The three countries share similarities that make them suspicious to the Americans: They all generate substantial trade surpluses with the United States because they export more products to the country than they import from it. All three countries are also dealing with the problems associated with aging societies and tend to save more than the Americans would like to see. And, last but not least, all three spend less money on defense than Trump would like and rely too heavily on the United States for their protection. The South Koreans and Japanese have now proposed coordinating their positions with Germany in order to gird themselves from the accusations coming from Washington.
Various management writers have for several years highlighted the role of knowledge or intellectual capital in business. The value of high-tech companies such as software and biotechnology companies, is not in physical assets as measured by accountants, but in their intangibles such as knowledge and patents. The last few years have a growing recognition by accounting bodies and international agencies that knowledge is a crucial factor of production. For example, the OECD has groups investigating ‘human capital’ and also the role of knowledge in international competitiveness. Several conferences in 1997, including one sponsored by the World Bank, have placed knowledge firmly at the heart of the economic agenda.