Monthly Archives: August 2012

Human spaceflight in decline

With the sad passing of Neil Armstrong – the first man on the moon – in mind, it’s worth noting that currently the number of living people who have stepped on an extraterrestrial body is in steep decline.

Will Germany with its increasing industrial and technological might step up and increase spending on manned spaceflight so that this negative trend can be reversed? Or will we simply have to wait for American budget deficits to disappear or maybe even the first Chinese taikonauts to take charge?



R&D Spending in Major Economies

Research & development spending as percentage of GDP is going up in Germany and might soon catch up with the US, according to this article in the Economist. Spending in Japan is going down while the UK is still lagging behind.

This link to Booz & Co annual report on corporate R&D provides some interesting reading on R&D strategic advantage.

Germany has world’s biggest trade surplus

Germany has passed China and Saudi Arabia to declare the largest trade surplus in the world, some $200 Billion in current account surplusĀ  this year. A big reason for the rise is increasing industrial exports to China, but a decrease in imports from the Asian giant. A strength in industrial products such as automobiles and heavy industry are big reasons for the successful exports, while an emphasis on producing rather than consuming seem to keep imports down.


Global trade balances – surplus countries in blue, deficit countries in red, the darker the color, the larger the imbalance

Another breakthrough for European retailers in Indian market


Swedish giant retailer Ikea has signed a deal to open up to 25 stores in India. The protected Indian retail market is notoriously difficult to access because of laws protecting domestic smaller retailers. The deal involves Ikea sourcing as much as 30% of its purchases locally. It’s still unclear whether the famous Swedish meatballs will be made in India for the Indian stores, or indeed whether vegetarian balls will be sold in lieu of meatballs in this nation where the majority consider themselves to be vegetarians.,,16155573,00.html