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A Question of Values: Google in China, Chinese Products, and Civil Society

By Alexandra Harney, Devin T. Stewart | January 22, 2010

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Alexandra Harney (author of The China Price) and Devin Stewart discuss the human and environmental costs of China's cheap prices; Google in China; fake and dangerous Chinese products; U.S.-China relations; and the new government in Japan.

DEVIN STEWART: I'm Devin Stewart, at the Carnegie Council in New York City. I'm here with Alexandra Harney. She is the author of The China Price: The True Cost of Chinese Competitive Advantage.

Alex, thanks for coming.

ALEXANDRA HARNEY: It's great to be here.

DEVIN STEWART: So what do you mean, "the China price"? Does that mean goods are cheap? Shouldn't we welcome that at the supermarket?

ALEXANDRA HARNEY: "The China price" as a term started to be more widely used around 2003, the early 2000s, by executives to describe prices of Chinese-made goods that were a fifth or even less than the cost of goods made in other countries.

DEVIN STEWART: Are these goods between businesses or from businesses to consumers?

ALEXANDRA HARNEY: When Walmart comes to China, it finds goods that are one-fifth of the price—produced by Chinese factories—of goods that they might be in Mexico or even in the United States.

What I use "the China price" in my book to mean is not only that super-low price, but the human and environmental price of producing goods at such a low cost.

DEVIN STEWART: So it's the cost of creating these cheap goods.

ALEXANDRA HARNEY: Correct. It's the human and environmental cost of being the world's dominant factory.

DEVIN STEWART: You are saying there is a correlation between high cost to society and the environment and producing cheap goods?

ALEXANDRA HARNEY:
I think the world has never seen the scale and pace of Chinese factories' growth over the last two decades. That kind of growth, especially at that scale, cannot happen without some cost. In my book I describe some of the human and social and environmental costs—people who lose arms on the assembly line, towns where the air is so black that white dogs turn gray. There are a number of human costs that I do tell in the book that are all very much what has happened in other countries during our own Industrial Revolution. But what's different about China is the fact that it's happening now, when all of us can see it much more closely. The world is much more connected than it used to be.

The other difference is that it's happening at a time when we care more. We are more aware of those risks of rapid industrial growth and what that means to arms and occupational disease and things like that.

DEVIN STEWART: This is going to relate very directly to a big story in the news right now, which is Google's announcement that it might stop operations and leave China. It already has decided it will stop censoring its search terms in Chinese for Google.cn.

The thinking, in my mind, is that one of the big differences is that not only are these problems happening right now, when we have a more empowered consumer base, there is a more globalized economy, and so forth, but when the United States was going through similar pains, we had a fairly robust civil society. This book about the global travels of a T-shirt talks about this interaction between civil society and business that created a movement for positive changes in factories.

The other thing that is maybe even more critical is a free press.

I don't think either of these two elements is there in China right now. Tell me about that. How do you see the role of a free press and civil society in China? We like to think the Chinese are going through the same things we are, so they are going to get rich and they are going to become democratic, or at least build some institutions. But maybe this is a naïve perspective. How do you see it playing out?


ALEXANDRA HARNEY:
I think one of the key issues that the Google case raises, and the reason it's so interesting, is that it is a question of one society's rules versus another society's rules and a question about the freedom of information, about access to information, which is what Google represents. In China, as is well documented, we have the "Great Firewall," and there is a control on the flow of information.

A lot of my friends in China are not the elites on the coasts. They are migrant workers in the factories. To them, this Google case is a non-event. They won't be concerned about it either way. They feel like they get a fairly good flow of information. They don't know about the Great Firewall. They don't feel like they have a need to read the BBC or to hear some of the TV programs that are blocked.

DEVIN STEWART: So they are not even looking for other ways of getting information.

ALEXANDRA HARNEY: No. And I think those people represent a lot of Chinese, because those alternative sources of information haven't been presented to them.

I think the larger issue for both Chinese factories, and the issues that I raise in The China Price, and with this Google case is about whose values prevail going forward. Do the values that are represented in our desire for a civil society along the lines that we have developed in the West prevail? Is there a model that the Chinese are developing that really makes more sense for them, and that will prevail for them and increasingly for other parts of the world where they are big investors?

DEVIN STEWART: What we are touching on right here, which is a very exciting topic, is the trend and the future of global ethics, ethics in international affairs—the very mission and goal of this institution, the Carnegie Council. One way to think about this is that you going to have authoritarian societies with emerging markets—and there is one big one, which is China.

