Thursday, December 20, 2007

Thinking about China

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This is the building Christmas tree, in the lobby. Not particularly special...but it's ours. The Chanukah menorah was in place last week. I imagine half the people in the building are Jewish. They cover the bases -- well not really for the several Pakistani families who I suppose are Muslim. It's a big building, I think we are a little microcosm of New York.

I spent the day semi in the minds of people who invest large amounts of money in other countries' stocks, in this case in Asia, largely China and India. I say "in the minds," because that is the sensation I have when I listen intently to someone talking for a long time -- it's from transcrbing tapes. But it carries over to "real" life when I listen to others talking about their interests, what they are doing, it's as if I'm partly inside their thought process because one's flow of words reflects habits of mind. Because of my curiosity about world affairs I was interested in what these analysts believe are the intentions of the Chinese government vis a vie development, environmentalism, and international position. Their view is narrow, it's all about money, GDP, growth and how they can make money by investing. They seem not to question the overall social structure or changes millions of people are undergoing -- let alone any repressions of individual expression. The whole picture of any country, any social system is too complex for any but a few academic observers to grasp and they too have their biases. I've just added what I heard today to a tangle of other impressions and I know very well I don't know what it's all adding up to -- except that the magnificent country of Tibet is being destroyed and these people do not know and do not care.

In the Sunday Time was an article about many MBA students who are studing the work of Confucius. It partly suggests they are learning some of the philosphy I've been reading for years of the I Ching. However, these students, who hope to become business leaders are not ones who are going to become political leaders. If they decide to live by Confucian morals, that should be good both for them as individuals and for the businesses they may run...but will it influence the government of the future? Or do they just see it as ways to become rich? I don't know, of course. I can only wonder. Why, really, is this making any waves at all in my mind? I'm far away, it doesn't touch my life, really. I doubt I'll ever go back to China. The only answer is that everything interests me .. with the general exception of pop stars/celebrities whose music, movies bore me and now and then I even get hooked on some of their dramas.

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