Connecting the Dots: Hip-hop and the World Trade Organization
In this issue's Industry Focus, we set out to examine the challenges, success stories, best practices and opportunities for African-American professionals and business owners in the mammoth automotive industry. Here, too, we ran smack into entrepreneurship hip-hop style. Hip-hop has given us its own coterie of lifestyle entrepreneurs. And, mimicking their forays into publishing, fashion, arts and entertainment, and the food and beverage industries, these entrepreneurs have carved out a niche in the auto world with customized SUVs that are just as outrageous and eye-catching as the souped up low-riders or special edition Alfa Romeos and Maseratis that others covet.
Say what you will, they do have a market. Indeed, when it comes to hip-hop entrepreneurship, the sky seems more a trifling annoyance than a limit.
In this issue we also publish the Viewpoint of Jon Offei-Ansah, a London-based Ghanaian currently on assignment in Africa for Britain's Mirror Group Newspapers. It is our first Viewpoint from an overseas contributor. In it, Offei-Ansah gives us his perspective on the recent ministerial talks held in the run-up to the revision of the global trade rules established by the Geneva-based World Trade Organization. The WTO to date counts 146 countries as its members, with 27 accessions to membership pending. Each member, regardless of wealth, level of industrialization, or ethnicity of its people, casts a single vote at decision time. That would make the WTO the world's most democratically run multilateral institution, if you measure democracy solely by the principle of "one man, one vote."
Why, you may ask, is TNJ interested in commentary about the WTO? How do the goings-on there affect our target audience of Black professionals and business owners? At TNJ, we believe that to make educated decisions about our lives in the 21st century requires knowledge of the local, national and global developments that shape the circumstances in which we must make those decisions. More and more Black-owned companies are doing business in the global arena. Indeed, many Black and minority business organizations aggressively encourage their members to "go global," using trade missions and educational forums to increase their exposure to opportunities overseas. The rules and regulations under which these companies conduct business overseas emanate mainly from the WTO. Indeed, it is under the same WTO trading system that hip-hop lifestyle entrepreneurs manufacture their products in China, say, for sale in the United States and markets worldwide.
Furthermore, financial experts writing in TNJ have urged our readers to keep an eye on global developments, because they influence not only the performance of the U.S. economy and hence our personal well-being, but also the investment instruments we use to generate wealth.
That's what we like to do at TNJ�connect the dots, no matter how much the line zigzags.
By Rosalind McLymont