford, & Green, 2013). In the article, “Shatter
Today’s Organizational Myths by Crowdsourcing Culture,” Chris Cancialosi (2014)
describes how the process of crowdsourcing can be applied within a company to combat
common managerial myths and improve the organizational culture.

Discussion
Several points stood out to me from Cancialosi’s (2014) article. The first point is that the
“crowd” in crowdsourcing doesn’t always mean the general public: crowdsourcing can
also be applied in a more limited sense to the organization’s employees. This could also
play into organizational strategy because if crowdsourcing is about creating a certain
type of culture, then it would make sense to create that culture within the organization
first and then let it spread outward. The next point is the time-sensitive nature of
leadership decisions. The modern business environment is one of constant, fast-paced
change and a crowdsourcing approach turns out to be extremely beneficial in this
context because it gives leaders access to a real-time “continuous feedback loop”
(Cancialosi, 2014) to guide their decisions. As a project management major, I was also
interested in what Cancialosi (2014) had to say about stakeholders. A big part of project
management is paying attention to and satisfying the needs and expectations of all
stakeholders, and a crowdsourcing organizational culture would help the project
manager stay in touch with the stakeholders’ expectations.

References
Decentralization. (2009) Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (11th ed.). Springfield,
MA: Merriam-Webster Incorporated.
It's a dictionary, and it has served me well.
Johnson&Johnson CEO William Weldon: Leadership in a decentralized company. (2008,
June 25). Wharton. University of Pennsylvania. Retrieved from
http://www.knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu
J&J is a huge international company with a highly diversified range of products.
The article is actually a transcript of an interview with Weldon that you can also
listen to as a podcast.

Cancialosi, C. (2014, December 1). Shatter today's organizational myths by
crowdsourcing culture. Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com
See Summary Section above.
He, L. (2013, March 29). Google's secrets of innovation: Empowering its employees.
Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com
This article highlights a lot of the crowdsourcing techniques that contribute to
Google's unique organizational culture.
Jenkins, H., Ford, S., & Green, J. (2013). Spreadable media: Creating value and meaning
in a networked culture. New York, NY: New York University Press. Retrieved from
http://www.scribd.com
The idea of a "spreadable" culture means that the culture has a tendency to be
organically diffused and modified by the people who take part in it.

Discussion Board Replies
Requirements

2 replies of at least 100 words each.
Analyze original thread and add to concepts presented.

Reply 1a – Globalization
350 words.
I've been reading a book by archeologist/anthropologist Justin Jennings called
Globalizations and the Ancient World which has really helped me understand the
concept of globalization. In the first chapter, the author presents a widely accepted
definition of globalization: it is "a dense network of intense [international] interaction
and interdependencies" that "triggers the array of social changes that are associated
with the formation of a global culture" (Jennings, 2011). The second chapter unpacks
the characteristics of a "global culture," which turns out to be a whole lot more than the
spread of blue jeans and Starbucks. He specifically mentions these eight trends as
identifying characteristics of a global culture:
1. Time-space compression - the experience of living at a fast pace in a small world
2. Deterritorialization - the rise of "neutral" spaces that are disconnected from a
local cultural context, such as airports, malls, etc. (see also Augé, 1995)
3. Standardization - the creation of international standards and rules that are
necessary for international trade and interaction
4. Unevenness - the tendency of some places, such as megacities, to be very
"globalized" in terms of culture, while other places have a low level of cultural
connections.
5. Homogenization - the tendency of people to adopt aspects of another culture,
such as food or clothing
6. Cultural heterogeneity - the blending of cultural trends from around the world
into a new cultural expression
7. Re-embedding of local culture - the reinforcement, and sometimes creation, of
local values and traditions as a reaction to the other aspects of globalization
8. Vulnerability - the increased sensitivity of international relations and
interdependencies
It's also important to be aware of the anti-globalizing tensions and trends within the
larger current of globalization. The World Economic Forum's 2015 report on geoeconomics gives a great outline of these trends and shows how they're relevant for
international politics and business. An in-depth understanding of today's global and antiglobal trends will help us make solid personal and professional decisions in the future.

