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The China Dream

2003-06-21 17:28:05.194918+00 by Dan Lyke 0 comments

I went into the bookshop in the airport terminal looking for some light reading for the flight home. After finishing Talk of the Devil: Encounters With Seven Dictators[Wiki], the only other thing I had for the airplane was a history of Hong Kong[Wiki](which turned out to be less than satisfying). But somehow The China Dream: The Elusive Quest for the Greatest Untapped Market on Earth[Wiki] by Joe Studwell caught my eye. Well, despite a good long rest on the plane, I've finished it. A good quick read (mostly because the last third is notes and sources) about the follies of those who went rushing into China in the '90s expecting to find a vast untapped market. The Internet wasn't the only bubble of that era.

One of my own business problems is that in living in the San Francisco Bay Area I'm so far from manufacturing facilities and the actual creation of "stuff" that there's a big disconnect between the theoretical and the practical. However, in my short visit to China I met some smart people who were accomplishing with nothing, but who were working within a rigidly heirarchical social structure which left no place for innovation and rewarded age and etiquette over ability. China could be a lot more than just cheap labor, but it will take a huge cultural shift to make that happen.

The China Dream[Wiki] confirms those observations, and points out the failures made by various big U.S. companies as they dove headlong into that culture, seeing the trappings of success and mistaking that for success.

[ related topics: New Economy Bay Area Sociology Work, productivity and environment Hong Kong ]

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