“When I was growing up, my parents told me, ‘Finish your dinner. People in China and India are starving.’ I tell my daughters, ‘Finish your homework. People in India and China are starving for your job.’” Thomas Friedman
The story is told of a woman who came to her younger sister’s house to commiserate with her over the untimely demise of her little son at the age of 6. As other sympathizers wore a mournful look and were discussing in low tones, this woman started shouting to the consternation of everyone in the room “ I knew it! I knew it!! I knew it!!!”. Another woman rushed to her, feeling she was almost losing it, out of the shock of the loss and asked, Aunty, what is it? What do you know? She went on, I warned my sister about marrying this her Chinese husband, but she wouldn’t listen. The inquisitive lady then retorts “what has your sister’s husband got to do with her son’s death? Her response shocked everyone in the room. “Chinese products don’t last”. Many of the people had to temporarily suspend their grief to manage a laugh.
Before we dwell further on China, it is apposite to briefly look at the experience of Japan. Those who are old enough would remember that this was exactly how Japanese products, including cars, were derided in those days when Europe and America dominated the manufacturing sector of the global economy. At the end of the 2nd World War, following the crushing defeat of Japan, the hitherto warmongering nation was banned from keeping any significant army not to talk of waging wars.