References
Augé, Marc. (1995). Non-places: Introduction to an anthropology of supermodernity.
(John Howe, trans.). London: Verso. Retrieved from http://www.scribd.com
Jennings, Justin. (2011). Globalizations and the ancient world. New York: Cambridge
University Press. Retrieved from http://www.scribd.com

World Economic Forum. (2015). Geo-economics: Seven challenges to globalization.
[PDF file]. Retrieved from http://www.weforum.org

Reply 1b – Hofstede’s Dimensions of Culture
150 words.
Thanks for sharing the results of this study. I think it’s interesting to try to come up with
explanations for the differences that the researchers observed. For example, the
disagreement between genders over power distance is understandable because men
and women often have different experiences of this aspect of culture in real life. The last
difference you mentioned may arise because a cross-cultural relations class would allow
the students to look beyond their own ingroup and receive a broader, more relativistic
perspective.
I think it’s also important to be aware of general differences between business culture in
different countries. One study that I found brought out the differences between
management in developed and less developed countries. An interesting takeaway was
that managers in less developed countries are often more attached to rules, hierarchies,
and traditional processes, whereas managers in developed countries may be more open
to new and innovative practices, such as matrix organization (Pinto da Silva & Fadul,
2011).

Reference
Pinto da Silva, Lindomar, & Fadul, Elvia. (2011). The cultural values of public managers
of Bahia: a comparative analysis between Bahia and developed and developing
countries. Business Management Dynamics, 1(1), 107-121. Retrieved from
http://www.bmdynamics.com

Reply 2a – Developing Nations
150 words.
Thanks for your interesting post! I agree with you that underneath the label of
“developing nation” there is a complex, multifaceted situation that involves the
economic, political, and cultural spheres. In order to have a sound understanding of a
country’s current situation and future outlook, we can’t rely solely on trade figures and
“growth” statistics; we have to look at how the growth is taking place, whether it’s
sustainable, and how it’s affecting the other aspects of the nation’s culture. I think it’s
interesting to compare the Human Development Index (HDI) with the UN’s World
Happiness Report, which measures the life satisfaction of individuals in different
countries. It’s apparent from these reports that high development is not always
correlated with high life satisfaction, and vice versa. For example, Pakistan,
Mozambique, and Angola – countries with low HDI scores – rank in the middle of the
pack in the World Happiness Report, above highly developed countries such as Lebanon,
Sri Lanka, and Serbia (Helliwell, Layard, & Sachs, 2013; Table 1).

References
Helliwell, J., Layard, R., & Sachs, J. (Eds.). (2013). World Happiness Report 2013. New
York: UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. Retrieved from
http://www.scribd.com
Table 1: Human Development Index and its components. (n.d.). Human Development
Reports. United Nations Development Programme. Retrieved from
http://www.hdr.undp.org

Reply 2b – Human Development Index (HDI)
150 words.
I found it interesting that the UN publishes an inequality-adjusted HDI in addition to the
normal HDI. I would say this makes sense because a country’s results might be skewed
by a small percentage of the population that is very well off. If the general population is
not enjoying the benefits of high development, then the country doesn’t deserve a high
HDI score. When the HDI scores are adjusted for inequality, the U.S. drops from 5th to
28th place – fortunately, that’s still a very high level of development (Table 3)! In the
adjusted HDI, Iran experiences a huge drop from 75th (high development) to 109th (low
development) (Table 3). Some of the biggest jumps are for Eastern European and
Central Asian countries, such as Ukraine, Armenia, Mongolia, and Uzbekistan (Table 3).
This suggests that even though these countries have not yet reached the highest levels
of development (Table 3), the benefits that they do have are shared fairly evenly across
the population.

