First list, then fireworks (photo: Will Scotton, Flickr)
Call this blog predictable, but it is the end of the year and we makeâ€¦our list. Mostly, it is about things that happened in 2007, but a short outlook on 2008 is also included. We will be back in January with some changes in our blog line-up and of course more news analysis. Until then, we wish a great 2008 to all our readers!
Topic of the year 2007: Climate change
This pick is predictable – the UN climate report, the G8-meeting in Heiligendamm and the summit in Bali were all highly commented and their results controversly discussed. Two questions remain: How long will the public’s attention remain like this and will the nations really be able to find binding and sustainable agreements over CO2-emissions?
Person of the year 2007: Hu Jintao
I did not pick Vladimir Putin because Time Magazine already did. Taking into account how powerful China has become in the last couple of years, Hu Jintao is a proper choice (it does not mean kopfzeiler appreciates or supports his actions, „person of the year“ is a vote for the most influential person).
The American fear of Chinese imports, German’s anxiety of Chinese spies and the Western world’s indignation at China’s backing of the Myanmar junta are just a few examples about the economic and political powerhouse the land of the rising sun has become. Ahead of the Olympic Games, Mr Hu’s government put a lot of effort to present itself as a reasonable player on the world stage.
How long will it last? Its surveillance of the internet and treatment of political opponents lead to a rather gloomy prognosis. Still: Mr Hu and his government may be disliked in the Western world – but this should not be an excuse to use it to stir up prejudice and groundless xenophobia; likewise, its economic blessings may be appreciated, but should not hinder its trade partners to look at the humanitarian abuses and ecological failures in the country.
Most underrated events in 2007:
The conflict in the northern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The conflict in Sri Lanka.
The mproving security situation in Iraq in the last couple of months.
Huge changes in Japanese politics, society and business-rules.
Articles of the year 2007:
Nadya Labi’s story about a murderous internet romance with a twist, Wired.com
Joshua Green’s profile of Karl Rove’s role in the Bush administration, Atlantic Monthly
Emily Nussbaum’s article about “the biggest generation gap since Rock’n Roll”, New York Magazine
Journalist(s) of the year 2007 (national): Klaus Ott, Markus Balser, Hans Leyendecker
Süddeutsche Zeitung’s three reporters did what journalists are there for: exposing failure and corruption. In this case, they revealed Siemens‘ „culture of bribery“ with hundreds of millions paid for bribes and other dark businesses all over the world. The events leventually ed to the resignation of Siemens-CEO Klaus Kleinfeld and board-director Heinrich von Pierer. (Disclaimer: I write for sueddeutsche.de and Süddeutsche Zeitung).
Journalist of the year 2007 (international): James Surowiecki
This is not for a special article, but for his general writings: Business can be so easy – if Mr Surowiecki writes about it in the New Yorker. Equipped with an easy-to-understand, but never trivial language, he explains how the economic system and the business world work, draws amazing historic analogies or illuminates angles that had not even crossed the reader’s mind before.
Most ambitious media launch of the year: CondÃ© Nast’s Portfolio
CondÃ© Nast still invests in print media, and with Portfolio, a high-brow business and lifestyle magazine for managers, they may have found the right crowd that can still afford to buy mags. With high profile journalists and high investments, the publishers take a lot of risk – if the credit crunch does not continue to ruin the economy, it could well pay off.
Best blog (national): VisualBlog – das VisualOrgasmWeblog
Crowdsourcing is his inspiration and his case: In my opinion, Matias Roskos does a great job in covering this field, reflects trends and problems but never loses his optimism that the “wisdom of the crowds”can have an impact beyond creating new business models. Next year, though, I hope to name a political blog – but in that field, Germany is still a developing country. (Disclaimer: I know Matias and he helped me a lot for NewAssignment, but that does not change the fact he does a good job)
Best blog (international): Global Voices Online
If there is an Esperanto for blogs, it is GVO: This network tells you what political and social bloggers around the world have on their mind, translate posts and help you get insight into what really matters around the globe. With the new Project Lingua the dream of a one-world-blogosphere comes one step closer.
Country to watch in 2008: China
Not surprisingly, the land of the rising sun will be in the focus of the public. For the first time, we might see a double view on the Olympic Games: Sports on the surface, but political discussions will pop up everywhere. Watch out for the internet as a medium for protest and in-depth-report about the real situation in the country.
Economy to watch in 2008: Brazil
Lucky Lula: New oil findings in 2007 could give him the chance to include market economy as well as a social agenda into his political portfolio. A robust growth, strong domestic demand and growing exports make the country one of the emerging stars, not only in Latin America. Watch out for Brazil to become an interesting investment place for more and more Western companies, but also look for Brazil’s multinationals to continue investing heavily abroad. Dark spots at the horizon: The influence of the stagnating American economy and the country’s inflation-problems, which could continue to cut in investment as interest rates remain high.
Finance trend to watch in 2008: Credit crunch affects consumer credits in the US
Credit card debts, especially for students, are already on the edge – a tough year for American consumers might lie ahead. The rest of the world does better, though, as emerging economies continue their decent growth
Business trend to watch in 2008: Emerging Multinationals and banking mergers
Never heard of BYD, Sadia or Mahindra & Mahindra? Watch out for 2008, as emerging countries‘ multinationals will gain more and more market shares. With the big merger time over in the West, a lot of companies from China, India, Brazil or the Middle East region are ready to spend their money on valuable assets around the world.
At the same time, the banking crisis may put a lot of credit houses into deep trouble. As the re-evalution continues, look out for bank mergers to clear up the market.
Digital Trends: Continuing death of Digital Rights Management+ first signs of 2.0 bubble
Safe pick as it is obvious DRM has no future. Watch out for new Web 2.0 efforts and for the first 2.0-business-ideas to crash. There is a bubble in the internet market, but it will still get bigger until it bursts.
Presidential candidates for 2008: Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani
This one is hard to tell, but after all Hillary Clinton will make it to be the Democratic Nominee. She is strong in a lot of States after Iowa and Barack Obama has still to have „his moment“. On the Republican side, Mike Huckabee might be to weak (substantially and monetarily) to continue going strong after Iowa and Mitt Romney has not been able to get rid of the mistrust by the party’s base. John McCain could be an outsider guess, but a lot of Republicans consider him „a liberal in disguise“. This leaves chances for Rudy Giuliani, though he has taken a risky tactic by basically stopping to campaign in Iowa and New Hampshire and concentrating on States like Florida. But just a couple of days before the first caucus, the race is still „too close to call“. Kopfzeiler.org will give its own endorsement for both sides on January 3rd 2008.