Indonesia is emerging, but it's much more democratic. India falls into that category as well. These are economies that have authoritarian regimes at home, but want democracy abroad. In other words, they want equal footing with the superpower.

On the other spectrum, you have just the mirror image. You have free and democratic societies at home that want fairly status quo—want to be in control of the international system abroad. The argument for countries like the United States to justify this is, in my mind, "Hey, guys, we're providing public goods. We're providing global security. We're providing norms and standards. We're proving safe trade routes. We're providing a stable financial system"—leaving aside the 2008 financial crisis that kind of jeopardizes the whole argument.


One way we could develop this argument is by saying, you have these two points of view. Is the result going to be a convergence of the two? That's kind of how I see it. I think that the Chinese are going to eventually start to see things like an effect on branding. I think you touched on this just now. If you are abusing your workers, destroying the environment, and generally not creating a trustful relationship with your suppliers, consumers, and investors, then there is going to be a negative impact. That's, I think, what you are seeing with Google. Google is a market player in China. But now, with its decision, I think it has broadened the debate. It has basically said you don't necessarily need to be in China.

One of the big questions out there now is, is China worth it? Is it?


ALEXANDRA HARNEY: I think most companies would say that China is absolutely worth it. What I have found since my book was released and since I have been talking more about these issues of ethical consumerism, of conscious consumerism, conscious capitalism is that a lot of companies, big American companies, have a lot more to say on these issues in China than they do. There is a lot more that they could be doing to raise these issues with the Chinese government.

Ultimately, the standards that prevail in China, the laws and the way they are enforced, are purely the responsibility of the Chinese government. However, American companies could do a lot more to raise concern about issues. Whether they raise them publicly or privately, I don't care. I don't need to have everyone making a stand in Chinese labor issues in a larger forum. That may not be effective.

But I think, especially coming back to the United States, we are shopping blind. We have no way to know where the goods we are buying really come from.

DEVIN STEWART: Is that your next book, Shopping Blind? It's a little teaser, right?

ALEXANDRA HARNEY: I think that was The China Price. The ultimate conclusion from doing the research that I did is that when we buy Chinese products, when we buy products in stores, companies tell us almost nothing about where they come from. Every bite you take of cereal or every vitamin you take is like a mouthful of United Nations. It's coming from around the world. We just have no way of knowing where those things are coming from. And there is no way to know whether they are safe or healthy or good for the environment.

DEVIN STEWART: I went to two cities in China last month, as well as several other cities in Asia. I was very healthy the whole trip. I came to China, and I immediately got sick. Everyone around me was complaining about massive corruption, widespread distrust in society, a great deal of fakery and counterfeit goods.


I'll tell you a little story. I went to Shanghai and Nanjing. I was visiting friends who just had a baby, in Shanghai. We went to get some movies. We were all sick from the pollution, so the only thing we could do was watch movies. We went to pick up a CD. All these DVDs are pirated. So we see the police officer coming down the street, who is going to enforce intellectual-property rights. He starts walking towards these counterfeit vendors. This is how he enforces intellectual-property rights. He waved at them, and they just moved across the street, about 20 feet away and then just carried on.

Meanwhile, things like medicine, vitamins, as you mentioned—with none of these things did we know what we were putting in our mouths. One of the students that we met in Nanjing—you know, the food tastes great in China. They have all this great food and cuisine and thousands of years of culture and history. It's wonderful. But you take a train trip into the countryside and you look around. It's just a wasteland, with piles of garbage. You have to ask yourself, where is this food coming from? Should I trust it?

I asked this student this, and he said, "Well, it's just full of MSG and oil."


ALEXANDRA HARNEY: Of course it tastes good.

DEVIN STEWART: Of course it tastes good. He was missing steamed broccoli with no MSG in it.

Going back to the branding question, are there enough people in China who care, like my friends in Shanghai or the students in Nanjing, who said, "I want something I can trust; I want to be able to eat something that I know how many additives are in it"?

I asked this question of one of my friends a couple days ago, and he said, with a population of 1.3 billion people, even if it's a small percent, then ethical products can make some traction—even if it's 10 percent, 5 percent. What do you think?


ALEXANDRA HARNEY: I think ethical products, products that are produced under safe, healthy, and environmentally sound conditions are a different discussion from safe products—fish that don't have excessive levels of chemicals, meat that's not jabbed with antibiotics to the point that it makes you sick, things that are produced under conditions that don't make you ill when you consume them. That's a separate conversation.

