Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Making errors: business vs politics

Last Sunday’s blog, Panic in Beijing and its original Bloomberg article, made me realize that there is a difference between business and politics that is easily overlooked. Unlike businessmen, politicians are not allowed to make serious errors, especially in countries like China.

Despite that seeing is believing, (communist) ideology is (much) stronger than seeing. Hence, China will never admit that it made an error by scaring its businesses into submission (eg, fines, ownership by CCP). It’s more likely that Chinese business owners will also adopt the lying flat culture.

“Tang ping (Chinese: lit. ‘lying flat’) is a Chinese slang term that describes a personal rejection of societal pressures to overwork and over-achieve, such as in the 996 working hour system, which is often regarded as a rat race with ever diminishing returns. Those who participate in tang ping instead choose to “lie down flat and get over the beatings” via a low-desire, more indifferent attitude towards life.”

Wikipedia: Chinese “lying flat” culture a.k.a. tang ping

It could be argued that making errors is inherent to doing business. In order to avoid bankruptcy, businesses need to make less errors than their competitors (eg, VanMoof). Any government interference in businesses (eg, CIT) will – normally – result in considerations on business migration.

Serious errors by individual humans (ie, micro) will require repair (eg, apologies, reimbursement). Businesses call this warranty. Governments are often slow to accept their accountability and/or responsibility for errors or damages. Hence, the many scandals in which governments are involved.

Deng Xiaoping‘s opening up of China in the 1980s and 1990s brought immense wealth. His credo was “to get rich is glorious” (Bloomberg). The current president’s political slogan of common prosperity is often nicknamed as common poverty, following his crackdown on businesses.

It’s intriguing that failures in ideology are happening simultaneously in China (eg, economy) and Russia (eg, invasion in Ukraine). The fall of Russia would expose China. This may explain a recent Politico message: China secretly sends enough gear to Russia to equip an army.

Some famous quotes on learning from mistakes:

  • “Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.” – Oscar Wilde
  • “You must learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t possibly live long enough to make them all yourself.” – Samuel Levenson
  • “Making mistakes simply means you are learning faster.” – Weston H. Agor
  • “Take chances, make mistakes. That’s how you grow. Pain nourishes your courage. You have to fail in order to practice being brave.” – Mary Tyler Moore
  • “Mistakes are the portals of discovery.” – James Joyce
  • “It’s fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” – Bill Gates

Wishful Thinking (1984) by China Crisis
band, lyrics, video, Wiki-band, Wiki-song

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless in quotes or stated otherwise.

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