The People's Republic of Capitalism

The past 3 nights Ted Koppel's new 4 part series on China has been airing on Discovery, and in spite of being hosted by one of the driest journalists outside of PBS it is really fascinating. The last episode is airing tonight though the rest of it is definitely worth seeing for those of you with DVR's. I am sure they will be re-airing the series at some point in the near future.

There are too many interesting ideas and comparisons for me to cover here so I will focus on the difference between our countries that jumps out at me the most. They talked to many Americans regarding the exportation of jobs to China, and of course they talked to many Chinese on the same subject.

The Americans were usually (but not always) old, bitchy, set in their ways, and convinced that a company's loyalty to its country of origin was far more important than making a profit. The Chinese, though variable in age, were usually ambitious, optimistic, and mysteriously thought America was a great country that they aspired to be like.

One American lady complained about losing her job at age 50 at which she was making 11 dollars an hour at, and told us it was unfair because she wanted to continue working there for the next 20 years.

Honestly I cannot comprehend this sentiment -that it is somehow "not right" that someone cannot retire at the company/job of their previous employment. Nor can I comprehend why anyone would want to work at the same job for that long. She acted like the most humiliating, disgraceful, and unjust thing imaginable was someone like her having to search for a new job. Meanwhile Koppel was interviewing a Chinese executive at Ford regarding American jobs lost due to Ford moving factories to China.

Koppel seemed to think that it would really upset Americans that Chinese were making American cars and selling them to the Chinese market. It is apparently a popular belief in China that Americans make the best cars in the world. Their brand of choice being Buick with Ford a close second. Of course by "Americans" I mean Chinese workers, in American car factories, on Chinese soil, run by Chinese management.

All I have to say to that is: Y'all can have your American cars, I want my cars Japanese (or perhaps made by Americans in Japanese factories, on American soil...)

Episode 3 focused on car production and consumtion in China, and Koppel kept trying to get the idea across to Chinese executives that nationalism should somehow be important to big businesses. The Chinese Ford executive finally says to him (I'm paraphrasing): But we are not an American company, Ford is a global company. We do business all over the world.

Somehow I don't think Henry Ford would be opposed to this notion.

So while China may not be very capitalistic in the libertarian/free market/limited government sense of the word, they seem to be getting the basic idea far better than we Americans do.

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I object...

I really don't care for Japanese automobiles. I find their styling to be dry and uninspiring, and as for the build quality, it has degraded very much in the last decade. In the last 4 years the American auto-manufacturers have become the masters once again. That is all.

All your domestic-market "Japanese" automobiles were built in the 'states anyways, and the chances are that your corolla, matrix, tacoma were assembled in a GM plant in California.

I will give Kudos to the development of the Toyota-Synergy system, although it too was developed by a group of American companies out of silicon valley...

Cheers.