Reference
Table 3: Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index. (n.d.). Human Development
Reports. United Nations Development Programme. Retrieved from
http://www.hdr.undp.org

Reply 3a – World Bank
200 words.
Your post discussed how the World Bank is encountering problems in their quest to end
extreme poverty, which made me curious as to what strategies they are forming in
response. In a recent speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the
president of the World Bank Group, Jim Yong Kim, presented the World Bank’s current
three-part strategy in the fight against poverty: grow, invest, and insure. According to
Kim (2015), achieving the kind of economic growth that will reduce extreme poverty
involves pursuing growth in the sectors that will most benefit the poor, such as
agriculture; and recognizing and improving the factors that affect those areas of growth,
such as education and infrastructure. The invest part of the strategy is seen as investing
not in the economy but rather in people: the World Bank encourages investments that
will improve the well-being and quality of life for a nation’s poor, such as initiatives to
improve the quality of the sanitation, education, and healthcare available to the poor
(Kim, 2015). Another key strategy to end poverty is to establish systems in developing
countries that will effectively insure their citizens against natural disasters and disease
epidemics and provide social assistance where it is needed (Kim, 2015).

Reference
Kim, Jim Yong. (2015, April 7). Speech by World Bank Group president Jim Yong Kim:
Ending extreme poverty by 2030: The final push. The World Bank. Retrieved from
http://www.worldbank.org

Reply 3b – Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM)
200 words.

Reading your post made me want to learn more about the unique economic challenges
faced by the island nations of the Caribbean. Some of the challenges they face are from
natural factors such as hurricanes, periods of extreme drought and extreme rainfall,
rising ocean levels, and the difficulty in transportation and logistics caused by their
isolation (Calmera & Goede, 2015). Other challenges that these nations face come from
global factors. Many of these nations are highly dependent on foreign direct investment
and tourism, while the other areas of their economies are not very diversified and are
thus highly vulnerable to changes in international supply and demand (Calmera &
Goede, 2015; Maharaj, 2015). These nations also face many social challenges, such as
widespread poverty and unemployment, high levels of crime, a large rich-poor gap, an
aging population, and the tendency of the younger population to leave the islands for
better opportunities in other countries (Calmera & Goede, 2015). Obviously the island
nations of the Caribbean need to find ways to achieve sustainable economic growth.
Maharaj (2015) suggests that one way the islands can boost growth is by taking
advantage of their extensive marine territory (which can be as much as 98% of their
total territory!) and pursuing areas like “marine fish farming, renewable energy, oceanrelated tourism and marine biotechnology.”

References
Calmera, R., & Goede, M. (2015, March 8). 12 challenges facing Caribbean small island
developing states. Caribbean Journal. Retrieved from http://www.caribjournal.com

Maharaj, D. (2015, March 1). Making the Caribbean blue. Caribbean Journal. Retrieved
from http://www.caribjournal.com

Reply 4a – Operations Management
150 words.
Your post interested me because my other class for this term is Operations Management
and we just finished a group research paper on a private healthcare center. We covered
some of the same topics you mentioned in your post – competition, technological
updates, and new scheduling methods. One of the members of our research group who
works in the medical industry pointed out another operations-related need that is a big
issue for hospitals – supply chain management. Hospitals are constantly going through
medical supplies and they need people who can make sure that there is a sufficient
level of supplies in the right place at the right time. I thought it was interesting how you
discussed cost reduction as another big issue for hospitals. In our case study, the goal of
the hospital was to expand, so we didn’t really address cost-cutting, but we did look at
other ways to eliminate waste and we tried to provide recommendations that were
realistically attainable given the company’s current resources.
Good post! Blessings for the rest of your education!

Reply 4b – Location
150 words.

Location decisions are definitely critical to a company’s success because they involve a
lot of variables and they are also a significant part of a company’s strategy (Stevenson,
2015). I agree with you that it’s really important to understand your market – both in
terms of who your target market is and then what their needs and desires are. I recently
read an article about how Xiaomi, a Chinese tech startup, has been able to grow
exponentially in a highly competitive enviroment because it deeply understands its
target demographic and knows how to reach and retain that demographic (Tung, 2015).
As the company is now beginning to expand into other countries, it is focusing on
countries with a similar market demographic that it can target, and this approach has so
far been substantially successful (Tung, 2015).

