Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Current issues...

Current issues with respect to trade and commerce on which the federal and provincial governments are not cooperating, and will ultimately need to re-think their current power-sharing arrangement:

On the west coast, water export trade laws appear confused in terms of regulatory agreement regarding disputes concerning water as an exportable product or not under terms of NAFTA or federal regulatory measures versus inter-provincial disagreements.

Disagreements exist between various levels of government on proposed legislations for the cutting of greenhouse gas emissions whereby Quebec and Ontario would like to skirt regulatory oversights by trading credits internationally without Ottawa's permission.

Battles over joint management of Newfoundland and Labrador Fisheries continue seemingly endlessly as do lingering animosities surrounding the federal versus Newfoundland and Nova Scotia Atlantic Accord where one party believes transfer payments should be paid back while the others believe it is part of the constitutional agreement.

Current negotiations for a Canadian-EU Free Trade agreement are stymied by provincial bickering described in, "Does the Canadian Federal System Undermine its Foreign Trade? " by Julia Bognar, MA and Thorfinn Stainforth, MA at the Institute for European Studies at UBC.

On a practical level, does the question of whether a law is federal or provincial make any difference to the average business person? Why even bother investigating?

It should make every difference to international trade minded business people as Canada's current federalism in terms of trade policy makes some developing countries look good ("Trade Policies Made in Canada "). There appears no more radical a concept than continuous improvement where Canada's trade regulatory system is concerned. It should be easy to illustrate the benefits of cooperation on an economic level where provincial and federal laws intersect, intertwine and interlope.

Efficiency and effectiveness would cost jobs. Whose jobs? Perhaps federal or provincial civil servants and lately UAW union members and parts suppliers, hangers on, etc. Investigation should be bothered with because it often becomes clear whose politics dictate which laws are enacted and which regulations are created due to vested interests versus common interests. Whose tax dollars pay for it all?

In Canada it often appears common interests come second even if over the long term everyone might be better off for it. Sometimes I think the average business people left Canada a long time ago.

Concerning corporations...

Concerning corporations...

If a corporation, having the legal capacity of a natural person, is itself owned by just one (natural) person, do you think it is fair that the owner cannot be made personally liable for the company's debts?

It appears fair according to the debates surrounding incorporation since the middle of the 19th century. However it really depends upon which side you favour concerning what you may believe a company should be according to Micklethwait and Wooldridge in, "The Company: A Short History of a Revolutionary Idea."

For instance if you lean towards the stakeholder image then a single person owned corporation would not fulfill the interests of a wide number of people either shareholders, the public or social groups at large. Thus you might be tagged a bleeding heart liberal.

If you hold the shareholder ideal as many of my instructors have in the past then the concept of a single shareholder looking out for his or her own best interests with the protection of limited liability should be the purvue of every self-respecting individual in the world's democratic capitalist countries today. Especially when it comes to profits. Is it actually legal? What about married couples? Why is not the institution of marriage carte blanche to limited liability incorporation?

Is it fair that the corporate tax rate applies?

If it is a legit business it should be fair. However if our single natural person is Ebenezer Scrooge then it would not be fair as there is no trickle down effect from his self-interest prior to his being reborn upon Christmas Day. No social groups benefited from his wealth prior to that time.

Why does this form exist?

This form of business exists for many reasons. Incorporation has proven according to economists as the best historical support for massive infrastructural developments and growth as well as securing the risks of underwriting banking systems which rely upon paper currency units rather than mercantilism and laws of incorporation rather than plain good behaviour.

What are a director's non-financial obligations to the company?

We should expect a general interest to the company's well being as in a director should not engage in any business activities which will harm the interest of the company.

What are a director's liabilities?

In all ways a director must seek to navigate costly liabilities such as insolvency by: employing competent auditors, book keepers and accountants (what wrecked Arthur Andersen), fully disclosing the nature and state of corporate debts to creditors ( a lot of US banks roiling in a pot of boiling lava over this), ensuring dividends and yields are not transferred to shareholders from creditors (a ponzi scam), avoiding breech of trust (in a word Madoff), employing due diligence (Greenspan's curse), securing honest accounts of corporate activities (the subprime fiasco with FBI rummaging various offices at Bear Stearns), protecting the environment ( the Bohpal disaster), refusing to employ illegal immigrants (probably hard to do in California), and not soliciting contracts for imports and exports of prohibited list products (Gerald Bull).

