I’ve been a longtime proponent of a global economy. But from my opportunities to travel and the glaring absence of China from last week’s world Climate Summit, my opinion may be changing.
When out of the country, I’ve found that many of the people in the places I’ve visited (China, Central & South America, Europe) all looked as if they just stepped out of Walmart or a Nike shoe store. I don’t know what I expected, but I found myself wanting and disappointed to find their cultures and simple lifestyles being erased. For some reason Mark Twain kept popping into my head, a lot, and I wondered what this well-traveled, cursing man would have to say.
Spreading Our Culture
It begs the question; Is spreading our western culture to the rest of the world really such a good idea? Who knows if we have it right?
Haven’t we all learned that in spite of what advertisers try to tell us, more stuff does not make a person happier. Some stuff … yes, it does. But too much stuff is burdensome. And that our Western consumption of buying cheap, China-made products is causing deforestation, loss of jobs, and burdening landfills. In addition, the transportation of goods across oceans, skies, and roads creates greenhouse gases, smog, and a loss of our protective ozone. In the 1999 movie, The Matrix, they refer to human beings as a virus, a plague on the planet. That seems weirdly apropos, now.
Wisdom from Experience
Now, I am in no way an ecologist or an economist, although I do have four decades of business experience. I have navigated FAB through two wars, two recessions, and the dot-com boom. I’ve grown the business from a one-man office in my home with card files to an internet company with 40+ employees, seven departments, and two business locations. I knew from past politicians vying for votes, that just the mere mention of a federally mandated wage increase would spur inflation and create a loss of jobs on American soil. And I know, but don’t really understand, that America’s economy is entrenched in China’s economy in more ways than just consumer goods. They are the largest single holder of our US Treasury bonds.
Currently, we can all see that our neighborhood store shelves are bare, watch on TV the back log of containers sitting in the ocean and in ports, and hear the finger pointing as to why that is. The truckers blame the ports, the ports blame the ocean liners, ocean liners blame the out dated infrastructure. According to the Journal of Commerce the only people getting rich through all of this are the ocean liner companies who are boasting 60% record breaking profits for the second year in a row.
For once in my life, I am stumped, speechless, and have no solution to opine about. But I am also optimistic. I told husband Grady that I can’t wait to see how the world and business will change in the next 10 years. We live in exciting times where almost any kind of change seems possible.