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This week I was watching a TV program about Wal-Mart and its spectacular operations world wide.
One part was about the stores they opening in China and there was one particular sentence by a young local Chinese "associate" (employee) that caught me and opened a whole new way of thinking about the possible change that might occur in US/Chinese relationship.
Each Wal-Mart store could be a center for the dissemination of better understanding by the Chinese about the USA.
Though not intended each stores "associates " would be U.
S.
diplomats.
In the USA Wal-Mart has been misnamed as the Chinese outlet.
Look again at many hundreds of products in any of your favorite stores.
Products are not only made in China, but in Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan and a host of other Asian countries.
The quality is fine.
The reason they are made there is because the cost of production is so low that products can be shipped 12,000 miles to your backyard at a price you find irresistible.
Fingernail clippers or lawn mowers - it doesn't make any difference.
The workers in those Asian countries are producing and BUYING those products from American companies IN their own country.
Every yen or yuan sold to them is profit for an American company.
Wal-Mart is planning 2,000 stores in China by a company Sam Walton started in Arkansas - and they still have their headquarters there.
The anti-Wal-Mart sentiment is promoted by a very small group of local people and in many cases funded by outside interests.
As a kid I can remember the opposition to the A&P food stores similar to what we are seeing against Wal-Mart today.
They said it would cause the local grocery stores to close.
They were right.
Now answer this.
Do you want to shut down your Albertson's, Piggly Wiggly,Win-Dixie, A&P, etc.
and go back to the corner grocery store? I don't think so.
Who has benefited most from these huge changing marketing operations? YOU, the consumer.
What was that one sentence that young Chinese said to the head of Asian Wal-Mart? Approximately: "Working here gives you a better understanding of other people".
This is very profound as it indicates a new thought pattern about "other people", namely the U.
S.
Here is a way that might change the thinking of the Chinese about America.
Imagine what 2,000 Wal-Mart stores could do for international understanding and world peace.
Am I too bold in this extrapolation? Maybe, but it can give the USA a chance to reach down into the basic fabric of Chinese culture to the people.
Let the diplomats deal with the higher Chinese officials and hope that some of the change of heart of the "associates" will seep out to their customers and then upward to the leaders.
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