You have 7 years to learn Mandarin

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You have 7 years to learn Mandarin

Postby Κασσάνδρα » 03 May 2008, 15:31

(Fortune Magazine) -- Back in 2001 when the International Olympic Committee chose Beijing as the site of this summer's games, the event was meant to mark China's debut as a player on the global economic stage. But a recent study by the economist Angus Maddison projects that China will become the world's dominant economic superpower much sooner than expected - not in 2050, but in 2015.

[...]

China was the largest economy for centuries because everyone had the same type of economy - subsistence - and so the country with the most people would be economically biggest. Then the Industrial Revolution sent the West on a more prosperous path. Now the world is returning to a common economy, this time technology- and information-based, so once again population triumphs.

So how should we make the most of our seven-year grace period? For companies: Focus on getting better at your highest-value activities. Just because the Chinese will be fighting you in the same industries doesn't mean you'll lose. (Investors, remember that China bought $3 billion of Blackstone (BX) at the IPO price of $31 last summer, and the firm is now trading at $19.) It only means you'll have to work harder to win.

For individuals: You can avoid competition with Chinese workers by doing place-based work, which ranges in value from highly skilled (emergency-room surgery) to menial (pouring concrete). But the many people who do information-based work, which is most subject to competition, will have to get dramatically better to be worth what they cost. For government leaders: Improve U.S. education above all.
Fortune
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Somebody once said that the definition of madness was repeating the same action and expecting different results. They could have been talking about democracy.

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