Concern the nature and direction of the economy in which a firm operates and the emergence of international power brokers. a) Because consumption patterns are affected by the relative affluence of various market segments, each firm must consider economic trends in the segments that affect its industry . b) On both the national and international levels, managers must consider the general availability of credit, the level of disposable income, and the propensity of people to spend . c) Prime interest rates, inflation rates , and trends in the growth of the gross national product are other economic factors they should monitor. d) Among the most prominent of these power brokers are the European Economic Community (EEC, or Common Market), the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), and coalitions of developing countries.