In Alaska, the Atlantic Pink Salmon run March through June, a fact not unnoticed by the salmon industry "The industry," explained Bob Poe, former president and CEO of Anchorage Economic Development Center, "takes advantage of the spawning cycle. They catch, gut and behead the salmon, which are then frozen and stored for a few months before air transport to China. Only a relatively small portion of the catches are destined for the fresh fish market."
Once in China, Poe added, the salmon are slowly thawed and then filleted. That done, they are repacked, refrozen, and sent off to market, wherever that might prove to be. And with what some metaphorically refer to as "the flattening of the Earth," their destination could be anywhere.
"The British buy a lot of it," said Poe.
The AEDC's stated goal is to encourage growth and diversity in the Anchorage economy. As its Web site states, the city of Anchorage is within nine hours of 95 percent of the industrialized world by air, and is the third busiest cargo airport in the world.
"We opened our first overseas office in Japan in 1964," Poe said. "And we were the first state to have an overseas office in Korea, in 1985. We (Alaska) have been in global trade for a long time. If we had to rely on America, we'd starve to death. We have had to think of ourselves from a global standpoint."
This thought process, Poe pointed out, required acknowledgement of the fact that Alaska is close to Asia from a transportation viewpoint, and that the state can be considered a Pacific Rim state.
"Don't forget," Poe said, "if you are flying to Asia from here, you are not flying as far as you would if you were flying from the Midwest. That means less cost, which can translate into more profit."
Profit is the key word in understanding what is occurring on a global level. Businesses, ever driven by the profit margin, are acknowledging, albeit, unknowingly, an interesting economic theory.
"The world is flat," quoted UAA Professor Edward Forrest, associated dean of the College of Business and Public Policy, MBA program director, and chair of the Department of Business Administration. He was referring to a book about 21st century economics by Thomas Friedman. The book is titled, "The World is Flat."
"Leave it alone," said Professor Forrest, of the globalization that is taking place in Alaska and in the Lower 48. "Not anyone has a grip on this (globalization). I assigned an essay on why international...