David Brooks of the NY Times wrote a great Op-Ed piece yesterday called Harmony and the Dream. It reminded me of the age old comparison of individualism and collectivism. He writes mainly because the Olympics made him think about it. But everyone used to think about it in the eighties and early nineties – it was the obsession with Japan. The number two economy got that way some how. Now it is the sheer strength of China that has everyone considering the Ying and Yang of individualism and collectivism again. But what is hard, and David Brooks points this out, is truly considering the opposing views as you would your own. It is more than just the operations of the business. It is to change how you see yourself in the world and what fills your self worth.
I still see India as the greater business threat to the US over the long run (mainly because the type of education they have installed) but there is much to gain from adopting the strengths of collectivism. It is happening already.