Thursday, February 23, 2006

Email from Barbara Gilbert

Hi Dan,
Cragg and I were in China last year and saw some of their 7 million acres of apples
(Washington State has about 150,000 acres) and met plenty of farmers and marketers
as well as US trade officials in Beijing and Shanghai
--learned that 70% of WalMart merchandise is made in China--but that is not even considered in
the US /China trade deficit because it is a US company--
& met many ambitious 20- somethings
who are adept in English and very well suited to competing and winning at anything.
(With 1 acre of apples a family of three can survive and have a TV too ---
China has already completely taken over the market in some parts of Asia --markets that Washington
State dominated only a few years ago)
The folks we met were highly disciplined, highly intelligent, focussed, motivated and articulate.
In 1987 we took our boys (when they were 6 and 10) on a Sabbatical and visitied and worked on farms in Southeast Asia (Japan, Thailand, the Philippines, India, China), including Bangalore, now considered the 'Silicon Valley' of India.
No one in the world is waiting for Americans to get over our drug habits, get off the couch, figure out what we're doing etc!! They are flat out competing!
Good for you to teach Friedman.
And let your students know, imagination (and hard work) is required in this world (p.469)!!
The least helpful approaches, in my opinion are whining, suing ourselves out of business,
or finding an enemy everywhere (labeled variously).
In our travels we have found GREAT people everywhere who are more inclined toward friendship than anything.

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