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Cross Culture

United Nation's Treaties: Bad for the United States

August 5, 2006 | By | No Comments

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United Nations

Korean War Medal The United States hasn’t gotten our money’s worth from our dues to the UN. But my dad did get a nifty UN medal. He got some others with a “V” device. But US troops are still in Korea.

The UN continues its poor track record. A few years ago Charmaine wrote an article detailing how the UN thinks and presents global legislation. None of it good for the US of A.

And the UN has improved little since then.

Beware of big sister: Charmaine Yoest exposes a troubling treaty with a teflon title. Get ready for more shenanigans at the UN

AN OBSCURE TRIBUNAL known as The Committee has urged China and Mexico to decriminalize prostitution, chided the tiny nation of Belarus for reintroducing Mother’s Day–the holiday promotes a “sexual stereotype”–prodded the U.K. to begin sex education in primary school, and informed the Irish that “the time had come” to revise their restrictive abortion law.

Although The Committee can express displeasure with any U.S. policy that strikes its fancy; it currently has little impact in this country. But that may soon change. Its mission is to assess the status of women in countries that have ratified the UN’s Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, known as CEDAW Iraq, Cuba, and other global model citizens have ratified the convention, but the United States hasn’t–at least not yet.

Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Joseph Biden (D-DE), member and chairman respectively of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, are trying to change this. They have held hearings aimed at ratifying the convention. Kofi Annan, secretary-general of the UN, described CEDAW as a “key pillar of international human rights law,” which stands as a milestone” in the quest to define “the universal norms of gender equality.” The United States is the only western industrialized democracy that has nor ratified….

Continue reading at the jump.

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Thank you (foot)notes:

Charmaine Yoest, Ph.D. blogs at Reasoned Audacity and FRCBlog.

The article first appeared in the Women’s Quarterly, Autumn, 2002.

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Bribery as a Cost of Doing Business In Washington, DC

May 30, 2006 | By | One Comment

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Your Business Blogger

with back office hardware

Bangalore, India In India it’s called “Speed Money.” In Mexico it’s call “Facilitation.” In China it’s called a “Relationship.”

In the US of A, it’s called a “Bribe.”

Except in Washington, DC, where it’s called “Love.”

Frank Robinson, an Inspector for the Washington, DC Department of Transportation was caught on tape asking for love; asking for a bribe. According to The Washington Times, May 25, 2006:

Mr. Robinson: You want your permit right away, right?

Contractor: D*mn right I want my permit.

Mr. Robinson: You need to love me, baby, you need to love me. I did my part; you didn’t get no fines or anything.

Contractor: Give me a price. I got to talk to my people about money. Tell me how much.

Mr. Robinson: What you think man? If you had somebody …watch something so you didn’t get a $2,500 ticket?

Contractor: Frank, I need a price.

Mr. Robinson: Give me $500.

Sounds much like doing business in a Third World Nation. Or maybe it is. As Washington, DC has often been compared.

Your Business Blogger once had a boss in the medical device business working the Washington, DC hospitals. He advised me on how to deliver “the gratuity” which was usually in a brown paper bag, to the key influencers and decision makers. My boss was a pro. He directed me to give the goods only after the contract was signed as a “reward.” Rather than before the signed order.

The “thank you” was a box of donuts.

A difference of degree from $100K Congressman Jefferson received as a “gratuity” I suppose.

As Your Business Blogger consults with international clients, particular attention is paid to the difference between a gratuity and a gratuity.

And I would lecture smugly on the superiority of God-fearing English-speaking Capitalists (that’d be us) ruling the world.

(Test: Find something in your house made in China Syria.)

People always ask, “What is the main difference in business between USA and [country X]?

The short answer is that North America has trust as then central tenet of business. The Puritan Work Ethic. I would advise, discreetly, that Americans expect an honest deal. The rest of the world expects to get screwed.

Nobel laureate Milton Friedman spoke to this. He said that a cultural prerequisite of making money is the holding of truthfulness as a common virtue.

