Tuesday, May 27, 2008

"The Spirit of the Game"

A noteworthy post by Seth Godin. I get the sense that the majority of us rarely pause to consider the origins of wealth and even those of us who do, don't communicate those ideas particularly well given the complexity of the ideas (ok fine, that's just my excuse). Unfortunately this leaves the majority amongst us (and in this case abroad) susceptible to stupid ideas like this:

(from Guy Kawasaki's Blog)

It's one of the reasons why I am highly reluctant to succumb to realpolitik. Winning the battles can ultimately mean losing the war if others see Western politics as corrupt and self serving as those in their own countries. To quote "Tigerhawk" - on the subject of wealth and energy:

If you believe -- as I do -- that wealth is the surest expression of human creativity, then you also believe that America's great inventions spring from our system, not the natural resources with which we have been endowed or the winnings of imperialism. But most peoples of the world (including American leftists) do not understand this -- which is why they do not invent anything important -- and instead view American wealth as if it were looted, rather than created. Hey, if I thought America was rich from theft rather than creativity, I'd feel guilty too.
I therefore view it as encouraging that Seth Godin (who isn't shy of promoting the Democratic Party in the US) recognizes that it's generally far easier to create wealth working through "the system" rather than looting and gaming your neighbours and customers. This is a lesson that too many in China (and many other places in the world where any given transaction is viewed as the the last with any given client) still need to learn - and this above all other "cultural" traits differentiates doing business in China versus in the West.

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