Sunday, November 7, 2010

Uppity Asians

Well I see Burma is having elections, hmmm... wonder what they're voting on? Probably which color for the jackboots crushing their windpipes. So it could go either way I guess, black or brown.

It's not Burma anymore, not technically. It's Myamar or something. There's ingratitude for ya. British empire worked hard marching red coats all over that part of the world, providing them easily pronounceable names.

Now there's no more Bombay, Calcutta, or Peking. What is it with those folks in Asia? I think they're just trying to be difficult.

President Obama is over there right now, presumably to make the case our Asian trading partners actually contribute to US job growth. Hmmm... interesting ground to stake out. Perhaps Mr. Obama can get millions of unemployed Americans to believe that; but I know darned well the Indians and Chinese don't believe it.

And that's a really funny thing about how this East/West dance is shaping up. We think we're playing checkers, and the other folks are playing chess. The Indians and Chinese are economic nationalists.

To them, all Western talk about "we'll raise their per capita income and then they'll be able to purchase manufactured goods from us" is hilarious. They don't see a future like that. Asian leaders see themselves as the recipients of a massive importation of manufacturing expertise, paid for with low labor costs.

Indians and Chinese don't foresee some future where they buy US made chainsaws. They'll make their own chainsaws.

Interesting question is who really has the upper hand in Asia; China or India? Controversially, I believe it's India.

In the weird little quirks that history often provides, India is in much better position for the 2010 global economy, due to a 19th century spent with red coats.

Law, business and accounting according to Western practice has been well known in India for over 150 years now. It's ingrained there; not a second language but mother tongue. Hey? Did you know a guy used to export New England ice to India, early 1800's? Yeah, that's a hilarious story, but must stay on topic.

China, enormous land with lots of natural resources. Those murdering thugs in charge are very adept at locking up even more natural resources. You thought I was gonna say locking up dissidents, didn't ya? Well they're really good at that too, but I was talking about something else. Africa is swarming with Chinese right now, wherever there are natural resources to be optioned. I don't know if the Chinese have begun mining copper in Afghanistan yet, but the deal's been signed.

But the middle kingdom is really new to ground level capitalism. Modern business, there are hundreds of transactional points along the way where corruption and corner cutting impact efficiency. It's there that India has edge over China.

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