2018… Bet on the tortoise.
by Dr. Jeffrey Lant
There are many ways to sell products through creative marketing and sales endeavors. But nothing beats coercion. Wouldn’t you like to increase your sales quotas by certain can’t lose methods? Well the British, that nation of shopkeepers, found towards the middle of the 19th Century a sure fire way to fill its voracious coffers.
That way came to be called the Second Opium War (1856-1860). The goal was to turn the entire Chinese Empire into an opium den. You can imagine the British licked their chops at the prospect of having hundreds of millions of constant and predictable users, each one contributing to Rule Britannia.
They used any methods they could dream up, and the results of course were predictable. Imperial China dissolved in a chaos and cruelty of unlimited opium.
As part of their plan, they took a torch to one of the most beautiful and civilized complexes of exquisite and lavish display, the Old Summer Palace in Beijing. It pleased these civilized gentlemen to destroy every beautiful thing they could find, whilst collecting booty to take home, including what was called the bixi, a magnificent 17 foot marble stele which showed a tortoise surmounted by a dragon.
It was presented, in due course, to Harvard University in 1936 for the 300th anniversary. It was said that anyone who rubbed the nose of the statue would have good luck. But of course good luck flowed only one way… towards the gentlemen looters. They were the hare, and while they gamboled, the dragon slept, as it did all over China for so many pernicious years.
China was simply a box of treasures to be emptied as soon and completely as possible, while insouciant Harvard undergraduates walked past the stele and never knew what it was or the tragedy it represented. That was no concern of theirs.
But quietly, sometimes imperceptibly, but always certainly, the dragon began to stir. This time it was the hare who slept, as it was want to do in the famous tale by Aesop. The tortoise simply moved ahead, unheralded, largely unknown, but without opposition or even acknowledgment… until now.
The slow moving tortoise is now about to astonish the world, and economists and financial advisers worldwide are now aghast at what the sleeping tortoise has done, and what the hare has slept through, all unawares.
All hares, tortoises, people everywhere, are moving inexorably now towards the day of the tortoise, now just literally hours from changing the world when the year 2018 will become a date every school child knows… for it is the day the Great Republic is surpassed by the tortoise.
No longer will American students rub the nose of the tortoise for their luck… for the good fortune that was once theirs has shifted forever… and it is now too late to change the dynamic of events, for the American Era is dwindling, dwindling, soon to be just another statistic, no longer the basis for a superior life.
The Conference Board indicates that by 2018, China’s contribution to the world’s gross domestic product will surpass that of the United States. In other words, China’s economy will become more significant than the American economy.
How could such a terrible thing (from our standpoint) have taken place? Was every one of the nation’s captains asleep through his watch, or just praying that he could get through it without further damage, and without widespread public knowledge or concern?
In 1970, the United States contributed 21.2% of the total global economic output. This remained consistent for another 30 years. That is, until the year 2000. In every year since 2000, with one exception, America’s percentage of the world economic output has declined. In 2015, for example, the United States contributed 16.7% of the world’s economy. By 2025, this is expected to fall to 14.9%. Nowsee the other side of the coin.
In 1970, China was responsible for a mere 4.1% of the total. By 2015, this had risen to 15.6%. In 2025, China’s contribution to the global economy is projected to be 17.2%. And so it goes, with the aging U.S. economy more and more at risk; the Chinese dashing ahead, fueled by the kind of enthusiasm and adamant endeavor that distinguishes winners. We talk about our need to succeed. The Chinese simply do so.
Just the other day a body blow to the image of the United States took place, and right down the road, too. This time, the bad news came from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. U.S. News & World Report, which annually rates top learning institutions, demoted M.I.T. as the top engineering university in the world, elevating instead China’s Tsinghua University as the top engineering university in the world in 2015, the latest ranking.
Moreover, of the top 10 engineering schools, China and the United States each have four. However, China annually graduates 4 times as many students in the core subjects of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics as the United States. In these subjects, there are 1.3 million Chinese students versus 300,000 United States students. Moreover, in every year of the Obama Administration, Chinese universities awarded more PhD’s in the core subjects than American universities. Suddenly the boast that we were #1, always #1, felt hollow, even fatuous. The tortoise had done its work well. Most Americans never saw it coming.
What had gone wrong?
I think one illustration will help show what has gone so seriously wrong, and why we may be slated for a permanent number two position, no matter how much face paint and glory hallelujah music is dispensed.
On May 23rd, 2017, the black students of Harvard University held their own commencement exercises, detached from the main University. Although white and other students were invited to attend this program, only two or three actually did so.
They gathered together to share with each other stories about how ill treated they often have been at the World’s Greatest University. Instead of celebrating all the benefits they had, they chose instead to whine and snivel that their golden road was not richer still.
Of course this was a slap in the face of the University, and showed how off center the Administration at Harvard has become, allowing black students to have their own commencement activities, when every other racial configuration was not singled out for special treatment, and didn’t need it.
Now let me tell you how the Chinese would have handled this matter. The admistration in Beijing or anywhere else in greater China would have said:
“Boys and girls, you are among the privileged of the Earth. Get on with your work. You don’t need a special stole or a special ceremony or a special opportunity to complain, because what you’ve got is the most important thing on Earth… the ability to strive mightily and succeed. Young China, you are privileged. Young China, you know it; now get on with the task at hand.”
And so as all the black students complained about the trivial, the Chinese ate their lunch, and put the whole of the rest of us at risk. For shame, for shame.
We in America, prattling on constantly about how successful we are, have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that we no longer understand the necessities for success, and where we do, we are not willing to implement them.
Can you even imagine that the habits of the average Chinese student are so lax and slothful? They have a joy of learning that once distinguished the Great Republic and its proud institutions, that now, like everything else has gone to Beijing, where the joy of learning flourishes.
Who saw all this coming, that we shall have to eat the dust and take the jibes that will surely accompany China’s inevitable rise to the top of the heap. Professors did not see this, for you can check the curricula of universities worldwide for courses that focus on the rise of China in our time, and for the foreseeable time to come. The media never saw this coming. Tracing the development of the new Chinese Empire is not as exciting as following the sexual peccadilloes of so many of our office holders, or their pilfering. They don’t care that the United States declines, so long as their pockets are filled with ill gotten gains that attract no special prosecutors.
For too long, America has believed what is no longer truth. We have become a nation of second rate quitters who fail to see the Chinese will do whatever they need to do, no matter how time consuming, difficult, and thankless the work. In 2018, these people will push their nation over the top to a glory not seen in China for centuries, and which was ours for but a short time.
So remember this: in 1981, when Ronald Reagan became president, China’s economy was just 10% the size of America’s. By 2014, the indefatigable Chinese had catapulted to 100%. And today, it stands at 115%. Consider this shocker: China’s economy will be 50% larger in 2023 than America’s, and by 2040 it will be 3 times larger.
We have slept for decades while the Chinese looked to the bixi and rubbed its nose, seeking the luck which did not need to be conferred upon them, but which was hewed out of the raw elements of their unstoppable humanity. They would succeed because any other course was un-Chinese… unthinkable… beyond the pale.
Theirs is the example of our time. Our children, and children’s children will have to learn to live with tattered 2nd place, or even less. For that is what we have left them. It was not good enough, once upon a time, for us, but it is perfectly acceptable now… so long as we can shut our eyes to the facts and accept the reality that is intolerable. God bless America… She needs the help.
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Dr. Jeffrey Lant, Harvard educated, started writing for publication at age 5. Since then, he has published over 1,000 articles and 63 books, and counting.