Alibaba And The Crazy White Man With The Backward Machine

“Oh dear, a reluctant guest.”

My sister would have been maybe 4 years old, give or take, we were on our way to our Great Aunts for Easter, so up their winding drive we drove, over the horse grates, someone had put in years before. All dressed up, the four of us, and mom had just rung the doorbell, and the white double doors swung open, there stood our Great Aunt Jo, big smile, wonderful, come in, welcome.

As all little sisters I suppose have, she had a knack for embarrassing me, and this is an example of that.

Yeah, we proceed to walk through the door, mom, dad, me, and not Lexi. Nope, none of us could go anywhere cause she had put her arms and feet out in the door frame and refused to budge, would not proceed THROUGH the threshold.

Eventually, Mom managed to drag her in, all the while her acting like they were feeding her to the sharks.

Does put me in mind of another child who lives down south of here, and his protectionist, nationalist feet and hands stretched out, refusing to venture forth into the 21-century, as if ignoring globalization will stop globalization.

The relentless nature of a news cycle dominated by the commotion of Trump and Brexit has served to mask the potent undertow of what is likely to prove the most significant shift of this century – namely, the transfer of global power from the west to China. As political turmoil transpires elsewhere, China is re-shaping the world around trade, economics and technology, placing itself firmly at the centre.

The difference between China and other leading nation states is that it doesn’t seek to export its politics and ideology. Rather, it is seeking to build, to innovate, to prevail. We are witnessing the ascendance of a superpower through prodigious mercantile and technological influence.

[ wired.co.uk ] 12 February 2018

Now, while the U.S. turns away and focuses on their naval, propping up coal, and other dinosaurs, and the world is changing, with or without them.

Alibaba is one example of China’s tech entrepreneurial revolution.

Founded in 1991 by Jack Ma, Alibaba is now worth more than Walmart. 150 million people shop on Taobao, its shopping site, daily. Its popular mobile payments platform Alipay is expanding across Asia.
[ Harvard Business Review ] Sep 2018

As the article points out, part of China’s advantage was because the country’s business infrastructure was weak and undeveloped. Significant because the U.S. infrastructure is mature, and as such China was in a position to start from the ground up, take advantage of these new technologies, without having to appease an old model.

The U.S. is in this instance, in this new age, the old model, the dinosaur, relying on the tried and true, where much of Asia is not. China is the big burgeoning powerhouse, but Japan is a strong player, and the West is way behind.

China also has the advantage of a huge workforce, under the governance of a one-party system, an authoritarian regime, and equipped to push through new and creative solutions. To put it simply, while Western democracies are still squabbling about lost jobs to the tech industry, China is throwing all its resources at re-training its workforce.

China is exporting ideas, while the rumpTus is busy protecting things with really no future, busily propping up industries that ‘once’ made America great, wistfully dreaming of a better time, is quaint.

At the core of any economy is retailing, advertising, logistics and supply chain. Each of these components is changing, in one fashion or another. A mesh of these, adding in new ideas, such as AI, and new payment systems, the cloud, all working towards a new way of doing business in the 21st Century.

In essence, the U.S. is merely feeding off the corpse of industries that no longer hold any real power in the global marketplace, because HOW that marketplace functions and WHAT it relies on is changing.

Tariffs are tawdry, and why does it make sense to prop up industries of energy, and not putting energies towards change, the future, reality, science?

In reality, the rumpTus is the best thing to happen to, well, for China, as he made it so that countries have no choice but to trade with them. Which, in turn, pushes China along, and they turn around and funnel that money straight back into those tech start-ups that are changing the global marketplace.

Yet, all this I guess is over the rumpTus’ head, as well as many conservative leaders.

Trade deficits are not important, as a strong economy is about more today than just making stuff. In a Bloomberg politics vid I watched a few weeks ago, they pointed out how most economists now believe it is a mistake to focus symbolically on how much stuff you make, and will only push your economy backwards.

However, the mastermind of his own mayhem is back in his 1990’s mindset, isolated in his black tower, trying to recreate a world that is gone. Concentrating all this energy and tariffs on trade, ignoring the debt, and basically just leaving the mess for future generations to clean up, much as he did with Trump Enterprise’s. Basically, short-term thinking, quick fixes, no strategic long-term mandate, just greed.

Rather interesting, that during the Obama presidency the Repubs had their knickers all in a knot, pretending to care deeply about fiscal responsibility and the terrible burdens deficits place on future generations. Riiiight.

So, while some stand around arguing about whether or not China stole America’s intellectual property, or whatever, Asia is running away with the future whilst that U.S. government folds in on itself.

Are they winning yet?

There seems to be this delusion that the man has this great business acumen, or, he says he does, and his followers and minions believe it, or at the very least go along with it.

Based on…what? Six bankruptcies? Well, I’ll give him this, he is good at laundering Russian money, winning at losing, lying, making friends with crooks, creating chaos, ignoring expert advice.

He attacked, Amazon, and why exactly? Something about taking business from, what, U.S. Postal Service? Seriously delusional dodo bird.

Alibaba makes Amazon look like a parlour trick.

Alibaba’s special innovation, we realized, was that we were truly building an ecosystem: a community of organisms (businesses and consumers of many types) interacting with one another and the environment (the online platform and the larger off-line physical elements). Our strategic imperative was to make sure that the platform provided all the resources, or access to the resources, that an online business would need to succeed, and hence supported the evolution of the ecosystem.

The ecosystem we built was simple at first: We linked buyers and sellers of goods. As technology advanced, more business functions moved online—including established ones, such as advertising, marketing, logistics, and finance, and emerging ones, such as affiliate marketing, product recommenders, and social media influencers. And as we expanded our ecosystem to accommodate these innovations, we helped create new types of online businesses, completely reinventing China’s retail sector along the way.

Alibaba today is not just an online commerce company. It is what you get if you take all functions associated with retail and coördinate them online into a sprawling, data-driven network of sellers, marketers, service providers, logistics companies, and manufacturers. In other words, Alibaba does what Amazon, eBay, PayPal, Google, FedEx, wholesalers, and a good portion of manufacturers do in the United States, with a healthy helping of financial services for garnish.
[ Harvard Business Review ] Sep 2018

So, tax cuts and deregulation have a sugar high effect on the economy. Basically, short-term gains that offer more debt and more inequality, because that shot to the system only benefits the few, not the many. You know, that clapping ya all hear is just the wealthy people across America counting their money.

Can’t believe I’m actually quoting Sean Penn, but he said that those followers are “rooting for the joker against their own interests”.

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