Chinese Scholarship in a Worldwide Context
It’s a lovely day today, warming up enough that soon the pool will be eminently swimmable. I’ve finished my scheduled allotment of Chinese-to-English edits and read about a third of an Iraqi woman’s memoir that I’d agreed to “beta-read” some time back. And now I’m thinking I’d like a beer but don’t want to have a beer without dinner and feel too lazy to fix a dinner and so probably will refrain from the beer.
“Beta-read”: That means read it (usually for free) and critique it without editing it. Both of these works are extremely interesting.
The current team of Chinese economists did an elaborate study of the inner workings that create stress in successful multinational corporations when they attempt to list themselves on international stock exchanges. These stresses are significant and, from what I can grasp, may even go so far as to threaten the company’s existence.
They stem from cultural ideas about money, about business, and about government that differ radically between East and West. In China, the government itself — or the Party — has what amounts to a stakeholder’s interest in certain kinds of major corporations. The upshot of this is that any time, some part of the corporation’s board of directors will be government functionaries.
These folks will be there to help insure that the corporation’s ethos stays focused on the culture’s accepted view of a company’s raison d’etre. In the West, a business — particularly an incorporated one — exists to make money and to enrich its stockholders. In China, well…yeah, that’s all well and good. Obviously a company exists to succeed and thereby will make money; but it also has a duty to support the mores and the progress of the country (i.e., the government) itself. Part of that involves taking care of the employees; there are other implications, too.
That alone would be regarded as a conflict of interest in most Western countries (at least, those that don’t have Donald Trump at the helm… 😉 ). You can imagine the potential for corruption, as you can imagine the frowning-upon by a stock exchange such as NYSE.
So what ensues when a company gets listed on an international stock exchange such as the NYSE is an intense conflict of values brought to bear on the firm’s management and leadership. The outcome of that can, in theory, be poor decisions, paralysis of decision-making, getting crosswise with the government or public opinion, and on and on. In some respects this conflict may weaken the company, in the same way that having to deal with excessive bureaucratic bullshit can weaken a business in the US. It certainly does nothing to make life easy for the company’s management.
They interviewed a number of upper-level executives in various departments of their subject corporations. The remarks these guys make on the subject are very interesting.
Speaking of Business
This paper and a second one coming in this weekend, plus a little income from the blog, will just about make this month’s revenue goal for The Copyeditor’s Desk. If this continues through December, there will be enough to distribute a little dividend.
And that, I hope, can be put toward shoring up the shack. Now not only does the pool need to be replastered, but the back wall is starting to lean. It will need to be (expensively) repaired.
Thanks to the
rolling box of computers new car, instead of $2,000 to $4,000 left at the end of this fiscal year, I figure about $700 will remain from this year’s RMD. That, alas, is not good.
It’s way too close a margin for survival, and it doesn’t come anywhere near leaving enough to cover the growing number of fix-up jobs the house needs.
So that makes Chinese scholarship look even more interesting!