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Economic advice to China, Japan and Korea Economic advice to China, Japan and Korea
by Joseph Gatt
2019-11-09 10:47:33
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Let me shoot straight at what China, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan's economic woes are. Small industry is the hidden champions. But, unfortunately, the university system teaches students that they only have the following options: giant conglomerates, or a restaurant, or a pub, or farming, or fishing. And because these people are not taught to think outside the box, they get stuck with those options. They apply for giant companies, if they fail that they start a pub, and if they fail that they farm a plot of land or fish.

econ01_400It's not fair for that generation. What really works in those countries is small industry. By small industry I mean ceramics, furniture, watches, jewelry, accessories, kitchen equipment, and those smaller things like ashtrays, nail clippers, stationary, curtains, wall paper, hair salon equipment, store equipment like shelves, anything related to glass, electrical devices, neon lights and so on and so forth. Those who are engaged in these trades tend to be in good shape, and tend not to complain about the recession.

But what do young people in China, Korea, Japan and Taiwan look at? They want to start bakeries or restaurants or pubs, or perhaps sell makeup or develop a smartphone app. When it's only a few doing that, it can work, but when everyone in the 20-40 age range does not consider small industry as a career path, we have a problem.

The economy is not just about smartphones and grocery stores and restaurants and pubs and Samsung and Huawei and Sony. The economy is also about socks and buttons and needles and thread and chopsticks and spoons and electric devices and alarm clocks and nightgowns and those furry slippers that have the shape of bear feet or tiger feet that keep your feet super warm in the harsh winter. Just as an example, good quality alarm clocks are incredibly hard to find in East Asia. I know smartphones have alarm clocks, but some people, including me, like to be waken up by that loud cocodoodle sound mixed with an alarm bell in the morning.

So my advice to the honorable Xi Jin Ping, Moon Jae-In and Shinzo Abe, who are honorable leaders who bare the incredibly responsibility of economic growth, in countries where economic growth is always tied to the leaders. Focus on the small industry.

My advice to the friendly students who have incredible levels of stress and lose sleep over the possibility of finding a job. I would tell those students that law school is great, that Sony and Mitsubishi and Toyota and Samsung and LG and Hyundai and Huawei and Ali Baba are awesome (but the corporate culture is very violent in some cases). But your only options if you fail to get a job at big companies or in public service are not bakeries and grocery stores and restaurants and pubs, or something related to smartphones or makeup. You also have the option of working in small industry, which has been the backbone of your countries for the last 70 years!

After all, China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong have it all. The transportation networks are excellent. Distribution networks are excellent. Human networks are excellent. Export opportunities are excellent. But if everyone thinks the only options are Big companies, a restaurant, or farming, that can't work.

This is just friendly advice. I really hope these countries can go back to 6 or 10% growth rates. 

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