Where does one look this up or find out about it?

One may retain consultancy with lawyers or engage the legal systems and documents themselves be they federal, provincial or municipal. Legal documents for consultation include: the Constitution Act, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Income Tax Act, the Canadian Criminal Code, Sales of Goods Acts, International Sale of Goods Convention, Personal Property Security Act, etc.

The Department of Justice Canada engages "Corporations Canada - Guide to Federal Incorporation."

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

S Korea's inventory-shipment ratio hits 10-year high in October

S Korea's inventory-shipment ratio hits 10-year high in October
www.chinaview.cn 2008-12-15

SEOUL, Dec. 15 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's manufacturing inventory-shipment ratio hit a 10-year high in October indicating a drop in both domestic and overseas demand, a government report said Monday.

According to the National Statistical office (NSO), the ratio increased 17.6 percent from a year ago, posting 1.187 in October, the highest since 1.214 tallied for February, 1999.

After reaching 1.078 in June, the ratio has been steadily rising due to slowdown in the global economy, the NSO said. In September, the ratio stood at 1.151.

The figure came out as South Korean firms struggle to sell products as consumers around the world have tightened their consumption in the wake of a liquidity crunch and overall uncertainties about the future.

MSCI May Delay Korea’s Upgrade to Developed Country for Indexes

MSCI May Delay Korea’s Upgrade to Developed Country for Indexes
By Saeromi Shin

Dec. 17 (Bloomberg) -- MSCI Inc., whose stock indexes are tracked by investors with $3 trillion in funds, may delay its decision to reclassify South Korea as a developed country beyond its original June 2009 timeframe.

MSCI, which now places South Korea in its emerging-market index, said more time will be needed for authorities to act on its feedback, including the “limited convertibility” of its currency, the New York-based company said in a statement.

South Korea is the third-largest developing nation in MSCI’s stock benchmarks, representing 13.1 percent of the MSCI Emerging Market Index as of June. South Korea was raised to “developed” status from the FTSE Group in September and will be upgraded from its “advanced emerging” rating in September 2009.

“Investors mentioned both the lack of an offshore currency market for the Korean won and the operational difficulties in dealing with the currency in the onshore market” as concerns over changing South Korea’s status, MSCI said late yesterday.

Commentary: It appears as hard to convert Korean won for investors as it is for tourists at airport exchange counters? I would love to know what those operational difficulties are? Could they be excessive delays in cash or currency conversions locally or banks rates which are unfavourable regardless of volume totals?

South Korean equities have a total capitalization of 596 trillion won ($450 billion) as of yesterday, according to data by the Korea Exchange, making it the fifth-largest Asian stock market. The Kospi index, the nation’s benchmark, has dropped 38 percent this year, as most investment funds track indexes in developed markets, considered less risky amid the global credit crisis. The MSCI AC Asia Pacific Index fell 43 percent.

A final decision on Israel, which is also under review for a potential upgrade to a developed market, will be made no later than June, MSCI said, which cited the “relatively short” settlement cycle for equities as the key concern for the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. It will also conclude consultations for potential upgrades of Kuwait, Qatar and United Arab Emirates to emerging- market indexes by June.

To contact the reporter on this story: Saeromi Shin in Seoul at sshin15@bloomberg.net

Rethinking and Re-energizing the Canada-South Korea Relationship

Rethinking and Re-energizing the Canada-South Korea Relationship
(Asia Pacific Bulletin)
December 15, 2008

Meeting for the first time since 2002, negotiators representing Seoul and Ottawa convened last month in Vancouver to discuss a bilateral open skies agreement. No agreement was signed, although a wide-ranging deal is expected to be finalized in a second round set to take place in the New Year. Despite lingering uncertainty over a Canada-South Korea FTA, the air services talks serve as an important reminder that Canada-Korea relations are moving forward.

