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DaimlerChrysler Chairman Jürgen Schrempp Defends Globalization as an Opportunity (July 2, 1999)

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6. Globalization does not break down connections; rather, the internationalization of communication creates new types of connections.

In 1994, only about three million people used the Internet. Last year, that number had already grown to 100 million, and it is estimated that it will reach 1 billion in 2003. Traffic on the World Wide Web doubles every hundred days. Not tons, but kilobytes are the decisive measure in international competition. News cannot be suppressed – ideas and new products can no longer be simply withheld from people. The Internet gives consumers new options. If a product isn’t available on the domestic market, it can be ordered from abroad on the Internet. And conversely, the Internet opens up new trade channels and markets.

7. Global business approaches do not diminish national responsibility; rather, they strengthen the regional foothold.

It is nonsense to charge global corporations with a lack of patriotism. Just the opposite is true: calls for regulation and isolation are a vote of no confidence for Germany as a business location and for its citizens. Patriotism, on the other hand, is believing in our people and our companies, believing that we can hold our own in the international competition to attract business and industry. “Think globally, act locally” is the key challenge. We know that the only companies that will succeed in the long run are those that are based on national cultures and traditions, and that adapt to their respective markets, because we can no longer succeed and secure jobs through exports alone. We need to secure our competitive position through direct investments on the ground, and we need to be accepted by the people.

In light of all this, entrepreneurial responsibility not only means paying attention to profits but also considering the overall responsibility of entrepreneurial actions. As companies, we have to convey one thing clearly to the public: We are taking the critical questions and concerns about globalization seriously. It is precisely the focus on economic success that forces global corporations to think beyond narrow business horizons. Sustainable growth can only be achieved if companies make a visible and recognized contribution to the economic, social, and also ecological stability of those countries in which they operate and work.

8. Globalization does not reduce individual freedom; rather, it offers new leeway for independent action.

Not only are goods and services becoming more mobile, but the labor markets are becoming more flexible. We experience it every day: loyalty to an employer is no longer taken for granted, and celebrating years of service to a particular company is no longer fashionable. This is not a negative development. Companies are taking advantage of opportunities offered by new work models, and employees are benefiting from them as well. They can use their skills flexibly, can switch not only from one company to another, but can also become self-employed. More and more young people are daring to gain a piece of freedom on the market.

For us as a corporation, this means that if we attract good employees and want to hold on to them, then it is our responsibility to guarantee attractive working conditions. Therefore, at DaimlerChrysler, we vigorously support ongoing training and continuing education for our employees, in the factories and at our corporate university. If our employees are employable worldwide, then we have acted responsibly.

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