References
Stevenson, W. J. (2015). Operations management (12th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill
Education.
Tung, H. (2015, May 7). Xiaomi on its 5th birthday. TechCrunch. Retrieved from
http://www.techcrunch.com

Faith Integration Threads
Requirements

Reply to question from textbook.
At least 200 words.

Thread 1 – Different Worldviews
250 words.
Q: Suppose you have been assigned to a new job in another nation, and that nation
does not embrace the Biblical Worldview. What would you need to do to prepare
yourself for that assignment?
It needs to be pointed out that no major nation on earth “embraces a Biblical
worldview,” including the United States. This makes sense in light of Jesus’ statement
that his kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36). The nations that you would be most
likely to visit as a normal business assignment (e.g., South Korea, Japan, a European
country) will have sufficient freedoms in place that they will not interfere with the
personal life and faith of an international businessperson. It’s a good idea to learn about
the dominant culture and worldview of any country you visit, and to take note of the
ways it does and does not line up with a Biblical worldview. In some places, there may
be situations that require you to adapt your normal practices: for example, there’s not
going to be a Baptist/Reformed/Pentecostal church in every town, especially one that
holds services in English!
In some nations with severe unrest and highly limited freedoms, you may find yourself
in dangerous or difficult situations (faith-related or not). Before you go to a country like
that, it’s important to research the current situation in the country, think through
possible scenarios, and have plans in place for what you will do in a difficult situation,
where you can get help, etc.
No matter what nation you travel to, always pray that you will be able to shine as a light
for God there! (Phil. 2:15)

Thread 2 – Loving your Neighbor
250 words.
Question: What would be the implication for nations to follow [Matt. 22:36-40], when
considering tariffs, quotas, and embargoes?
I think several distinctions need to be made regarding this issue. The first is the
distinction between personal and governmental contexts. In both the Matthew and the
original Exodus passages, these commandments are mainly given to apply to the
everyday life of individuals, rather than as patterns for official policy. The second
distinction is that between the powers of government and the rights of the individual.
An example of this can be found in Romans 12:19 and 13:4, where Paul makes a
distinction between individual and government roles in vengeance. The government is
not necessarily bound to the same procedures as individuals. The third distinction is that
between the Old Testament-era Israelite theocracy and other forms of government. One
of the themes in the Old Testament is how Israel was intended to be “set apart”, in
terms of religion and lifestyle, from other nations in order to bear witness to the one
true God. In the Christian era (including the present), God’s kingdom is revealed to be
not of this world (John 18:36); thus no nation (besides possibly Israel) has a divine
appointment as God’s “chosen people.” In consideration of the above, it is unnecessary
to create conflict in the area of tariffs etc. The government’s first duty and purpose is
the welfare of its people. If setting up tariffs etc. genuinely contributes to the welfare of
its people, then the government is within its rights to do so.

Thread 3 – IMF
250 words.
Question: We have studied the IMF and its purpose. Write a short essay proposing
adding a Biblical Worldview component to the IMF.
I’d like to answer this question by looking at the operations of the IMF as decribed on
the IMF website (IMF, “About”) in light of a Biblical worldview. The first area of
operations is that of surveillance. In Lagarde (2015), this area is described as “policy
advice and analysis,” and it is mentioned that the IMF is focusing on the issues of
women in the labor force and climate change. If the IMF were more in line with a biblical
worldview, you might see a shift in emphasis in these areas, i.e., less on climate change
and more on good stewardship of the earth in general, and less on women’s
participation statistics and more on eliminating policies that are unjust and oppressive
towards women. In light of the Bible’s emphasis on taking care of widows and orphans
(e.g., James 1:27), they might also push for countries to improve their policies in those
areas. The second area of operations is funding. Obviously, in keeping with a biblical
worldview, the IMF should manage its money with honesty, fairness, and good
stewardship. I think there’s also a component of compassion/mercy that comes into play
in this area, as for example when the IMF uses its funds for disaster relief. The third area
of operations is technical assistance. The IMF recognizes that they can’t just throw
money at a country; they have to build the ability of the nation to succeed economically.
This contrast between empty vs. real help has a parallel in James 1:15-16.