In a rapidly changing global order in which giants like the US, China and India have cornered Canadian attention, relations with mid-sized Asian countries are easily overlooked. In a March 2008 national opinion survey conducted by APF Canada, only 37% of Canadians saw South Korea as important or very important to Canada's prosperity, and fewer than 1% saw the country offering the greatest market potential for Canada in Asia. Only 40% supported a free-trade agreement (FTA) with Seoul compared to 41% who opposed it. When asked about the state of bilateral relations compared to two years ago, 10% saw them as better, 7% worse, 56% the same, and a significant 27% did not know. Clearly, the picture of Canada’s relationship with Korea, or what it could become, is underdeveloped and unclear. Yet now is the time that Canada should refresh and re-prioritize collaboration with countries such as South Korea.

Entire article available at Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada.

Commentary: Obviously it would make sense for more Koreans to realize that gaining entry to new trading partners and markets in Canada is often about more than having a basic understanding of the English language. Also for Canadian exporters some greater reciprocal work opportunities would assist building the trade bridges to greater volumes of shared profits. As the article indicates of the estimated 15,000 Canadians in Korea around 10,000 of them are here teaching English so a total of 66.66% are present in the country but not participating in any way in developing import/export partnerships. The degree of collaboration between Canadian and Korean companies is of interest to me however I have yet to engage the networks of Canadian businesses here or Korean businesses interested to develop new relationships with Canadian companies as I feel the time will come, when I am properly prepared to be called upon for assistance.

I have maintained in previous posts that the technical "non-profit" category for foreign educational university establishments in Korea does preclude the necessary first entrant position which may then be followed by a perhaps easing of regulatory frameworks to permit profits to be reinvested in the educational trading relationship. While the LG-Nortel JV may be an early example of Canadian investment in Korea it might not be the best to trumpet at this time when its share prices in terms of Nortel are dismally positioned. I have also commented previously that Canada's primary aim in opening free trade with Korea should be the early establishment of Canadian university branch campuses here to draw from the surrounding nations and attract more Canadians to study in Korea in institutions which they trust will provide a qualified and globally reputable education rather than securing positions for American owned car companies which may cease to exist in the next six months.

My own university employer here is setting massive local investment into a new technology and innovation incubator. My training qualifies me quite well to offer liaison services in local research should Canadians come forward with any degree of interest. For example, if local university institutions were to offically partner with Canadian ones they might find thousands of Canadians willing to relocate to Korea for the chance of a similar education with either lower overall costs or shorter terms of study.

Whatever the results of Canada and Korea's FTA negotiations they should complement each other particularly due to their similar US relationship and it should be quite clear to each party what steps need to be taken to make a deal. It would probably need to be quite sweet and I suspect Korean negotiators may be unaccustomed to swinging certain markets such as financials and education wide open to foreigners. As well Canadians appear to be stuck in terms of failing to realize that forcing American made dinosaur-type cars should not be the focal element of their proposals.

Vietnam Approves Plan for New Port City Hub

Vietnam Approves Plan for New Port City Hub
(Cargonews Asia)
Friday, December 12, 2008

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has approved a master plan for transforming the Chan May-Lang Co Economic Zone in central Thua Thien Hue Province into a modern international commercial hub by 2025, Thai News Service reported.

According to the plan, the 27,108 ha Chan May-Lang Co Economic Zone will become a port city providing deep-water port services. It will serve as an important transit point for the delivery of goods in Vietnam's central economic region.

Under the plan, Chan May port will be located in Chan May Dong cape with a size of 370 hectares. It will be used as a container, and goods trading port. A Centre for Logistics and Commercial Service will be situated at the intersection between National Highway No 1A and the road to Chan May port. Chan May's commercial and financial services area will be located alongside the Bu Lu and Thua Luu rivers and the base of Phuoc Tuong mountain.

In addition, about 4,570 ha is set aside for developing high-quality ecological tourist and service areas. A non-tariff area, which is allowed to use land flexibly, will include a post-port and hi-tech industrial service. The plan also covers the road and rail network.

