Thursday, May 26, 2005

Tom Friedman is puzzled:

America faces a huge set of challenges if it is going to retain its competitive edge. As a nation, we have a mounting education deficit, energy deficit, budget deficit, health care deficit and ambition deficit. The administration is in denial on this, and Congress is off on Mars. And yet, when I look around for the group that has both the power and interest in seeing America remain globally focused and competitive - America's business leaders - they seem to be missing in action.

Perhaps he should listen more to his own pro-globalization rhetoric. America's business leaders have. Take Boeing, for example. Their 2002 annual report says right up front that "We are transforming -- from a company that knows how to market in countries around the world to one that is a 'citizen' of those countries." And erstwhile CEO Phil Condit said in 1997 that he wanted folks outside America to stop thinking of Boeing as an American company. So this is Boeing's response to the decline in America's prestige and influence: stop being American. And oh, by the way, hire overseas. (Some might think this is not an ideal attitude for a company that gets something like 57% of its revenue from... ahem... "the defense and space sectors." But Congress doesn't object, so who are we to complain?)

At least Boeing hasn't gone as far as Cisco, the networking giant. Speaking in Shanghai not too long ago, their CEO, John Chambers, proclaimed "an entire strategy of becoming a Chinese company"...


Blogger The Haikuist said...

Maybe Friedman is hoping that we will all gain our competitive edge by learning how to be the best Starbucks baristas we can possibly be.

5:15 PM  

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