I know it’s hard for my current and past East Africa safari clients to think of that culture as competitive with our own, but watch out, America, you’re missing the obvious. And by the way, how did you celebrate the Chinese National Day yesterday?
The development in the underdeveloped world is staggering. It’s as staggering as America’s faltering. Once at the top of every metric, today America health care is last among the most developed countries, consistently behind all other developed countries in education, and a continuing slip for more than a decade in personal incomes.
Our consumption increases faster than our production. Bad dynamic. We need to sheath our pride and look to Kenya and China.
These two countries in my life time were once considered abjectly impoverished and underdeveloped. Today they are rocketing into the new world with a potential impact much greater than America’s.
Yesterday, Kenya celebrated the Chinese National Day with elaborate ceremonies in Nairobi. While America was congratulating itself on its constipated legislature passing a law that did little more than slap China on its wrist for currency manipulation, thousands of Kenyans attended a Chinese trade fair in Nairobi on Wednesday, wholesalers buying from manufacturers – it was a madhouse.
The wife of my transport manager in Arusha has a suddenly prosperous business selling Chinese textiles and clothing throughout Tanzania.
And China is getting deep oil, natural gas and precious minerals from areas in East Africa that North American companies abandoned about ten years ago, before China had developed the deep-earth technologies.
The lethargy in America today with local politics, the fatigue with a failing economy and the general overall cultural malaise is a disease of complacency and over confidence.
It’s this presumption that we were always TOP and always will be.
Wake up, America. One of the few metrics we continue to command is military spending and number of wars. And those of us with some experience in the outer world can only keep screaming about what we know: “Foreigners are doing better!” Much better. So it isn’t a problem with the world; it’s a problem with America.
Should we care?
Of course I’m happy for East Africa. But I’m American. I’m not chagrined that I’m being bettered, I’m astounded that we refuse to learn from abroad. That we continue to shoot ourselves in the foot, rather than dare to step forward into a new world.
And that new world is one of Chinas and Kenyas, and if we’re to cure our malaise, we need to look to them.