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Thursday, July 1, 2010

On Bad Business Ethics

So today on CNN's website I stumbled upon this article about how Chinese companies are "renting out" white people, or just foreign-looking people in general, who make the company look like more of a global powerhouse.  These rented people can "work" for the company for several hours, if not days or months.  Typically, they give speeches or attend conferences, pretending to be foreign partners.  The main objective is appearances, however, and the person not so much as say anything as show up and be looked up to.  As the article states, "the requirements for these jobs are simple. 1) Be White 2) Do not speak any Chinese, or really speak at all, unless asked 3) Pretend like you just got off of an airplane yesterday."

This of course is downright lying, and clients and potential customers are deceived.  There have been lawsuits, and the actors have gotten in trouble as well.  This also brings up an odd situation to consider.  China has been working diligently for a long time now to become the world's next superpower.  Nevertheless, it still relies heavily on the "approval" of the United States, or just people who look like they could be from the United States.  Its own people seem to have trouble trusting each other, so the competition needs to come in and give its approval.  Now, is this a strategy that is worth the sacrifice, or will it keep the country from reaching its full potential?  China also depends heavily on American markets - how long can this cycle last?  So, what does the country do if it is so reliant on the superpower that it wants to pass?  To me, it is amazing how something as small as appearances can make or break an effort.

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