Forgetfulness is necessary


In clinical terms: selective memory.

Speak ill not of the dead, for instance.

Auto-biography is another version of selective memory (before actual amnesia).

For me, to see Dow Chemical opens a polymer and acrylic factory in Vietnam, roughly 40 years after Agent Orange got sprayed over the same landscape, is a great example of collective amnesia. Vietnam must be a very forgetful country, or a forgiving and pragmatic one.

Intel, Samsung, Canon all set up shop there. These names are not attached to any controversy we know of.

IBM and Coke got their own black eyes in the past.

But one must move on, travel the globe to seek bed partners never thought possible 40 years ago (I may have repeated what Secretary of State Clinton said in her recent remarks about Vietnam).

The President is in India. I thought I saw in passing his test-driving a nano car.

(In an ironic twist, he is a de facto CEO of GM, checking out a foreign competitor, in this case, Tata).

After India, whose stroke of luck continues after Y2K, the President will take a walk on memory lane: Indonesia, home of volcano and the largest Muslim population on Earth.

One cannot schedule a better get-away from gridlock than this. While things seem to jam up over here, everything explodes over there.

I alluded yesterday about how long it took Detroit to build smaller cars (began with Pinto) . And now, Harley Davidson has made-in-USA parts assembled in India (that way, the nouveaux riche in India and China can join in the chorus of “Born to be wild”. It’s expensive to be wild!

The pendulum finally swings to the opposite : “Small is beautiful” is adopted here in Detroit, and Harley in Mumbai.

“I want to hold your hand”, the Beatles sing. They went to India 40 years ago for R&R. Now the seeds finally took hold here in the West. This time, albeit not reversing “the British invasion“, off shoring to a former British colony via broadband links and Harley parts (tattoo stickers not included).

I wish I can be forgetful on demand. The time calls for it: a healthy dose of amnesia. No context, no frame of reference. Just do it. Do not think too hard and too much. Go with the flow (of information and money).

 

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