To focus on that, I think doing the research for my book, I learned that the export food-supply chain in China is much safer than the domestic food-supply chain—

DEVIN STEWART: Despite the gyoza scandal?

ALEXANDRA HARNEY: Despite the gyoza in Japan and the melamine scandal. What I learned is that the export regulations and enforcement of those regulations are much tougher than the domestic supply chain.

DEVIN STEWART: This is interesting. I was talking to a Chinese person about six months ago, on our previous trip. I said that the presence of people like you—you used to be with the Financial Times—the foreign press, who are taking their microscope and their magnifying glass and looking around at the problems—this Chinese student told me, "I don't like that. That kind of makes me feel a little uncomfortable."

I said, "The international press is exposing these problems that are hurting Chinese people." They are blowing them up and embarrassing the Chinese government and regulators. There are some severe consequences for people that have been caught.


ALEXANDRA HARNEY: I don't think any of the cases that we have seen with food safety have really been as a result of the foreign press coverage. China has investigative journalists. I was talking to one recently who has done several exposés that have changed policy on food safety in China domestically. It's not to say that there aren't hardworking and well-intentioned investigative journalists in China—

DEVIN STEWART: But they don't have a free press. How does that work?

ALEXANDRA HARNEY: They obviously operate under restrictions. Obviously, it's in the government's interest to have a safer food-supply chain and to have—

DEVIN STEWART: But these scandals have been going on for years in China.

ALEXANDRA HARNEY: Yes.

DEVIN STEWART: And now we start to hear about them.

ALEXANDRA HARNEY: Yes. I think what is interesting about your question about branding is, ultimately, if the rest of the world doesn't trust the Chinese to produce safe food—safe mushrooms, say—why would we pay more for Chinese products that are branded as Chinese brands? Why would we trust them?

So going forward, I think the challenge for China will obviously be to be able to build those big brands and to allow private companies to flourish—not just private companies, but public companies or state-owned companies that have the technology and the soft skills that they need to market things internationally. There is a crucial question of brand image. That only is repaired through better regulation and enforcement of those regulations.

I think one of the really interesting cases in terms of China's efforts to repair its brand image internationally recently has been the advertisement that they ran on CNN, the "Made in China" advertisement, where they had episodes of a guy with running shoes made in China with American sports technology, an airplane made in China with engineers from all around the world, and—

DEVIN STEWART: Alex, knowing what you know about "Made in China" and The China Price, do you buy products made in China?

ALEXANDRA HARNEY: Of course. I think we all have to buy products made in China.

DEVIN STEWART: Do you try to avoid them? If you have a choice, does it matter to you?

ALEXANDRA HARNEY: I don't think in the marketplace we really have a choice, especially living in Hong Kong.

DEVIN STEWART: I'll give you an example. I went to get some jeans. It's very difficult to find jeans that are made in the United States. I went to a Levi's store, and they are all made in China. I went to the Gap downtown in the Village. Some of them were made in China and others were made in Guatemala.

ALEXANDRA HARNEY: And did you feel good about the Guatemalan jeans?

DEVIN STEWART: I don't know. What would you do? Does it matter?

ALEXANDRA HARNEY:
I actually shop more conscious of the companies, given what I know about the companies' corporate social responsibility programs and who is more serious and who is not. Levi's takes its CSR [Corporate Social Responsibility] program very seriously. It pulled out of China in the 1990s. It only went back in when it felt the conditions were better. I know that Chinese factory conditions have improved, but not dramatically. Wages are rising, but there are still rampant abuses in terms of excessive overtime, in terms of cheating on the issue of hours and overhead pay.

DEVIN STEWART: Interestingly, at the Levi's store in Midtown, I asked the guy where the American jeans were. He told me they are all sold out. It's kind of an interesting little story.
I think there is a need, or at least a desire, among some sectors in the United States for some accountability.


What is your view for what the Google episode means? How do you see it playing out?

ALEXANDRA HARNEY: I think it has generated a really interesting debate internationally about China, about corporate strategy on China, but I don't think that it changes most companies' policies dramatically. I don't think that many companies have aligned themselves so clearly with a set of values—in Google's case, don't be evil—nor are their business models so closely aligned with the concept of free access to information. For most people, that's not really an issue that they are willing to lay on the line and sacrifice their China—

DEVIN STEWART: Sure, sure, more tightly aligned with their image and their brand.