When you can trust a merchant’s word, says Friedman, “it cut[s] down transaction costs.”

The North American flavor of capitalism makes the most money and leaves the best taste. Even with an occasional rotten apple in Your Nation’s Capital.

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18 Apr

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What Does China Admire Most About America?

April 18, 2006 | By | 3 Comments

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It is good to have health

and strength

…number one…

a strong country

It is good to support

your country… Your Business Blogger was touring a large Chinese university. (Goodness, every Chinese university is large.)

Anyway, I was interested to see China’s interest in American marketing. American ideals. American riches. The American source of riches:

Wal*Mart

Narnia

Corvettes

The United States of America Internal Revenue Service.

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…Strength through taxes

IRS Form 1040 signs

at a university

in the Middle KingdomThe IRS. China uses the IRS Form 1040 as …inspiration.

For Heaven’s sake.

China’s leadership looks to the American model of tax collection as the enlightened path to good government funding.

China looks in amazement at the American population compliance to the tax code. Population control. Clean compliance.

Without revolution.

But this is depressing. I wish Americans were more revolting.

On taxes.

Happy Tax Day.

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Thank you (foot)notes:

China doesn’t need to look half around the world for a taxing template. Hong Kong would be a terrific start: a 15% flat tax. And no capital gains tax. Steve Forbes would be pleased if the USofA were more like this part of China. Compliance is easy when the cost of tax payment is less than the opportunity costs of tax evasion.

See AllFinancialMatters.

Visit Simon World for reasons to move to China.

Few have traveled to China as much as Director Mitch at The Window Manager.

Blogroll Virtual Handshake for references.

More at the jump.

Jeff Cornwall has a great graphic. Go visit.

Visit the Tax Carnival at Don’t Mess Wtih Taxes.

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Aslan's On The Move

March 29, 2006 | By | No Comments

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Chinese Snacks in Chengdu Your Business Blogger was looking for a bit to eat. Maybe some local flavor. In Chengdu, in the middle of China.

A traditional snack. I dropped into a small grocer and loaded up. Pringles, Oreos, washed down with a Coke. And Cheetos chaser.

Then I noticed something. As I looked down into my feed bag, I saw international brand names.

(Nothing escapes Your Business Blogger.)

Peter Drucker said that innovation and marketing were the only competitive advantages the USA needed.

The raw ingredients in Coke and Cheetos are commodities. Available anywhere. Cheap.

The real added value is in the marketing. From America.

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Pepsi ad at The Temple of Heaven, Beijing

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Wyeth formula ad in the Beijing subway

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Starbucks at Beijing Airport

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Coke bench ad in Chengdu, China

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Narnia sidewalk poster, Chengdu Narnia? In the Middle Kingdom?

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Narnia at a theater near you, Chongqing, China American marketing on the move.

Aslan’s on the move.

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Thank you (foot)notes:

Interested in Narnia? If you are near Glen Burnie, Maryland, be sure to come to the C S Lewis lecture Thursday nite.

More pics at The Travel Bug

See Snacking Across China.

Visit Basil’s Blog for his pick of good posts.

Army of Davids; Army of Blue Ants

March 28, 2006 | By | No Comments

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Internet Cafe in Chongqing, ChinaYour Business Blogger just bought The Big Blogger, Glenn Reynolds’ new book An Army of Davids: How Markets and Technology Empower Ordinary People to Beat Big Media, Big Government, and Other Goliaths.

The Instapundit thesis is not, I think, limited to the US of A.

Technology; people; institutions face the same challenges the world over. Your Business Blogger has become, gasp! a globalist.

army of davids book

An Army of Davids

When working in China I was reminded of another army — an army of blue ants. Twenty years ago, foreign visitors noted, not unkindly, the ubiquitous blue Mao suits. A hard-working populous; one mind; one suit.

Fashion has changed in China.

Colors, style, trend. Pushed by teenagers and embraced by all.

And the teens are pushing, as they do the world over, in other directions.

