I was interested and a little disturbed (in a good way) to note that English is now behind Japanese (and, half a year ago, Chinese) in terms of blog posts, according to Technorati’s Dave Sifry (see also Ballpark.ch). The French are probably panicked because they have fallen behind Russian. All this is more cause for using services like Babelﬁsh, as I relayed in February.
It illustrates that English is slipping as a global lingua franca, and that fact is tied to the decreasing brand equity of English-speaking countries. Whether this means a fragmentation of languages or the rise of a new dominant one is unclear; but English can only re-establish if English-speaking nations can show themselves to be moral and professional leaders, not the language in the service of technocrats. Right now, the blogosphere—surely the most immediate written indicator of global trends—shows that that authority is being lost, and that the rising economies are elsewhere.
Markets like the United States may be large, but some are concluding it may not be worth the heartache (the furore over the Dubai ports’ deal, etc., which I always warned had greater repercussions)—except, perhaps, for Red China, still eyeing it as a nation of 300 million consumers. But clearly, being a consumer nation is not enough to keep English on top.
It is the turn of businesses in English-speaking nations to assert a sense of ethics and moral authority, and only then will people see that learning the language is a good thing. But it will take a long time—just as it took a while for English to have lost its goodwill. Posted by Jack Yan, 22:42
"English can only re-establish if English-speaking nations can show themselves to be moral and professional leaders, not the language in the service of technocrats."
I love what you wrote. Again, regarding the state of US business and business leaders, I think you are right on target Jack. I'm in the middle of a very interesting discussion with a number of US (and a few international) photographers regarding copyright infringement. Interestingly enough, the discussion is centered around whether or not the photographers have a right to use music for promotional purposes on their websites without the permission of the artist or label.
The illegality of the matter has been clearly presented (over and over, I might add), yet every one of the photographers voicing their opinion in favor of rampant use of music without permission seems to convey a deep sense of entitlement to do so. To be honest, it is quite sad.
To say that the discussion has been a lesson in how paltry the personal integrity and ethics of my fellow Americans can be is an understatement. I think there is hope, but perhaps not until something drastic happens.
Hi Peter: I’ve been following your Wal-mart posts of late—though not commenting as I think you have said things very well there.
The discussions you are having sound interesting. To me, the law is pretty clear on copyright, and the same laws protect those photographers. To deny the relevance of those laws for the musicians and, I would imagine, to claim their relevance for themselves, is hypocritical at best.
I have had a few interesting conversations with Americans over the last week which paint things in a negative light, too, though I still hold on to the hope that the majority of your countrymen are decent, honourable people. I simply wish I encountered proportionally more, as in the same proportion I ﬁnd elsewhere, in my dealings.
"To deny the relevance of those laws for the musicians and, I would imagine, to claim their relevance for themselves, is hypocritical at best."
Yes!! It is so disheartening and disturbing that they don't seem to grasp that concept. I'd forward you a link to the discussion for fodder, but it is only viewable to registrants of the forum (if you are interested in registering to see the thread, I'd be happy to forward it to you, though I imagine it will only lower your opinion further).
I've been slacking on my posts due to school workload, but have been really grappling with quite a few heavy issues lately. The Wal-Mart topics are more or less always on the top of my mind (there is a great Frontline segment from 2004 that I'm planning on posting about tonight) but I've been struggling more and more with some of the China-related content that I am being exposed to in preparation for my MBA trip next month.
Perhaps I expect too much, or have such eccentric views, but I always feel some sort of conflict with the presenters that we have been exposed to leading up to our departure. A small portion of my classmates and I tend to raise the larger questions of human rights, ethics, the reality of shifting manufacturing to China (and then subsequent nations when wages ultimately rise), and other issues, but we are most often given some canned response that neither addresses the concerns or shows any real connection to them in the first place.
It's a bit much to try and wrap my head around in the next few weeks.
I have a crazy weekend so I had better not seek out that forum from you, Peter. However, I don’t believe your views are eccentric. I believe you to be principled, in the very best way. And when I write blog posts like this, I do hear from many that indicate that our viewpoints are not anomalous.
The “ofﬁcial” Red Chinese responses to so many things are clever brush-offs from people trained well in politics; and because they know that we know about face, we do not push them for more honest replies. It is not something that will keep the Chinese reputation in good standing, either; but I suspect straight answers aren’t going to happen till people feel the threat of punishment, from the Communist Party, is removed.
Thank you Jack -- I appreciate what you said about me.
To be clear, my frustration has been with the US business people and professors we have been engaging with prior to the trip (we have not met with anyone other than individuals from those two groups yet). About half of the individuals are business men and women from leading US companies (e.g. Microsoft, CBRE, etc.) though each has had extensive experience in China and other parts of Asia. The other half are professors that have either studied in or traveled extensively through Asia. Few of them have touched on the broader range of issues, focusing instead on primarily business-opportunity hyperbole (actually it hasn't been that bad -- I just returned from a run so I think I'm being a bit overdramatic).
While we are in China, I look forward to as much interaction with workers, executives and citizens as possible, though I doubt I will be able to form close enough relationships in such a short amount of time to engage in any meaty discussions. I think we are slated to visit two "English Corners" though I again doubt the level of intimacy that will develop will allow more than surface banter.
Thank you for clearing that up, Peter. Perhaps many of the business folks who are in Red China are those who focus on the dollar signs more; I know I have hesitated many a time with forming business relationships there because I don’t look at the money aspect. But it is a shame the professors follow this route—I can only imagine they want to support the establishment to such a degree to aid their own research.Post a Comment
Even if I really like the person with whom I am dealing with regarding Red China, I would be wary because of what the Politburo can do; however, a familial connection is always useful in my situation.
I hope that despite being in the “English corners” you can ﬁnd someone to connect with: maybe some exploring is in order? My father, when he visited there in ’02, thought very highly of the Beijingese, many of whom have managed to stay strong despite the government, and he is a stauncher nationalist (having actually been a KMT member) than I am.
I am a great believer in the old proverb that when the student is ready …
Links to this post:
NoteEntries from 2006 to the end of 2009 were done on the Blogger service. As of January 1, 2010, this blog has shifted to a Wordpress installation, with the latest posts here.
With Blogger ceasing to support FTP publishing on May 1, I have decided to turn these older pages in to an archive, so you will no longer be able to enter comments. However, you can comment on entries posted after January 1, 2010.
Individual JY&A and Medinge Group blogs
DonateIf you wish to help with my hosting costs, please feel free to donate.
Copyright ©200210 by Jack Yan & Associates. All rights reserved. Photograph of Jack Yan by Chelfyn Baxter.