If we had been in China’s shoes, and it had been us having to offer the cheap labor, land and tax concessions to lure a better developed nation to come in with their expertise and set up factories and the like, we would have done exactly what China has done. We would have learned all there was to learn so we could copy what the more advanced nation was doing and then improve on it. And we would have stolen ideas and pressured them so as to gain an advantage as soon as possible.
Forty years of fast development and China is now a power to contend with. More than that, they are challenging us for world dominance.
Xi Jinping had the daring to announce the 2025 project for his nation to be tops in technology and robotics.
Something wrong with that?
China can’t dare to be tops if they’re not willing to invent and surpass us doing so.
Is there something wrong with wanting to be the best you can be?
China does not have the freedoms we have but they’re choosing to forgo them in the interest of economic and military advancement. At some point they will have to reckon with that but for now they’re pushing ahead.
In response, some sections of our country have chosen to panic. ‘We can’t let them do that, no, put tariffs on them, hold them back!’
Does that sound American to you?
It does not.
It seems to me that, aside from their lack of freedoms, in terms of their sheer ambition and willingness to work for it, China has become more American than us.
And rather than see their rise as a challenge and focusing on better developing and revamping our society, we’re choosing to bellyache. Put another way, some sections of our country are filled with envy of China.
Instead of rushing to our fellow Americans who were left behind by the initial phase of globalization and say to them, ‘here we are with all the training and support needed so we can transform you into world class workers,’ we instead have decided to complain that the Chinese want too much, that they need to stay ‘in their place,’ and tariffs is just one way to keep them in check.
But that strategy is cheap and, additionally, it won’t work. Forever and ever we’ve been the champions of free trade, now the envy of China makes us give up on what we have valued dearly.
Afraid to compete? Yes.
We have freedoms that they don’t have, but we’re not using them to answer their challenge.
We have been a magnet for talent from all over the world but now are paying attention to the chant of ‘send them back’ and believing it.
Immigrants have been an engine of progress but we are paying attention to voices that say ‘why can’t our immigrants look more like Norwegians?’
We have been a cradle for relentless innovation but now, some sections, are choosing to run scared.
Enough of it!
Our openness to the world has always been a treasure. Our willingness to be creative a source of immense pride.
China’s challenge should be welcome, not scorned. We can meet the challenge. But it will take for the bold and imaginative amongst us to step front, and for the resentful and short sighted to step aside.