Malcolm Duncan

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Sovcomflot should proceed with extreme caution. The Arctic shipping business lives and dies with government regulations. As non-profits, think tanks, governments, and voters look for places to stop any negative environmental consequences, Arctic shipping is sure to be surrounded by regulations like a carcass surrounded by hungry vultures. Although they may be able to squeeze out profits while the human businesses catch up, I’d hesitate to commit too much to the project. On just one piece of legislation, the limb they’re out on could be severed from the tree, plummeting them to the ground.

I wonder if you’ve overlooked, or haven’t given enough weight, to the thought that President Trump may care about the rhetoric far more than he cares about actually moving manufacturing back into the US. GM may be too far gone for Trump to control and he may understand that. But by getting them to trumpet their US manufacturing, he effects many of the smaller manufacturers who look to GM to understand the macro environment. He effects the businesses yet to be started by making them believe that they will ultimately need to manufacture in the US because even big players like GM have been forced to. He’ll also effect his voters by showing them that he’s kept campaign promises, which will allow his reelection and do work on issues that he finds more important. For now, GM management seems to be threading the needle nicely. They should continue.

On December 1, 2017, Malcolm Duncan commented on US Isolationism Takes Flight to Ground Bombardier :

Perhaps monopoly isn’t so bad, though. Sure, the word monopoly has been disparaged to the point that one might think the US Constitution contained an open declaration against it. But some of the world’s great monopolies have been very good to the world. Competition in business, although good for consumer pricing initially, causes companies to lose their margins and profits, thereby limiting what they can put back into their businesses. In the case of Boeing, hurting their profits might hurt their R&D efforts, especially R&D of projects that might benefit humanity greatly but with little odds for success. Boeing has been very good for the world. I’m not sure if it’s so bad for the US to protect their monopoly.

On December 1, 2017, Malcolm Duncan commented on Nestle: Greening the Supply Chain :

Methinks the lady doth protest too much. I think you’re right to key in on Nestle perhaps not doing as much as it suggests for the climate, though I’m not sure it will actually impact their bottom line. Sure, blog posts condemning them may be written, perhaps an errant tweet may hurt their reputation, but the people actually buying their products are unlikely to take their negative environmental consequences into account when they buy their food, candy, water, etc. If companies make it easy for a consumer to pat themselves on the back and make them feel like they’re saving the environment, they may tend toward that product. But I don’t believe that many consumers will avoid purchases due to environmental consequences unless the buyer is highly educated and well-researched, or unless the company has egregiously and publicly hurt the environment.

On December 1, 2017, Malcolm Duncan commented on On-demand Drone at Farm Friend: Digitalization in Agriculture Takes Off :

I’m not sure the fact that DJI is an industry leader and manufacturer doesn’t mean that it poses quite as large a threat as you’ve laid out here as a possibility. With drone technology emerging across all sectors, it’s clear that the applications for new drones are very broad. I’m not sure agriculture would be the most obvious of those applications (photography, weather, and traffic updates all strike me as potentially easier markets to enter from the manufacturing end). To think otherwise is similar to wondering if Volvo would enter the ride-sharing business since they make the cars they can drive in. For now, Farm Friend needs to focus on building relationships and reputation. If they provide their core promise and have broad reach, they can protect their first mover advantage.

I completely agree. I’m reminded of the computer “Deep Blue”–the first computer to beat a reigning chess world champion, at the time, Garry Kasparov. Many analysts took this victory to mean that technology had bettered man definitively. Articles suggesting the end of human intelligence were rampant. Computers will replace scientists, they said. Computers will replace philosophers! But their hermeneutics were incomplete and premature. After the Deep Blue match, new competitions emerged that allowed any man/machine mix to compete. A player could be just a computer, just a person, a team of computers, a team of people, or people with computers. To this day, the only undefeated teams have been people with computers.

Although we can seek to understand what it is human beings add that has so far been irreplaceable with technology, the chess matches following the Deep Blue competition show that human beings and computers have the most to add when they’re working in concert. Deloitte is no different.