Working abroad isn’t what it used to be.

There is an old Three Stooges movie in which the boys have been sent by their company on a business trip to Mexico and receive a telegram from the head office saying they have been fired (nowadays they might be “right-sized”) and no further funds will be coming their way. There ensues a crazy hour or so in which Moe, Larry, and Curly try to sneak out of their hotel without paying, get chased by the police, and escape from jail, all punctuated with the pokes in the eye and bops on the head for which they were famous. [click to continue…]


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I have been in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, the past few days, working on a World Bank Group assignment to help improve the investment climate.  Minsk is a European-looking city with wide boulevards, grand neoclassical buildings, and a fairly prosperous air, most people fairly well-fed and well-dressed.  The streets are clean and free of crime, and there are none of the gangs of drunken youth or ominous clusters of mafiosi up to no good that I remember from previous trips to other parts of the former Soviet Union,   A fairly normal place, you’d think.

But Belarus  has a serious image problem. [click to continue…]



For most of my professional life I have been pretty much a single issue voter. I’m not talking about abortion or gay marriage, but trade. I’m in favor of it. That has normally caused me to vote Republican, though I was reasonably happy with Clinton as President, mainly because of his solidly pro-trade stance and his vigorous promotion of NAFTA and AGOA (the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act). As much as I disliked Bush 43, I thought he was sounder on trade than Gore or Kerry.

This time it was different. [click to continue…]