Saturday, May 12, 2007

Why Businesses Outsource To China.

Radio 4 has just concluded a series of the Chinese in Britain, a minority that largely goes unnoticed perhaps because they don't appreciate the joys of loud racial grievance mongering ( seriously could you imagine a chinese Yazz Monster or Darcus Howe ). Unfortunately I didn't get to hear any of the series but there are episode summaries on the BBC's website, the summary for episode three begins:
British shipping companies first started employing Chinese sailors during the Napoleonic wars to replace the British sailors who had been called up to the navy. They soon discovered that they were cheaper, didn’t get drunk and were easier to command.
Not much has changed in the intervening 200 years. This isn't an entirely flippant point, it provides a further example of how persistant cultural traits are over the course of hundreds maybe even thousands of years, they aren't immutable but they aren't transient either. In the case of China despite the political turmoil it has suffered in the 20th century the economic success of their diaspora be it in South East Asia or the West is remarkably consitent.

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