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Lessons from China
 

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I'm just back from China, a provocative place to watch the reports on the demonstrations up and down France. The streets were filled with young and old, equally possessed by the notion that a stultifying, dead-end job is as sacred as liberty, equality and fraternity and that the future can be limited to fromage. (I wonder if taking off a day to burn a Peugot counts against one's vacation? I wonder if this is the only way the French auto industry can actually grow?)

Meanwhile, while France curiously clings to what has become a global caricature, China is in a fury of entrepreneurship. It's seen what a guaranteed job can do to economic growth, personal motivation and yes, a feeling of reward and accomplishment. And the Chinese want no part of it.

I have my doubts about Tom Friedman's hypothesis-by-anecdote reporting style, but I've got to tell you about a meeting I had with a start-up Internet company that was planning a move to expanded quarters. It's not far from here, the young CEO told me. We'll move over a weekend. It's fast. Everyone takes their own desk.

Last updated: Mar 29, 2006




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