Your Business Blogger visited an internet cafe on my last China trip. Etiquette hint: Don’t ask for the non-smoking terminals. A non-smoking section? Heh, as Reynolds would write. The whole country is, well, Marlboro country.

Directions to the cafe were complicated. It was hidden in a dimly lit smokey warehouse accessible thru a back alley — safety was never a concern — workstations as far as the eye could see. 100’s of them. An hour on a keyboard sets a hacker back one yuan. 12.5 cents.

The arena was filled with 20-somethings all gone gaming. Smoking and practicing English.

The kids looked like they were there for days. I was there a few hours myself.

And not a Mao suit in sight.

What’s the matter with kids these days? Beijing is wondering.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that China is attempting to limit the Web’s influence on young people.

Goodness. Attempting to limit access to the web! Big Brother stopping freedom! Big Government controlling all behavior!

Except.

Except Beijing wants to limit kids under 18 to five hours — five hours of on-line gaming each day.

Maybe that’s not such a bad law after all.

Now if China could keep the kids from smoking…

Like our Government does.

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Thank you (foot)notes:

More on Mao suits at the jump.

Dana Blankenhorn has his limits. An excellent review.

Tim Wu, from the Columbia Law School has a white paper at The World Trade Law of Internet Filtering.

For the best in business in China, visit David Daniels at Global Market Development and Internet Adoption in China.

Median Sib has excellent review of Davids.

Don Surber has best of Thursday Posts. Bookmark him.

Mudville Gazette has Open Post.

See Feld’s Thoughts on A Different View on China.

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23 Mar

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China's New Statue for Brotherhood and World Peace

March 23, 2006 | By | 3 Comments

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Ronald and Jack pledge global unity

at a shopping mall in Shanghai.

Many pundits forecast war with China within two decades.

I would forecast lunch.

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The I’m Lovin’ It ad McDonald’s popular ad campaign is well known across America. The boys in Hamburger University near Chicago came up with a brilliant branding tag line winner that is well recognized. And well received around the world.

Yep, nothing beats good ol’ Yankee innovation and marketing. American know-how.

Ni Hoa?

Hello…

The ad was created in Shanghai, China.

We have more in common than we realize: making friends; making (Star)bucks.

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Thank you (foot)notes:

There are more than 700 McDonald’s in China with over 50,000 staff. See more at the jump.

From the China Daily

China’s creative history goes back centuries. The world’s first print ad for Liujia Zhenpu (Liu’s Needle Workshop) in Jinan City, Shandong Province dates back to the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127).

This predates the first European advertisement, a British Bible poster from 1473, by more than 300 years.

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Visit Basil’s Blog for the best blogs.

Don Surber has best of Saturday and is looking for a job at the Washington Post.

Mudville Gazette has Open Post.

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Faked Out in East Asia

March 21, 2006 | By | No Comments

“It’s all fake,” said the young man who lived in town.

We were looking at acres of a bazaar, that was, well, bazaar bizarre. Rolex, North Face, Mont Blanc, DVDs as far as the eye could see.

None of it was real.

There was a ‘new’ word that swept thru elite American campuses a few years ago: Authentic. Professors liked the word because it had three syllables instead of the single syllable ‘real.’

Inauthentic for the academy was even better — it has four syllables instead of single syllable ‘fake.’

So.

In this (new) age of exploring our feelings, few ask any questions about the emotion of fake goods; stolen brand names.

How does the fake North Face make you feel?

Your Business Blogger owns a real Armani suit, purchased some time ago from a reputable establishment. (Yes, only one.) Every time I slip the coat on, I stand a bit taller.

Tragically, few people have ever recognized or identified the brand name suit on its smug owner. No one knows it’s an Armani.

But I do.

And that is the difference. The suit is real. The emotion is real. Ergo I am real.

The feeling is authentic.

Not everyone is as shallow as Yours Truly. A fake brand, a fake suit would make me feel like… a fake.

And feelings are the only things that count.

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Full Disclosure: Your Business Blogger did a little shopping in East Asia. And bought a North Face duffle bag to haul all the loot home. I was assured that it was real. A sign, in English!, said so.

