the threat of nationalization.

Notorious for having one of the most liberally socialistic economies in the developed world, France is once again swinging its iron fist. ArcelorMittal is the world’s largest Steel producer and is headquartered in Luxembourg. Currently, company operations in France employ nearly 20,000 individuals at manufacturing and steel complex sites. With the weakening demand in Europe, ArcelorMittal had planned to eliminate usage of two blast furnaces in Eastern France. While there would be collateral damage, in terms of potential layoffs, it would bolster the viability of company success for ArcelorMittal by allowing them to remain economically and financially stable. But instead of moving forward with operative plans, the French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault intervened with a politically expedient motivation and blackmailed ArcelorMittal into keeping all French sites in service at full capacity. Essentially the Prime Minister offered an ultimatum to the firm: either keep operations at full capacity or face the nationalization of your company. ArcelorMittal could have chosen to sell the facilities to a competitor, but no company would dare risk such an investment. Opting to refrain from government control, ArcelorMittal vowed to invest $233.6 million into the facilities to keep facilities functioning.

The actions of the French government towards ArcelorMittal were not only despicable, but they were unethical and an assault on the principles of capitalism. The threat of nationalizing a foreign entity raises real concerns in the international business community. If France could successfully bully one company into accepting the nation’s politically motivated desires, what would stop the government from forcibly controlling other entities? Therein lays the dogma of the socialist agenda and its antagonistic approach towards free trade. Effectually government control stifles competition, falsifies monetary value, and inflates unsubstantiated job creation. To illustrate, recall the nationalized coal industry in the UK, which at one point employed 70,000 workers. The bureaucratic industry was a dichotic failure as 75% of coal companies were losing money on a yearly basis. The only reason any coal company remained operational was because the UK government poured nearly $3.0 billion into the industry every year. Fortunately, Margaret Thatcher was elected as Prime Minister. She successfully battled the industry and privatized coal. As a result the bloated commerce was reduced to what was necessary to remain economically viable, including a reduction of employees to 3,000 individuals, and garnered success within the free market.

While France was unsuccessful in commandeering ArcelorMittal in the sense of nationalization, it has, in another sense, bound the company’s freedom by forcibly inciting the company to operate as if it were a bureaucratic entity by pouring funds into a weaning venture. Subsequently, ArcelorMittal will have to redevelop its supply chain. This may include closing operations in other countries where it has substantial capital investments so that it can streamline and facilitate a financially successful future.

Arguably, developing a stable and financially successful future is the ethically responsible priority of any firm. Biblically, this point is echoed in the parable of the talents that Jesus narrates. In this story, three servants were entrusted a portion of the master’s wealth and commanded to invest the moneys. Two of the servants went heartedly to work and doubled the investment .The third servant, however, buried the investment and later had nothing to show for what he was given. This servant was rebuked and what he had was taken away from him (Matthew 25:13-30, ESV). Similarly, government intervention and regulation of business is likened to wasting investment. It impacts global business as it discourages companies to operate in a financially responsible way. Thus companies struggle with resulting consequences of inefficiencies and unfounded expectancies. The recent closure of Hostess is an excellent example. Between government regulation of the industry and the selfish demands of governmentally permissible unions, the company was faced with meeting ludicrous demands or facing closure. Unfortunately, though Hostess sought to meet the demands and produce a financially and ethically principled plan, the organization was forced into closure and as a result many individuals, some quite deservingly, lost their jobs. Now it is ArcelorMittal that strives to meet the demands of the French government and its socialistic regulatory policy. And likely enough, it may only prolong their inevitable fate unless the steel market can regain strength.

Overall I am not surprised with the actions of the French government and their abuse of power. Politics and supremacy, this day in age, seem to trump ethically responsible judgments that would benefit society as a whole, through free market extremities. Their socialistic agenda is a noxious pollutant to businesses globally as growth is stifled by discouraging incentive with the unreasonable excuse and falsely defined doctrine and notion of demanded fairness.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324205404578151383591045230.html?mod=WSJ_business_whatsNews#printMode

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Oh you want to tell your story but you don’t know where to start / Well, your mother’s pretty lonely but she don’t have a heart / And you met the rich and famous and they’re screwed up the same / Even “love will tear us apart” don’t ease the pain

There indeed is a growing uncertainty during this worldwide economic crisis. It is a plight that has emerged and universally affects even the greatest of nations. Many countries are laden with hefty debts, stagnant economies, and extraordinary unemployment.

The United States is not without its own entanglements that need be resolved. Our leaders have spent trillions of dollars in hopes to combat this state of economy. There have been many ideas of thought ranging from spending programs to budget cuts. Yet we find the economy in decline, families struggling to provide a stable income, and individuals surviving paycheck to paycheck.

