My proposition is fairly simple and straightforward. There can be no competition without standardization. None. The effects of a lack of standardization are obvious, but important enough to be reiterated, using a few examples.
Consider the consequences of asking a Formula One team to compete against the others using a de-tuned engine or even worse, one with less cylinders. I’m using relatively simple examples here. Think Monza not Istanbul. More complex ones do, nonetheless, exist. But this is not the point. To put it rather succinctly, I would immediately pack my bags and find a new business venture. Unless I had money to burn…which I don’t.
We watch soccer and most of the time we watch two teams compete. (Thank you Mr. Obvious). Or so this is what we perceive is happening. Again, consider the type of game you would be watching if one of the soccer teams fielded players that were heavy smokers, while the opposing team did not. If players on both sides “lit up,” then it would make no difference, but when one team decides to quit, the rest is destiny: the other is compelled to quit also. That is of course, if they want to keep playing soccer. In a competitive league. You get the idea.
If we move on to international competition, between states or nations, or more precisely the extent to which one country can compete with another, the same outcome can be teased out. However, I want to table my own interpretation of the current obsession with “if-China-does-not-become-a-super-power-then-all-this-talk-of-a-re-emerging-cold-war-may-very-well-become-a-reality.” Many things may become a reality.
However, China’s growth may be associated with its unrivaled ability to coerce, compel and if not by political incentives, then either by economical or even legal ones, control and subsequently focus its large pool of human capital with one purpose or goal: expansion and growth. Now, the United States is playing catch-up. Competition requires a standard, and the United States has fallen behind. The U.S. is running the de-detuned engine while smoking a pack of fags and even worse, losing its mind.
The Bill of Rights and in Canada, the Charter, notwithstanding the civil-rights of other countries, have become an obstacle in the way of economic competitiveness. When China decrees, a skyscraper is built, a steel mill goes up, and a few more oil-reserves deplete. On the other hand, when the U.S. passes a law, a few more housing bubbles pop, Ford goes bankrupt and the Supreme Court, to aggravate the situation even further, yells “unconstitutional.”
Why there has been a resurgence in conservatism and neo-imperialism is now less difficult to understand. If the United States (add other countries, as desired, here) does not tighten its authoritarian and repressive grip, it may lose the fight and never catch up to the Chinese. To lose this “war on standardization” would be to lose the war on competitiveness and ultimately bring another empire to its knees. And if we really add hyperbole to speculation, destruction.
Call me clairvoyant. I’m not.
*A picture from the “Made in China” Installation.