The Carnival of the Capitalists is up at CaseySoftware.

Differing Weights

March 20, 2006 | By | One Comment

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Milton Friedman

Trusting TransactionsThe biggest challenge my American female clients have is learning effective negotiations.

They should spend a month in East Asia.

Most retail shoppes in that part of the world are modest mom and pop store fronts. Where evey price is negotiated.

Designed to extract the last yuan in consumer surplus.

Shopping in this environment is exhausting for Your (western) Business Blogger. Different cultures. But when in Rome…

So I ask one of my local clients his opinion on the custom of haggling over everything. Everything.

I thought he would wax nostalgic on the old style interaction of true competition: buyer vs seller. The best pricing equalibrium of quantity demanded with quantity supplied. A romantic Asian metaphysical transcendence of commerce.

Did he like the East Asian pure sales process…?

He hated it.

(Your Business Blogger can be such a dope.)

He said:

Everytime you buy something it takes so long to reach an agreement…it takes too much research for little items

Another local said the non-stop haggling was “draining.”

So why does this system continue?

Lack of trust. It is all buyer beware in Mandarin.

There is no trust in a fair offer. And,

There is every expectation to be cheated.

Nobel laureate Milton Friedman spoke to this. He said that a cultural prerequisite of making money is the holding of truthfulness as a common virtue.

When you can trust a merchant’s word, says Friedman, “it cut[s] down transaction costs.”

Without adherence to common moral principles we must substitute external controls to govern business behavior; efficiency demands a framework of standards and accountability.

But there are modifications a-coming. Large retail shops in new malls have established set price policies.

Large international retailers coming to East Asia, such as Wal*Mart, have set prices. And they are reintroducing old traditions from the world over.

There is an ancient Jewish tradition of the prohibiting of “differing weights” for commodities. Established known weights would be used with a fair scale to measure items, grain to gold. A dishonest merchant would use a lighter or heavier weight to tip the scales for unjust enrichment.

Different prices for different people. Which is frightfully inefficient.

East Asia loves speed. Loves making money. Loves making money fast.

To get rich is glorious.

East Asia will tolerant no wasted motion.

So.

Honesty is not only the best policy. East Asia is a bit more pragmatic. And a bit more demanding:

Honesty and trust make for good business.

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Consumption Seen As Next Big Driver of Growth

March 18, 2006 | By | No Comments

Read the above-the-fold headline story. And to get this growth the government wants to:

…raise personal income by scrapping [some] taxes.

Is this another evil plot hatched by George Bush and Karl Rove?

Cooked up by the the Rascally Republicans wanting to reduce taxes?

Nope.

The headline is not from capitalists in the good ol’ US of A.

The headline is from the communists in East Asia.

The communists.

Goodness.

Jiao Xiao Yang has the byline in China Daily on 16 March. The government’s leadership would not be happy with the mere 12% GDP eye-popping growth.

It is not enough that 50% of the world’s concrete is poured in China. Or that 40% of the world’s steel is consumed in China.

To get even more growth, the communists want to cut taxes.

Something the communists in our own Congress won’t do.

Let us put the Democrats on a slow boat to, well, China.

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Thankyou (foot)notes:

The US economy needs 3% growth to keep even with population growth. China needs only 0.6% growth to keep even and maintain existing standards of living.

Be Rich and Have Sons…

March 17, 2006 | By | One Comment

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The Sons of Thunder…is a common prayer in East Asia. Done with incense by devout and cultural Bhuddahists.

Your Business Blogger was a bit curious about this superstitous nature when visiting an ancient temple.

Until.

Until, I remembered a nifty BMW advertisement a few decades ago:

Every man should plant a tree, raise a son and drive a 12 cylinder car

What may be superstition 4,000 years ago,

Is called marketing today.

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Full Disclosure: Totally unrelated to the BMW advertisement, Your Business Blogger has planted a tree, is raising the sons of thunder, but has never owned a 12 cylinder car. Unless a 1957 Chevy counts.