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China debate mirrors a larger problem.

In an online article, Chief Executive argued that there's a major disconnect between Washington and America's CEOs with respect to China. Why does Washington choose to beat a steady protectionist drum against China when many American CEOs have huge stakes in that market? Why do CEOs remain silent? It's time for them to help Washington chart a more realistic strategy. Some of the spirited responses follow:

Judging from the general level of ignorance in Washington, I fully expect a "slight" from the Bush administration for the simple reason that they (the Chinese) are perceived as an easy target. Delivering the Latin American masses as voters welcomed into the country with open arms will likely be offset by an attack on the Chinese, because there are no votes there.

There is nothing that this administration does anymore that appears to have much intelligent thought behind it. And since incompetence also reigns in the halls of Congress with no organized or cohesive long-term planning, there is no person in Washington in power to offset the early stages of Alzheimer's that is evident in many members of this administration, as well as the halls of Congress.

America is no longer on a slow ride to decay. We are now on an increasingly aggressive slope picking up speed, and rather than looking in the mirror at ourselves and taking the appropriate aggressive actions, we play the blame game. If we continue our rapid decline as a manufacturing power, we will eventually reach the point where we are no more than a paper tiger and irrelevant. The Chinese realize this. They are not stupid. They graduate many times the number of engineers and technically trained people as we do. Far too many of our children want careers in entertainment, sports or broadcasting.

Our corporations fail to adequately reward the technically competent, and then we lament the lack of people to fill those roles. Most corporations do not appropriately compensate the technically competent engineer or manager who is forthright and talented enough to take a stand to do the right thing and make the tough decisions. And then they reward the team player who never makes waves and never takes a chance because they want to be perceived as "team players." We have evolved as a nation and as corporations largely into decision by committee, which is often no decision at all, but rather a way to postpone decision making, or pass/share the blame.

America did not become the economic superpower it was by squashing the talented individual who was willing to take risks. Our corporations now largely reward individuals who do not produce things, but rather we reward those who manipulate cash without actually generating anything of long-term value. Those few companies that do use and recognize technical talent do thrive and prosper. The others, who have stifled innovation and long-term product development, are merely playing a shell and delaying game that cannot be overcome by misconceived perceptions that the synergies of a merger will make everything all right.

It is time to put sound leadership, management and engineering principles to work to save this country while there is still a chance to do so. In Asia, the principles behind industrial engineering are largely put to use and they profit from it. Those principles work here as well with American workers, as is particularly evident in the use of them by Toyota. In America, many companies do not even know what an industrial engineer is.

Let's put American innovation and the spirit of the individual to work while there is still time to do so, and before many of our brightest minds have been retired too soon by the relocation of American manufacturing and engineering. It is time to let many of our older technical workers and engineers put their valuable experience to work. There is no greater waste than wasted experience and talent. While some of these workers in their 50s and 60s are slowing down, many are not and yet we push them aside for the inexperienced starters and foreign workers and their H-1Bs.

Let's rededicate ourselves to solving our energy problems as the start. A moon-race style investment in alternative energy development would have been a far greater investment with return than the continued waste of resources on Iraq. Also, it would simultaneously reduce our dependence on unstable parts of the world and the recurring pollution inherent in existing technologies. Such a move would sooner get us to energy independence and maybe even allow us to market these technologies to the Chinese. After all, they do need the energy to produce all of those goods for us.

Robert Rack


Madison, N.J.
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Title Annotation:FEEDBACK
Author:Rack, Robert
Publication:Chief Executive (U.S.)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2006
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Next Article:A Canadian perspective.

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