Tuesday, April 08, 2008

A kick in the teeth for Human Rights

 Crouching Tiger: Hidden DragonThe new Free Trade Agreement permits 150 martial arts instructors into New Zealand. Well, thank goodness for that. I realise the shortages have been terrible for all concerned - the Shaolin Shortage. Communities up and down the country have been feeling the pinch. Many have been forced to rely on reruns of Crouching Tiger: Hidden Dragon.

By the way, there is nothing - in my mind wrong with Free Trade. I am not opposed to it. Nor am I opposed to a prosperous New Zealand. I am opposed to dealing with oppressive fascist regimes.

As for the benefits of forging an agreement with the Chinese, bear in mind that, culturally speaking, a contract is just the start of negotiations with the Chinese. There is a brilliant book about China One Billion Customersby a journalist James McGregor

McGregor has spent nearly two decades as a journalist and business executive in China. China, as he notes, is crashing its way onto the world scene as a rapidly growing economic powerhouse, and the challenge confronting the nation is learning to manage the large, complex organizations that will be necessary if the country is going to continue its ambitious climb to the top of the economic ladder. McGregor posits that the sudden transition from the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s and 1970s to the scramble for wealth in the 1980s and 1990s has left a deeply scarred society experiencing an economic and social upheaval. To reach the next step in its economic evolution, he believes that China must find ways to go beyond some of the lingering cultural, social, and psychological barriers that will soon impede that progress. The struggle now is to discover the management principles and techniques that will harness and focus the immense energy and intelligence of the Chinese. A detailed case study of an unparalleled rise to power.

Whether not New Zealand businesses are capable of succeeding via the deal is yet to be seen. Even very large companes like Lion Nathan have got it all horribly wrong in the past. So all the happy talk from vested interests should be taken with a grain of salt.

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