East Asia to See Slower Growth in 2009: World Bank

East Asia to See Slower Growth in 2009: World Bank
(The Canadian Press – Tomoko A. Hosoka, Associated Press)
Wednesday, December 10, 2008

East Asian economies are far better prepared to tackle the latest financial turmoil than they were during their own crisis a decade earlier, but they nonetheless face growing dangers as the global slump deepens, the World Bank said Wednesday.

The bank also praised "quick action'' by policy makers in the region to respond to the crisis, saying the moves should help East Asia stabilize global economic growth.

Amid falling exports and slowing business investment, real gross domestic product growth in East Asia – a region that includes China but excludes Japan – will slow to 5.3% in 2009 from an expected 7.0% this year, the bank said in a new regional report.

In contrast, the developed economies of the U.S., euro zone and Japan are all projected to contract.

East Asia will contribute about a third of total global growth in 2008, according to the World Bank.

“Thanks to the quick action of policy makers from virtually every East Asian country, banking systems have been able to deal with the crisis so far and in a number of countries, economic stimulus packages are being put in place,” said Jim Adams, World Bank vice president for the East Asia and Pacific region, in a statement. “These actions are helping East Asia continue to play a key stabilizing role and act as a growth pole for the global economy.”

The Asian financial crisis of 1997-98 helped strengthen the region over the last 10 years, the World Bank said. Public finances, external balances and corporate balance sheets are more sound thanks to smarter macroeconomic policies, tighter bank supervision and better risk management systems.

To better position themselves during the current crisis, Asian countries should work to maintain macroeconomic stability, shift exports to faster-growing regions, strengthen domestic demand, and continue structural reform efforts, the report said.

“Despite the difficult road ahead, those countries that sustain the sound policies pursued thus far and tackle new challenges decisively will be the ones to emerge in a strengthened position when the global economy begins to recover,” said Vikram Nehru, the World Bank's chief economist for East Asia and the Pacific.

Canadian Companies Least Corrupt in World: Report

Canadian Companies Least Corrupt in World: Report
(Canwest News Service – Peter O’Neil)

Companies from Canada and Belgium are viewed as the least likely to engage in corrupt practices in their overseas business dealings, according to a new report issued Tuesday.

The two countries were tied for first in a survey by Berlin-based Transparency International of the perceived business activities of companies from the world's top 22 countries in terms of international trade and investment.

Russia ranked last, just behind China, Mexico, India and Brazil. The U.S. was tied for ninth place with France and Singapore.

The index "provides evidence that a number of companies from major exporting countries still use bribery to win business abroad, despite awareness of its damaging impact on corporate reputations and ordinary communities," said TI international chair Huguette Labelle, the former president of the Canadian International Development Agency and current chancellor of the University of Ottawa.

"The inequity and injustice that corruption causes makes it vital for governments to redouble their efforts to enforce existing laws and regulations on foreign bribery and for companies to adopt effective anti-bribery programmes," she said in a statement.

Canada ranked fifth in each of the three previous corruption indexes, released in 2006, 2002 and 1999. However, TI cautioned against making comparisons because previous surveys used different methodology.

TI based the 2008 index on responses from 2,742 senior corporate executives in 26 countries that are both major importers and significant recipients of foreign direct investment.

"To assess the international supply side of bribery, senior business executives were asked about the likelihood of foreign firms, from countries they have business dealings with, to engage in bribery when doing business in their country," TI explained in a news release.

Shanghai Port to Spend $2.9b on Expansion

Shanghai Port to Spend $2.9b on Expansion
(Cargonews Asia)
Monday, December 8, 2008

Shanghai, already the world's second-busiest container port, completed the third phase of its deep-water and will spend roughly US$2.9 billion on further expansion despite the global economic crisis, the South China Morning Post reported.

With the end of construction of the third phase of the Yangshan Deepwater Port, its total capacity would be 9.3 million TEUs a year, with 16 berths stretching over 5.6km.

The further expansion, from next year, aims to surpass Singapore to become the world's largest container port. The city overtook Hong Kong last year.

Still, Shanghai has cut its target for container traffic to 28.5 million TEUs from 30 million as the global crisis has hit the city's shipping industry. It still expects to retain its position as the world's number two container port based on TEUs. Shanghai's port handled around 26 million TEUs of cargo last year, up 20.4% from 2006.

