Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Stuck in A Developing Morass

One of the most important reasons why it is so easy to succeed in 1st World countries is because of the infrastructure both technical and human. Most 1st Worlders are so used to it, the do not even notice it. They take it for granted that phones work, that faxes work, that courier shipments will arrive on time, that the mail will not disappear; that you can quickly and easily obtain products and services that you need, albeit they may be costly at times.

When you work in the 1st World, you can see that you work and efforts bear fruit quite easily. When you make an appointment, people come and usually do so on time, when they tell you they will do something related to business (in which they have vested interest, of course) they usually do it.

When you get to other countries of the so-called Developing World (the modern Euphemism for Underdeveloped World) your first question is always: “Why are they still developing? They have been around for so long. What’s the problem?” Soon, you will see what the problem is. If you start doing business there, you will come up against many obstacles that did not exist where you came from. People do not come to appointments or if they do, they come late and unprepared. When you call and ask the secretary why her boss did not show up, she tells you that he has left for a luxury resort (probably with his new mistress). You want to send a fax, but no one even knows what a fax is. If you do see a place that has a sign that says“ Fax”, and park your car near it (if you are lucky to find a parking spot), you will be met with a dour clerk that will tell you that there is no fax machine at the store. “So, why is there a sign?” Sorry, there may not be any laws there that govern false advertising. No one simply cares. One year later, you pass by the same store and the “Fax” sign is still hanging and again, there is no fax there.

In addition to that, if you want to have lunch and are lucky to be given a menu, and, then, you make your choice and ask the waiter for this and that item, he will just tell you that the item is not available. “Then why is it on the menu?” “Well, it was in stock but it is now out of stock”. “Well, you knew that the stock was getting smaller, so why didn’t you order it well in advance? “ They have nothing to say to you. They simply do not care. They do not know how to thin ahead.

You get into a taxi and the taxi driver does not even know where many places in the city are located. He is there because his uncle got him a job and he is in training as he works.

Then, you are stuck in the traffic for hours and hours trying to get from place A to place B. All this takes toll on your nerves and general well-being and you are starting to see that the country you are in is still “developing” and is not “developed” because, basically, of the more lax culture, less discipline inherent in the people’s behavior, less foresight and a general happy-go-lucky attitude that permeates the whole functioning of the country. Everything is full of unnecessary delays, laziness, and gross incompetence.

You may be an aggressive go-getter and an organized, responsible person, but if you are in country that is limping along in a haphazard and devil-may-care rhythm of its own, you will soon be stuck in a morass similarly to how Napoleon and Hitler got stuck in Russia and that was the end of them.

Modern politically correct interculturalists claim that there are no inferior cultures and that we are simply different. I say: let them spend a few years as businessmen or investors in one of those dysfunctional societies, step into human excrement on the side of the road, choke on black exhaust fumes for a few hours a day in countries that do not believe in smog checks, get stuck in a pot hole in the middle of a busy street and get cheated in business a few times by inscrupulous and corrupt partners whom you cannot even sue because local courts are so corrupt, they will most probably always decide in favor of locals vs. foreigners and see what they will say then. I am sure that they will reluctantly admit that, at least, from the business standpoint, there are countries whose cultures are very, very much inferior.

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