You catch that Fortune article -- You
have 7 years to learn Mandarin
-- about China surpassing the United
States economically in seven years? Whether it's seven years or fifty
doesn't really matter, I suppose, since people will be arguing
about how to measure this for a while. And the measurements themselves
are changing, it seems. How convenient. Whatever. I think it's cool
either way because it offers new opportunities, and that´s what I´m
after. In fact, aside from the word freedom, I can´t think of another
word that describes Americans better than the word opportunity. Can you?
But Fortune seems defensive. We are supposed to "worry" about this, and we are told that American individuals "can avoid
competition with Chinese workers by
doing place-based work, which ranges in value from highly skilled
(emergency-room surgery) to menial (pouring concrete). But the many
people who do information-based work, which is most subject to
competition, will have to get dramatically better to be worth what they
cost. For government leaders: Improve U.S. education above all."
The first part of that paragraph is ridiculous. You can't "avoid
competition" in a global economy, and I´m not "worrying" at all. Why
not embrace the change as an opportunity? In fact, wouldn't be cool to
live in China for a bit to check all this out first hand? Wouldn´t it
be cool to learn some Chinese and interact with Chinese from their
perspective for a while? I don´t see very many people in the US
thinking this way about the rise of China (and India, for that matter,
and some other emerging markets around the world, too). In fact, Sin-Yaw
has it right when he comments about the Fortune piece: "The
new generation of business leaders, now in their 20s or 40s, must
learn to do business in China and with Chinese. 7 years is not that
long to master a language, especially when one is not even trying." I agree. And I´m
reading this view (the not trying bit) over and over again. It´s defensive.
Oh, well. I suppose that´s an opportunity for those who see it differently, right?