While living in China, I found attitudes about the US and its current economic troubles were sometimes shockingly pessimistic. One of the professors from the University of Sun Yat-Sen suggested our troubles were due to laziness. This Chinese professor of business development in China went on to say Americans had become a bunch of couch potatoes that didn’t know how to work hard anymore.
This underestimation of the American work ethic was not uncommon in my discussions with many of my graduate Chinese counterparts. They thought finding a job in America sounded like a horrible punishment when I would mention my eventual return. Statements, such as, “America is going to fail soon. You should just stay in china,” and, “America is on its way down in the world,” were common responses from fellow Chinese classmates.
I have been back in America now for the last 2 months and although I can see the foundation for much of what these educated Chinese people were talking about, I believe they are too far away from the problems that America is facing to even understand why and how we are in this current economic situation and what our future might be. That distance is not geographic, but more based on the inflow of information they are receiving on a daily basis about America.
The American spirit is much stronger than the world remembers. Our greatness and rise to great economic success came out of the depression and war. These are two things that are very apparent in today’s society. So, do we think the current economic recession and wars with the middle east will result in the same economic successes? Or are these signs that we are close to bankruptcy and mass failure?
I believe the world has become so interconnected that we will be able to build on China’s growth and Indonesia’s growth and India’s growth and so on. It’s hard to predict the future, but if the American spirit is anything like it has been over the past 60 years, then America has a long way to go before we will call it quits.
I look forward to being a part of a new generation of Americans that stand up and face the challenges of our time and work with the world as global citizens to create an even better and more balanced economic success for the world as a whole. China and the rest of east and southeast Asia will be a great key for our successes to come and I am excited to be connected to such a movement of growth. Our world’s are getting closer and one day I hope both sides gain a better understanding through a more accurate and helpful flow of information and news.