Ines F.

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Sarah, super interesting article! I imagine that there are many companies that have experienced a similar situation. I’m a bit skeptical about the company being surprised about it. Illegal immigration usually translates into cheaper workforce (I wonder if you checked their labor costs!). I would imagine that an immigrant with legal documentation would have more labor options and would avoid this type of jobs. I liked your idea about hiring high schoolers, though there are some limitations to the number of hours that they can work per day and per week, among others. Perhaps automation is the solution in the future?

Kamau, this was very interesting to read! It brings me back to the idea of comparative and absolute advantage. In international trade, nations benefit from producing those products in which they have a comparative advantage. The tax leaves both the US and TPP countries worse off.

A few years ago, Argentina imposed tariffs on electronics (including computers, tablets and TVs) to protect local manufacturing workers assembling these products. Accessing electronics became so expensive that Argentinians began to cross the Andes mountains to acquire these products in Chile. What’s even worse, a black market for Apple products emerged.

When these protectionist measures are taken, it is important to evaluate the potential impact beyond the desired increase in local production and employment.

On December 1, 2017, Ines F. commented on Monsanto’s Battle for the Future of Farming :

Laura, this is a very interesting topic! I wonder how these issues will develop in the near and medium term. It is necessary for their long-term strategy to focus on addressing climate change concerns, not only through reactive measures (e.g. helping farmers mitigate climate change) but also through a proactive approach, as they are great contributors to climate chaos. I’m interested to see the impact of Trump’s decision to pull the US out of the Paris climate change agreement on Monsanto’s strategy and decisions going forward, and whether public scrutiny will be sufficient to push Monsanto in the right direction.

Very interesting article, Olivia! As I was reading about how Bunge is trying to improve traceability to make sure that the whole supply chain is “sustainable”, I could not help but think about the important role that blockchain could play here. I’m glad that you are suggesting that Bunge consider blockchain. It will deter farmers, distributors and other players in the supply chain from adopting processes that do not address climate change concerns. Blockchain will also help Bunge prevent potential reputational issues.

I also like the fact that they are considering diversifying their product mix by introducing algae oil as an alternative to oilseed products. There are many companies that are exploring alternative ingredients, which are produced in labs, to fight climate change (as well as food security and farm animal welfare). It comes to my mind Impossible Foods and their “creation” of a meatless burger that tastes just like meat.

Pascal, thank you for the article! Every time I read about automation I cannot help but think about the future of the workforce. I agree with your comment about humans still being required (as machines won’t be able to predict disruptive megatrends), but I believe that the ones who will suffer the most, at least at first, will be production employees… those whose jobs do not require a high level of education / training. Eventually, I see AI as the workforce of the future. I wonder how governments will address this issue and if they are thinking about it at the present. Elon Musk believes that governments will have to implement a form of universal basic income, and I wonder whether it will still be necessary for us to work at all. The more efficient production may lead to higher GDP… but how will it be distributed?

On December 1, 2017, Ines F. commented on Starbucks: the rise of mobile orders :

Very interesting, Sahael! It looks like Starbucks implemented digitalization without properly evaluating its impact. Now they are trying to find solutions to address the increased number of orders and wait times. One of my concerns is around utilization. Will a higher number of orders require to hire more employees or buy more machines? If that is the case, I would like to see how these increased orders are distributed during the day. I assume that during the morning (before going to work), Starbucks may receive more online orders than any other time of the day. Will the increasing number of orders mislead Startbucks and push the company to make a wrong decision?