Work on the western part of the Yangshan port, due to start next year, will include 10 to 12 additional berths capable of handling seven million TEUs of cargo a year after its completion in 2013.

Shanghai was aiming for Yangshan port to have nearly 30 berths by 2020, almost half of the capacity of the Yangtze Delta area. At present, Yangshan contributes around 30% of the city's total port capacity.

Coalition of Industry Groups Endorses Canadian Chamber Call to "Put Canadians Ahead of Politics"

Coalition of Industry Groups Endorses Canadian Chamber Call to "Put Canadians Ahead of Politics"(Canadian Chamber of Commerce)Thursday, December 4, 2008

A broad coalition of organizations representing a cross section of Canadian business and industry today [Wednesday] strongly endorsed the Canadian Chamber of Commerce's call for all political parties to focus on the public interest above all other considerations during this economic crisis.

In a statement issued [Tuesday], the Canadian Chamber expressed dismay with recent actions taken by all federal political parties. The coalition agrees that all members of Parliament must set partisan manoeuvring aside and focus instead on measures to bolster investor and consumer confidence and restore economic growth. Canada needs a strategy that will do more than allow us to tread water during an economic storm. The Government should be looking ahead to economic recovery and growth. Such an approach will not only help Canada cope in these times, but set us up for greater success when the economic tides turn.

Canada Australia Chamber of Commerce
Canadian Airports Council
Canadian Association of Management Consultants
Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors
Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers
Canadian Chemical Producers' Association
Canadian Industrial Transportation Association
Canadian Shipowners Association
Canadian Steel Producers Association
Certified General Accountants of Alberta
GS1 Canada
Mining Association of Canada
Petroleum Services Association of Canada

Read the Chamber’s statement at http://www.chamber.ca/cmslib/general/ReleaseBoardStatement021208.pdf

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Balance Of Trade.Kim.Ji.Hee.Kim.Ha.Neul

One of a voluntary group of students who agreed to allow me to post their slidecasts to the web following Daejin University Department of International Trade and Management Fall 2008 Presentations.


One of a voluntary group of students who agreed to allow me to post their slidecasts to the web following Daejin University Department of International Trade and Management Fall 2008 Presentations.
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: investment foreign)


One of a voluntary group of students who agreed to allow me to post their slidecasts to the web following Daejin University Department of International Trade and Management Fall 2008 Presentations.


One of a voluntary group of students who agreed to allow me to post their slidecasts to the web following Daejin University Department of International Trade and Management Fall 2008 Presentations.
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own.


One of a voluntary group of students who agreed to allow me to post their slidecasts to the web following Daejin University Department of International Trade and Management Fall 2008 Presentations.
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Canadians fear rise of BRIC nations

Canadians fear rise of BRIC nationsMISSISSAUGA, ON, Dec. 11, 2008 (Canada NewsWire)
Study shows two-thirds say emerging economies direct competitive threat to Canada

A recent study of Canadians' attitudes towards globalization has revealed two-thirds of respondents believe the emerging economic powers of Brazil, Russia, India and China (the BRIC nations) represent a competitive threat to Canada's economy with disparate opinions between have and have-not provinces.

Commentary: I am not surprised.

The Angus Reid study, commissioned by UPS Canada, shows Canada's strongest regional economies are most fearful of the rise of emerging nations overseas, while still maintaining that Canada plays a significant role in the global marketplace.

Commentary: Canadians and Canadian companies need to wake up to new global economic realities and growth trends.

Canadians living in the country's western prairies - which have recently emerged as one of Canada's strongest regional economies - are particularly leery of the BRIC nations with almost three quarters (73 per cent) citing the rising economies as competitive threats. British Columbians, who have experienced heightened economic activity in the past few years, fuelled partially by the excitement surrounding the 2010 Olympics, were second in line with 70 per cent seeing the BRIC economies as a competitive threat.

Commentary: The economic participation of Canadians whose origin are in BRIC countries might be providing evidence of greater productivity and desire to succeed in these regions?

Conversely, Canada's traditionally weaker economies in the Atlantic Provinces are the least concerned about the BRIC nations, with only 53 per cent expressing concern.