References
International Monetary Fund. (n.d.) About the IMF. International Monetary Fund.
Retrieved from http://www.imf.org
Lagarde, C. (2015, April 9). Lift growth today, tomorrow, together. International
Monetary Fund. Retrieved from http://www.imf.org

Thread 4 – Personal Experience
200 words.
I have learned from experience that for some business situations your faith will require
you to say “no” where others would say “ok.” I’m listed on a few websites as a freelance
translator, and recently I was being interviewed to translate a novel for an Italian
author. It sounded like it was going to be a great work opportunity, but during the
interview process it came up that the story was entirely about witches. It wasn’t really
dark or Satanist, but after thinking and praying about it I decided that I still wasn’t
comfortable pouring a lot of effort into a story that would be focused on witchcraft. I had
to tell the author I couldn’t take the job, and miss out on the opportunity. However, I
think it turned out to be a blessing that I didn’t take the job because the assignment
had a very tight schedule that would have conflicted with my schoolwork. I think in
business situations you have to trust that the way that honors God is the best way.
And here are some relevant Bible references:
Luke 12:29-31
Acts 5:29

Faith and Integration Replies
Requirements

2 replies of at least 100 words each.

Reply 1a – Different Worldviews
150 words.
I agree that it’s important to be tolerant and respectful of other people’s beliefs when
you’re in another country. If you’re traveling for business, the company probably didn’t
send you there to be a missionary; they sent you to promote harmony and collaboration
with their overseas partners. Probably the best thing to do as a Christian
businessperson is to focus on glorifying God through your actions (Matt. 5:16), such as
accomplishing your business goals, acting with integrity and kindness, etc. However,
there may be opportunities to have a spiritual discussion with people and share the
truth of the Gospel with them. We should always be ready to take advantage of those
opportunities by sharing the reason for the hope that is in us (1 Pet. 3:15).

Reply 1b – Worldview and Culture
200 words.

It’s interesting to consider the relationship between a biblical worldview and culture. A
worldview can form a basis for cultural expression, but at the same time the dominant
culture in a person’s life can also shape that person’s worldview. I recently started
reading Lesslie Newbigin’s The Gospel in a Pluralist Society, which is an insightful
examination of the relation between a biblical worldview and our culture’s attitude of
religious pluralism. In the first chapter, he briefly discussed how cultures define what is
and is not plausible/possible. He pointed out that when you accept the gospel by faith,
your eyes are opened to a whole new realm of possibilities, “a radically different vision
of things from those which shape all human cultures apart from the gospel.” That
concept reminds me of 1 Cor. 1:23-24, where Paul says that the gospel seems like
foolishness to unbelievers, but to those who are called it is the power and wisdom of
God. I’m really looking forward to learning more about how a Biblical worldview is both
relevant and revolutionary for all cultures.

Reply 2a – Risk
100 words.
I appreciate how you redirected the issue of risk back to the issue of stewardship. Being
prepared to respond to possible opportunities and crises – risk management – is part of
good stewardship. Like the king and the builder in Luke 14:28-32, risk management
involves analyzing the situation and possible future scenarios, and then making sound
decisions based on that analysis. Ownership, operation and transfer risks all need to be
considered when a business wants to expand internationally. A good steward should
look at the possibilities – both good and bad – involved in owning property, conducting
business, and borrowing/lending money in a foreign country.

