I am still enjoying the unofficial start of summer here in the United States which is Memorial Day weekend. Spending time with family and friends is a big part of that tradition and I relish every moment. Tuesday morning immediately following I will get on a plane to Tokyo for a few business meetings followed by a trip to Hong Kong and then into China for more meetings. I won’t be in any one place for more than three days so it will be a fast trip – at least for me.
Whenever I go to Asia and meet with non-Americans I am invariably asked about how things are going back in the United States. At this moment I am having difficulty coming up with any answer aside from – feh. That’s a technical term for those of you that don’t know – you can look it up on Google if you like.
I am think that American to American, people would describe the overall situation of many as not being great, politically divisive in a nearly unprecedented way, and fraught with uncertainty. When you think of it that way that description would fit many country’s today – in Europe and now in Asia as well. But
I am not sure that I would represent the current USA status in those terms to my friends and associates in Japan and China.
The situation in Japan is extremely difficult in many ways as the country tried to rebound not only from the 2011 earthquakes and tsunamis, but from major changes in Japanese society and the Japanese economy itself. I will offer more thoughts on that after I’ve been there a couple of days as I’ve not been in Tokyo for over three years and from what I’ve heard things are far from being back to ‘normal’ – whatever that means.
And then there’s China. While the U.S. election season is set to be in full bloom, the nine member standing committee of the PRC is undergoing its own preparations for new leadership as of October. With more and more information leaking out of China the world is getting glimpses of things that normally stay under the radar. The Chinese economy is cooling off and the RMB is slowly (too slowly for many financial market experts) appreciating. That’s often perceived as a bad thing which is odd to me since it was not long ago that the Chinese economy was in danger of overheating. I don’t seem to recall a period of equilibrium but maybe I was absent that day.
Obviously things could be better in the U.S. as well as around the world. Major transitional changes continue to unfold as the countries of the world are rejiggering to be best prepared for the overall emerging world economy. It’s changing fast, it’s confusing, it’s scary at times but it’s also very exciting.
There’s an expression I’ve heard said about the United States that I will probably use as an overall description. It goes something like ‘The U.S. can be counted on to do the right thing – after it’s tried just about everything else’.
Do you think the U.S. has tried just about everything else yet?