Commentary: This would make sense as proportionally fewer BRIC immigrants settle in these areas. It would be clearer to see the competitive drive of BRIC immigrants and their contribution to economic growth in these regions if there were more of them.

"What we're seeing is a split between the have and have-not provinces in terms of their level of insecurity when it comes to the BRIC nations," said UPS President Mike Tierney. "With Brazil giving Saskatchewan's agriculture industry a run for its money and China's booming manufacturing sector hurting Canadian exports, it stands to reason that those with the strongest economies and most opportunity appear to be the most fearful of the economic damage that could be caused by the emergence of the BRIC nations."

Commentary: Canada has several competitiveness indexes and national think tanks contributing recommendations for infrastructural and regulatory reforms necessary for Canadians and Canadian companies to participate in the global economy in a winning position. It depends upon who is listening and it appears that Canada's political elites are more interested in national politics rather than national competitiveness.

A little more than 60 per cent of central Canadians believe Canada plays a major role in the global economy, while 58 per cent of British Columbians and Albertans also perceived Canada to be a top player. Meanwhile, Quebeckers and Atlantic Canadians were the least inclined to lend significance to Canada's global economic contribution.

Commentary: Canada's regional nature is a real thorn in its side for developing national concensus in global positioning as seen in Australia. A new social framework needs to be implemented which provides equitable advancement for all regions. It appears to be more of a disparity of communication and negotiation skills more than anything else. Have Canadians burned out their ability to build national cohesiveness in terms of economic growth?

"Despite recent reports highlighting the decline of Canada's significance in global commerce, Canadians in prosperous regions remain optimistic about our contribution," said Tierney. "However, the key will be to couple that optimism with actions that will ensure the prosperity is maintained, particularly given the recent challenges facing our economy."

Commentary: Perhaps there is a national in-group delusion that Canada is doing what needs to be done to improve global competitiveness and coupled to a national character of risk-aversion national politics provides the ideal method of deferring implementation of recommended sweeping reforms which are painful and do not maintain traditional positions of power and influence for those Canadians and Canadian companies which would suffer from greater local competitiveness needed to provide a more favourable environment for new businesses, incubation, research and development and global best practices business start-up programs.

Tierney added that the key to overcoming overseas competition emerging from the BRIC nations will be a steady focus on big-picture entrepreneurship that will involve leveraging opportunities in the global market and investing in new technologies and innovations, rather than restricting activity to regional trade and old systems.

Commentary: New ways of doing things in Canada apparently do not come quickly?

"Part of the reason the BRIC nations have seen such an exponential surge in their middle classes is the heightened use by entrepreneurs in those countries of opportunities outside of their comfort zone, and they've been quite successful in doing so," he said. "By mimicking that spirit of ambition, Canadian businesses could stunt the inevitable intrusion into the Canadian market by these new players."

Commentary: I like this quote as it is well said and I would really encourage Canadians and Canadian companies to do more research into the methods of success in any growing global economies as it should be a duty and requirement of Canadian political and business leaders to act on accumulating an economic knowledge of global business structures which refine global best practices and change management with a revolution in Canadian quality improvement never before witnessed in world business practices. It will be painful for fat cats.

The Angus Reid Strategies poll was conducted between August 27 and 28, 2008, and surveyed 1,012 people. It has a margin of error of +/- 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

'Highway to Hell'? No, it's 'Ride On'

'Highway to Hell'? No, it's 'Ride On'

Korea's currency has collapsed and looks set to fall further, American banks are going bust, but we refuse to cry wolf.
What to tell fretful expats that you don't already know? Hold on to your hats, folks we ain't seen nothing yet? Batten down the hatches? Dig a hole, burry your cash? Hands up - give me all your money? Don't buy stock - any stock?

Try these bits of advice:

Armor your thoughts with facts rather than wooly conjecture; aim your exertions to more fruitful mental toils. Yawn your way through this crisis. Study, read - do something constructive. Instead of reading the Business section, pick up a novel.

Whatever you do, don't check the Dow or the KOSPI more than once every couple of weeks - or just check back next summer.

As banks drop like flies, it's pretty clear they have no idea what to do with your money. You might as well start putting yourself first.