Reply 2b – Risk
150 words.
It’s cool to think about God as the “initial investor” in our lives. Since he’s in control of
everything, there’s not really an element of risk, but we can still ask ourselves how well
we are repaying his initial investment (Mark 4:20). We can use the areas of ownership,
operation, and transfer risk to come up with questions to evaluate our own lives. The
Lord bought us with his blood (Acts 20:28); are we living as His or are we giving in to the
claims of our old nature? Matt. 6:10 says, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on
earth as it is in heaven” (ESV); are we doing things God’s way or the world’s way? Are
we letting something distract us or hold us back from placing our time, money, or other
resources at God’s disposal (Matt. 8:18-22)?

Reply 3a – King Solomon and International Trade
200 words.
Your post sparked my interest to try to calculate how much the amounts of gold
mentioned in 1 Kings 9 would be worth today. 1 Kings 9:14 mentions that Solomon
received 120 talents of gold. According to my study bible (Sproul, 2005), that’s about
4.5 tons = 9000 lbs. of gold. According to Bloomberg, the spot price of gold as of about
30 min. ago is 1,197.48 USD / t oz. (The gold futures price is 1,195 USD/t oz.) Since 1
troy ounce = 0.0686 lbs., we can convert to get 120 talents = 9000 lbs. = 131,195 t oz.
Multiplying 131,195 t oz. * 1,197.48 USD gives us 157,103,389 USD as the current value
of 120 talents of gold. We can use a similar process to convert 420 talents brought back
from Ophir (1 Kings 9:28) into a USD value of $549,863,656. Personally I was hoping it
would be in the billions, but when you consider that their population and economy were
not as large and complex as ours, the amounts of $130 and $550 million worth of gold
would have been huge.

Reply 3b – Regional Economic Integration
200 words.
Good job on your post! I thought it was interesting that you mentioned that both
positive and negative experiences affect countries’ decisions in the area of economic
integration. A trend I’ve become aware of recently is that changes and negative
experiences on the global level are causing many nations to seek greater regional
economic integration, i.e., they’re taking a step back from globalization. The WEF’s
report on geo-economics (2015) discusses seven factors that are contributing to the
current trend towards a “multipolar, regionalized power dynamic”: 1) the increasing use
of economic warfare tactics, 2) the geopolitical concerns involved in trade negotiations,
3) the influence of national politics/agendas on government intervention in the business
and financial sectors, 4) a shift from competition over resources to competition over
access to new markets, 5) the tendency of strong economies to bolster their power at
the expense of other economies, 6) China’s extensive investments in foreign
infrastructure, and 7) the volatility in oil prices. I think awareness of these trends leads
to an improved and deepened perspective on regional economic integration situations.
When dealing with an increasingly regionalized world, we should remember that God's
love and mercy extends to all people (1 Tim. 2:4) and that the peace of Christ breaks
down social, political, and ethnic barriers (Gal. 3:28).

Reply 4a – Golden Rule and Total Quality Management (TQM)
150 words.
I liked how you brought in some other Bible verses to support your points. Reading your
post made me think of how having Christian beliefs and values already sets us up to
carry out good business practices, without having to learn it from TQM! For example, if
you’re a Christian, you should already have a desire to treat people right (Principle 1),
and you should already value things like unity, teamwork, and knowledge (Principles 2
and 3). Another passage that I think is relevant to teamwork is 1 Cor. 12:12-26, where
Paul compares individual Christians to different parts of the same body - they have to
work together and carry out their individual roles well for the good of the whole system.
Sets of principles like TQM can be good reminders or give us new insights, but
ultimately your faith and your strength of character are your greatest assets.

Reply 4b – Golden Rule and TQM
150 words.
That was a well-developed post! You did a really good job relating all the points of TQM
to the Golden Rule. I think the ability to see things from other people’s point of view is a
critical skill in business. You have to be able to see things from the customer’s point of
view so that you can offer products and services that fit their desires. Understanding
where other people are coming from would also come in handy for managing or working
on a team. It would not only help to defuse conflicts and contribute to a positive
attitude, but I think it would also help you grasp the big picture of what’s going on in the
organization and where your team is headed. I think if the Lord is working in your life
(Col. 3:10) to help you grow in love towards others, it may be easier for you to consider
other people’s needs and perspectives.