Doing business entails certain risks. You make a big investment of money and time, and you hope that your gamble pays off. Maybe people will come to your restaurant. Maybe they will buy your product. Maybe they will contract for your services. But you can't be sure. You've taken out loans on the expectation that if you build it, they will come.
Ryszard Zoltaniecki is a sociologist who has also worked in the Polish foreign ministry, where he served as the ambassador to Greece. It was not long into our August 2013 interview in an outdoor café in Warsaw that we began to address larger questions like the European financial crisis. The economic setback, he pointed out, marked the end of an era.
Instead of proposing a liberal alternative, the United States seems to be apologizing. Statements explaining away the actions of ISIS with lack of job opportunities or poor governance can be used to justify genocide. But the strongest indication that America has entered crisis-mode is that it can no longer make its case.
HONG KONG -- Despite its media portrayals as a spiritual and cultural wasteland, China is home to more than 200 million people who are either "Buddhists, Taoists or worshippers of legendary figures such as the Dragon King and God of Fortune." China also has 36,000 mosques, 45,000 imams and over 21 million Muslims. By 2030, it will have a Muslim population larger than Saudi Arabia's today and a Christian population larger than any other country in the world. The world's largest publisher of Bibles, Amity Printing Company, is located in the Chinese city of Nanjing.
On a trip to Cuba recently, it was clear to me that change is in the air. It wasn't just that President Obama and Raúl Castro had agreed to see if relations could be normalized, nor was it an admission that communism had failed. Rather, it seems to be an understanding that some form of capitalism is sorely needed to breathe life into the Cuban economy.
In Poland in the late 1980s, Polish sociologist Jadwiga Staniszkis began writing about "political capitalists." These were colloquially known as "red capitalists" -- technocrats and enterprise managers who were technically part of the Communist system but had already begun to function like capitalists.