From observation, there seems to be plenty of reporting regarding the effects the economy has on certain societal classes. Sadly, it seems a hostile jealousy is being cultivated between the “haves” and the “have-nots.”

A current example would be the recent class warfare encouraged by the Occupy Wall Street movement. They claim, as “a leaderless resistance” of a diverse group of individuals, to represent “the 99%” of people, which will no longer tolerate “the greed and corruption of the 1%,” (Occupy Wall Street, 2012). While they may have noteworthy ideals, their thinking is humanistic, rather than biblical, as they falsely premise that those who are wealthy purposefully suppress the poor.

Born out of what could be argued as their own greed and corruption, the Occupy movement has adopted an attitude of entitlement. Purporting, with a Robin Hood mentality, that the poor have a right to what the rich have earned. Instead of being responsible and seeking a respectful solution, they childishly shift the blame of their own economic frustrations through vices of vengeance and hatred.

But the irony remains. A world corrupted by sinful humanity seeks a self-serving humanistic explanation. To an unbeliever, the hurt and pain they face is a direct response to the fear they feel when they realize their hope, their wealth, is not enough to guarantee a stable and secure future.

As Christians, we need to sympathize with the suffering that these individuals face because an accurate assessment of the situation reveals that the real issue is not the deficit of their pocketbooks, but the deficit in their hearts.

And it is this revelation that suggests opportunity – an opportunity to love, to teach, and to proclaim the Gospel. For until the unbeliever recognizes that there is no hope outside of the God of Israel (Psalm 130:7) they will continue to live in fear and desperation.

This Truth is conveyed through an intentional conviction that we are to live our lives as a worship offering to Jesus Christ by ending any personal hypocrisy. We are called not to merely be hearers of the Word, but doers. It will be through our actions that an authentic faith will be revealed if we trust God at His Word and believe that He keeps His promises (Psalm 18:30), including the assurance that our needs will be met (Matthew 6:26).

Once we recognize that the heart of the issue is the issue of the heart, we can liberate ourselves from any perverse hope and unwarranted fear. This does not mean, as Christians, we will be removed from financial trial or tribulation, as we still are affected by the economic woes facing humanity. But we can seek biblical wisdom on such topics as finances, education, investment, and giving to prepare ourselves as astute stewards of the resources God has blessed us with.

WILL OUR REAL LEADER PLEASE STAND UP?

I am distinctly American.

And I am proud of the United States.

But I am disappointed in it’s current leadership.

I feel as if they want to see this great nation lay in ruin. The most recent crisis we face as a country is our default on debt owed – an astronomical figure reaching trillions of dollars. In two days the United States could default on it’s payment. In two days an economic mess could escalate. In two days the great country known as the United States may come to be known as anything but great.

So how do we solve this problem? It seems simple. If a household is spending more money then they are earning, eventually they will rack up a good pile of debt if the issue persists. To get out of the debt problem, they would cut their frivolous spending and start putting earned dollars toward their debt – eventually paying their debt off. But what seems simple, is often a tough task to begin. Eventually it becomes a habit if a commitment is made to remain frugal and responsible.

I would love to see Congress set a balanced budget and stick to it. But what we are witnessing is Congressional sparring on Capital Hill. I must admit that I am proud that Speaker John Boehner has put forth an effort. He faces a furious challenge against a cowardly President who will not lay grounds for negotiations. Instead, this President hides behind his Oval Office desk and threatens to veto any bill that is conservative in nature – any bill that promises America a confident future.

So as I sit here flipping channels between FOX-news and CSPAN I am lost in frustration.

Where is our great leader? Where is the man we are to look to in a time of crisis?

We need a man who has the solution. We need a man who is decisive. We need a man who will look this issue right in the face and destroy it. We need a man who doesn’t care about his political popularity. We need a man with conviction. We need a man who is humble. We need a man who is truly a servant.

Or is it foolish to put your hope in man?

We must remember that God places men in positions of power and authority. “The sentence is by the decree of the watchers, the decision by the word of the holy ones, to the end that the living may know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will and sets over it the lowliest of men” (Daniel 4:17). He places specific men in authority to allow events to unfold so that we can witness His glory.

Certainly the United States is facing a pressing issue that will shape the future of the nation, but as we look for the solution “don’t put your confidence in powerful people; there is no help for you there” (Psalm 146:3). Instead, I urge you and I urge our leaders to get on your knees and acknowledge the Most High. Seek His guidance. For His Word say, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD” (Psalm 33:12).

We need to look to God as our Leader and maybe He will show favor upon this nation once again.

-Chaz Oswald