About a week ago, we had a big panel, our annual "Top Risks" panel with the Eurasia Group. Our friend Ian Bremmer presented his top 10 risks for 2010. As you probably know, number 1 is U.S.-China relations.


I take that to mean a lot of things. I think the Google episode lights a spark for, I think, a lot of the tensions that are going to start to unwind or play out this year. One of them is going to be the currency issue. A lot of people in the United States are worried about China's intervention in the currency market to keep its currency low, and therefore contribute to the China price.

This is increasing in salience to the United States because of the whole jobs debate. I think a lot of economists who take this particular view—I'm not completely sold on this view, but economists who take this view are aligning with people in unions and the manufacturing sector and politicians and so forth.

How do you see U.S.-China relations playing out over the year? Do you see currency as being one of the pivot-point issues?

ALEXANDRA HARNEY: Absolutely. Talking to people in Washington and on the ground in China—from Washington you hear that we are expecting another round of trade disputes on different products. People in apparel are watching the numbers very closely coming out of China. I think you will see more coming out of that area in terms of requests for protection for the industry.

But what I find most interesting about that is that, talking to people in China and the people who actually source from China, even if China did revalue, adding 5, 10, 15 percent to the value of the renminbi, that does not mean that China will no longer be the dominant source for most consumer goods. I say that for a few reasons.

One, the supply chain for so many products has moved completely to China. If China doesn't provide every part of that supply chain, it is the final assembly base for so many products—you name it, computers, for example. If the renminbi appreciates, there is no other place that can replace China.

Another issue is that price-wise, even with 5, 10, 15 percent appreciation—yes, that will hit the margins of Chinese factories and it could potentially hit the margins of the U.S. retailers who are buying from China, but there is nowhere else that compares on price and reliability and efficiency and productivity.

So what has happened is, if you take the view that China has been undervaluing its currency for years now—it did revalue slightly starting in July of 2005, but obviously it has been held closely with the U.S. dollar for the last year—you realize that China has, over that time, built an unbeatable advantage in so many industries that it is impossible to imagine the volume of production in China moving anywhere else. The vast volume of production is going to stay in China.

Of course, these trade disputes have political value. Of course, it's important to raise these issues with China. But does it really create jobs for Americans? My view is no.

DEVIN STEWART: Do you see a downside risk to making this an issue and forcing it to the forefront of the debate? Number one, could it possibly create tensions between the two countries that don't necessarily need to be there in the first place? Number two, being a Japan person, which you are as well—and we are going to get to that in the next question, so get ready—in the Japan story, the 1985 Plaza Accord, the revaluation of the yen, led to not a very good situation with the United States. In fact, there's this thing called the J-curve, where the trade deficit actually gets worse when the exporter's currency gets more expensive, because the products in your home country actually go up. Could that happen? Could we actually end up getting an even worse situation than we expected?

ALEXANDRA HARNEY:
In terms of the final product, the on-shelf product, price in America, it obviously depends on what the retailers decide to do. Talking to Chinese factories, they will say the retailers will not accept higher prices. In fact, what we did see in 2006 and 2007 was that, as the renminbi began to appreciate, there was not a significant price increase. Chinese factories were not able to pass on the higher renminbi, along with the higher commodities costs and all the other things that were happening.

DEVIN STEWART: These companies, which are, in my understanding, operating on very slim profit margins, are essentially going to have to eat it. Is that what you're saying?

ALEXANDRA HARNEY: I think that initially Chinese factories are going to have to eat it. What happened in early 2008 was that the combination of the renminbi's appreciation and high commodities costs, higher labor costs, meant that, finally, Chinese factories were able to turn around and say to their buyers, "We cannot take it anymore. We need to pass on some of these costs to you." So in 2008, there was, for the first time really, a substantial increase in the China price.

That, of course, was completely erased by the financial crisis.

But what I think is most interesting about how the financial crisis has impacted Chinese factories is that, in some ways, it was the best thing that could have happened to Chinese factories. There is excess capacity in so many sectors in China that one of the positive elements of the financial crisis, though it clearly led to millions of job losses in China, particularly among vulnerable migrant workers, is that it forced a consolidation. And that means better profit margins for the factories that remain. It also, hopefully, for those factories, means that they value the workers that they have more and that they are willing to pay more to retain workers. A lot of workers disappeared and went home to the countryside and were not part of the labor force. So factories couldn't pick and choose from a big labor pool the way they used to be able to.

