Friday, February 6, 2009
No Lawyers Here, Only PhDs (Rick)
I cannot stress enough how China is a nation on the rise in the 21st Century. If you saw the Olympic Opening Ceremony (2008 Drummers all working together) or the cheering crowds watching the fireworks, you can feel it. The May 12th earthquake showed the world how China could regroup after losing 70,000 people, many of them children. The Sunday New York Times had a front page article on the interesting architecture that is happening in Asia, and particularly in China —the Bird’s Nest, the Egg (National Theatre), the CCTV “underpants” building, and now Shanghai with the tallest building in the world.
Many people work 7 days a week, for 10-12 hours a day, sleeping in their shop and taking customers anytime day or night. They also work for peanuts, but are very proud and willing to do any job with a great attitude. At the American Arbitration Association we used to call these folks PhD’s – poor, hungry and driven – the best type workers you can hire. They will do any job with a smile.
This fall I tutored 2 students for 2 hours a day, 2 days a week on English. They were driven by a desire to improve their English. Every Friday 250-300 students and local Beijingers go to the East Gate of Renmin to practice their English from 6-9 pm, no matter what the weather, warm or cold. When students are on campus, every morning from 7-8 am there are students in the park outside our apartment practicing English out loud to themselves. They are working on learning our language so they can get better jobs.
China has 1.3 billion people – four times the population of the population of the USA, but with the same land mass. Right now they aren’t the most efficient. Stores are overstaffed and pay low salaries, but they are learning and working at it. They are becoming risk-takers. China’s government is putting over half a TRILLION dollars to help the economy here. It is an FDR style work project to help the nation and the world recession. They are expecting “only” a 9% growth rate next year after a decade of over 10% annual growth! China is putting huge resources in science and higher education and is expecting to excel. My message to you is clear: China will make it happen and in 11 years (2020) will surpass the USA economy. Keep an eye on China (and India) – they have awakened. China is changing quickly, right before our eyes. This is a place to watch.