If your heart is drawn to art, then buy art. If you pine for gold, then buy gold. If you crave cheap wine, then by all means gorge on cheap wine.

These are all investments, to varying degrees. Remain in corporeal good humors despite the current economic turbulence and respond to every reflex check as if you were indeed economically sound yourself. As well as you can, maintain a sense of sanguinity, even if you are up to your neck in debt and bad investments - c'est la vie. Most people are. Take solace in your willingness to chip away at it.

Those of you that are monitoring this madness probably feel squashed. But squashed is better than flat-out broke.

Buying opportunities abound, if you are brave - or foolish - enough, according to whichever analyst you choose to revere.

As long as you have picked a vehicle that you have researched well enough (with a long-term approach) you are probably putting your money in the right place.

And despite newspapers' crisis-screaming headlines and Korea's very own economic Nostradamus forecasting doom (if Nostradamus were a blogger, that is), there is still money to be made all around us.

For the buyer who bought and sold Citibank at the right time, you were bequeathed 41 percent gains on rumors it would soon become Metro Goldman Sachs.

To forge ahead, one must at times block out bad news.

Avoid extremes of thought, with pitched market plunges courtesy of Bloomberg, et al. Otherwise you may succumb to undue frustration, exhibited by Max Keiser's demand that Hank Paulson's head be seen bouncing down the steps of Congress.

Bouncing heads would sorely be a constructive solution to a global crisis. However, who would want the job after that? As appetizing as revolution might seem, stave off such dreary ends, at least in the short- and mid-terms where we may all remain in the opening, and perhaps fleeting, stages of the world's latest financial meltdown.

Don't pay any attention to economic pundits that have "Dr. Doom" or "The Master of Disaster" in parenthesis. Yes, this is a reference to Nouriel Roubini, the bass-baritone chairman of Roubini Global Economics and an economics professor at New York University's Stern School of Business. Everything he paints looks dark and reminds of Francisco Goya. Whatever he says, take it with a grain of salt.

Separate what you have been told by the media from reality.

It is in fact an extremely difficult task to separate what you have read, what you have been told, and what you already should easily relate. It is a fuddle. Digressions and soliloquies might best do it. Just try to chew your way through it all.

Separate fear from fact.

Market volatility is worsened by fear. Make market and company analyses based on tangible facts and data.

Don't buy or sell equities because that's what everyone else seems to be doing.

Never lose your cautious optimism.

Imagine this painting: A collection of small fishing boats near a rocky coast. The sea shimmers in its luminescent grace, rocking the boats gently in the shallows. The distant horizon is wide and unknown, uncharted and beyond scope as a dark flannelette foreboding sea. In the middle distance, glints of moonlight pierce the dark, imminently breaking through to change the entire view.

The office painting is wrapped in a beautiful gold gilded frame and it speaks of cautious optimism. Do not allow market fluctuations to dictate your investment decisions.

Otherwise you are, in reality just a speculator. Avoid spectulative pitfalls.

But to be sure, only short-lived fishermen go out to sea before, or in the middle of, a storm. Such fishermen face the risk of going under and losing everything.

Never listen to anyone that says "never." Or something like that.

A lot of Wall Street suits represent sales plays and vested interests already outed by the short shrift they gave economically challenged mortgage holders with the sub-prime motto, "the value of your house will never decrease, you can use it as a cash machine indefinitely."

In commodities, they spouted the motto, "Dig up as much as you can - demand will never cease and prices will never fall."

To trade credit buyers, the motto was once, "You'll never be denied credit." To consumer markets, the motto appears to be, "You'll never get lower prices."

Pick up a copy of "Devil Take the Hindmost: A History of Financial Speculation" by Edward Chancellor. Read it cover to cover to get a sense of the leverage busts and booms of old and new financial instruments.

So as this latest economic crisis plays out around the world, is the theme song "Highway to Hell" or "Ride On"? Make up your own mind, but we prefer the latter.

By Daniel Costello and Matthew Lamers

To contact Daniel, visit his website at http://crossculturalreviews.blogspot.com. To comment on this column, e-mail mattlamers@heraldm.com - Ed.