My view is, in talking to some of the smarter Chinese factories that I know, they used this period to be more competitive. Obviously, the renminbi being where it was helped them in their negotiations with price and helped them have the money to be able to invest in new equipment and move up the value chain.

DEVIN STEWART: Very interesting story.

One of the other of the top 10 risks from Ian Bremmer's very insightful list this year—number 5, I believe, was Japan. Japan all of a sudden is interesting, and people care about Japan. Publications have all of a sudden started asking me to write about Japan again.
As a Japan expert yourself, lots of things to talk about here. You joined the Financial Times in Tokyo in 1998. Is that correct?

ALEXANDRA HARNEY: Correct.

DEVIN STEWART: So you have a whole lot of experience of Japan, and you can probably shed some light on this topic.

The Japanese have basically thrown out the LDP, which was in power for about 50 years. Some people are calling this a revolution. Some people are calling it an evolution. I'm calling it a minor quake, with no tsunami warning. I don't think it's that big of a deal. I think we are basically having similar types of guys coming back from the backrooms. They all know one another. They all have very similar backgrounds, very wealthy and so forth. Hatoyama is an extremely wealthy character, who is now the prime minister.

I was also in Tokyo and Yokohama and a few other places last month. I had a lot of very interesting discussions about the DPJ and Hatoyama and what he is doing with China, for example. In fact, I was there when Xi Jinping was visiting Tokyo. My taxi drove through downtown Tokyo. I think it was near the Kamiyacho area. There were the right-wing sound trucks protesting Xi Jinping's meeting with the emperor, in Mandarin. They were protesting in Mandarin. I have never heard that before.

The first, kind of funny question is, who did they get to do that? But that's sort of a thought experiment.

I came back to New York a few weeks later and asked one of my mentors in New York: What's going on with the DPJ? What's going on with Japan and China? Are we going to head back to a hierarchy in East Asia, where it's China on top and all the other countries are basically tributaries to this top tier? It's a weird way that international relations could very well play out in East Asia.

Let me you ask you something somewhat provocative. This might be one of the topics in my next article on Japan. Is the DPJ accelerating the movement toward a hierarchical society in East Asia?

You have had this sort of oily relationship, where the DPJ brought over the circus to Beijing and had these photographs with the Chinese Communist Party. The first thing the DPJ said when they came off the plane was, "We're the commander of the People's Liberation Army."

I don't know if you heard that one
.

ALEXANDRA HARNEY: No.

DEVIN STEWART: Also Kamei at the FCCJ—I happened to be there—Kamei said to a crowd full of journalists, "As long as the CIA does not assassinate me, I will make sure that Japan does not follow America as it used to."

Japanese politicians aren't necessarily known for their elegance, that's for sure, but these seem to be fairly egregious types of statements, and they do suggest something about the way Japan sees itself with China.

A third episode is Hatoyama's proposal of an East Asian Community to the Chinese, and the Chinese basically blew him off, which was extremely embarrassing to the DPJ. I talked to some of the DPJ guys in Tokyo, and they were quite upset about that.

How do you see the Japan-China relationship playing out there?


ALEXANDRA HARNEY:
The thing that struck me, being more in Japan over the last couple of years, is how concerned ordinary Japanese are about China. It is top of mind for people in business, for anyone buying food or other products. Japan has led the way in terms of raising the standards expected of Chinese food exporters. They are way ahead of other countries in terms of what they expect in terms of documentation and testing and the levels of contaminants in their food.

On an ordinary-person basis, young Japanese and young Chinese have a huge degree of antipathy towards each other, a very dangerous level of misunderstanding of each other. Public opinion polls show that the words that ordinary Chinese people associate with Japan include things about the Nanking Massacre, right up there near the top. My own very ad hoc surveys of young Japanese suggest that they just have a mixed-up idea about what kind of country China is.

Anyway, putting all that together, you see that there is a great deal of misunderstanding, concern, but that it is an issue that everyone cares about. Japan feels itself an empire in decline. China is the symbol, for so many people, of why it is in decline.

DEVIN STEWART: How is that playing out in Japanese society? One of the topics that we wanted to get to today is Japanese societal trends. There is always some buzzword to describe a trend in Japanese society, whether it's "parasite singles" or the freeter or konkatsu, which means, literally, "marriage-hunting."

What are some of the big trends that you see to be important to keep your eye on in Japanese society?


ALEXANDRA HARNEY: The overarching theme is the same as the one with China. Japan is a country that feels extremely insecure right now, that feels itself in decline. Its days are numbered. It has an aging society. It has young people who refuse to produce babies. It has people who refuse to shop.

I did a piece last year on "grass-eating" men. These are men who aren't interested in women, aren't interested in shopping, are just not in any way aggressive about grabbing things in life the way that, perhaps, their fathers were.

DEVIN STEWART: Detached.

ALEXANDRA HARNEY: Detached, exactly, and living a more narrow life, one that is grasping for less. Perhaps that's because they feel that less is available to them to grasp.

DEVIN STEWART: Is the DPJ going to help, in your mind? We didn't get to your view on the DPJ.

ALEXANDRA HARNEY: We didn't. My view on the DPJ is, when I looked at their policy statements—I was there when Obama was there in November. They seemed not to have a solid foreign policy, not to have a solid policy on what they were going to do with the bases in Okinawa. They just seemed to be winging it—and, worse, sometimes winging it in a way that's really damaging to relations with other countries. It is disconcerting to see some of the statements that they are making.

The reason, perhaps, that Japan was on this watch-list from Ian Bremmer is that it is a country that itself feels at a turning point. People are looking for answers. That's part of the reason they elected Hatoyama and the DPJ. They are looking for a new era. Yet some people have pointed out—I'm not sure if I totally believe this, but I think there is some truth to it—people are hoping the government will provide those answers for them. In fact, the answer has to come from ordinary people and companies themselves making choices and building the kind of society that Japan wants to replace the kind of post-bubble society that exists there now.

DEVIN STEWART: Ironic, because Ozawa, who is basically the head of the DPJ, was famous for advocating for citizens and companies to take more of a leadership role in society. Now you have this sort of sliding-back into, "Somebody, please help me here."

How do you see it playing out? Do you have any forecasts?

Let me ask you another provocative question. How long does Hatoyama have in office?


ALEXANDRA HARNEY: I definitely never make predictions about how long Japanese politicians have in office, because, inevitably, you get up the next morning and they are not in their job anymore. I'm not close enough to Japanese politics to know what the latest gossip is. It goes without saying that in politics in Japan there is always some dirt you can dig up on the other guy—probably politics everywhere.

What I think makes Japan so interesting right now is that it has been in prolonged economic difficulties. The societal changes that that has wrought are ones that America should be watching very closely. If we take the argument that China's rise and the financial crisis and the economic disruption that it has created lay the groundwork for slower economic growth, if not a long unresolved period of low economic growth, in America, what is happening in Japan is worth studying for America, not just in terms of politics, but really in terms of social changes. I have read a lot about the "mancession" here in America, how the recession has affected—

DEVIN STEWART: "Hecession."

ALEXANDRA HARNEY: "Hecession," "mancession." Basically, men have taken the brunt of the recession. In Japan, men's lives have changed quite dramatically as a result of their long economic slump.

What I'm interested in is to see how that plays out socially. One of the social trends—you asked about social trends that I see—that is quite interesting is that very young Japanese are starting to have babies. It is much more acceptable now to be a teen mom in Japan. Women's fashion magazines run sections on having kids, clothes for kids. I see this as an attempt to build community, an attempt to find security in the family, in something much smaller. That's similar to trends we have seen in Europe, in Germany. People buy houses at younger ages. There is an attempt to replace what the corporation in Japan used to provide with your own personal community that you build yourself.

Obviously, having kids cost money. But it is a much more individual, narrow focus, rather than a focus on benefiting the company or being a company man.

DEVIN STEWART: Alex, I think I'm going to stop right there, because that is a fascinating way to end, where you are putting Japan as what might be in store for the United States and for the rest of the rich world in the future.

I just read an article—I think it was in The Guardian—about this idea of when Japan globalizes, meaning not globalization hits Japan, but when—


ALEXANDRA HARNEY:
The rest of us become like Japan.

DEVIN STEWART: The world becomes like Japan. So I think it's definitely something to look at.

We are definitely going to be reading your forthcoming articles and books.


ALEXANDRA HARNEY: Thank you.

DEVIN STEWART: I really appreciate your coming all the way from Hong Kong and talking with us at the Carnegie Council. Thank you, Alex.

ALEXANDRA HARNEY: Thank you very much. It has been really fun.


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