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Posts Tagged ‘K I Woo’

Thai CEOs discuss evolving governance requirements

K I Woo, Human Capital Alliance Senior Advisor discusses corporate governance with two top CEO’s.


Effective digital board principles

Human Capital Alliance senior advisor, K I Woo looks at how a board’s digital knowledge can be successfully augmented.


Are power posers better leaders?

Human Capital Alliance senior advisor K I Woo looks at leadership.


Managing mid-life career changes

Human Capital Alliance senior advisor K I Woo looks at how executives can better prepare for mid-life career changes.


What is the China dream?

Human Capital Alliance senior advisor K I Woo takes a close look at the China dream.

To fully understand President Xi Jinping’s China dream we must take a close look at Chinese history and culture.

Xi’s China dream emphasizes wealth, national pride and obedience to authority.

A recent Foreign Affairs article, “What it means to be Chinese – nationalism and identity in Xi’s China” by UC Riverside’s Perry Link said for centuries, China has had a strong tradition of what it means to be Chinese and China’s place in the world.

“To be Chinese still means to exhibit proper behavior and to be part of a civilization that has primacy in the world.”

Underlying vision

Xi’s China dream if achieved will allow China to return to its place as the center of the world, serving as a defining example of how things should be, said Lilly.

This vision is currently a mere possibility and not a certainty because “popular perception in China today is that the current system favors the privileged elite more than the society as whole.”

“Xi’s Chinese dream stresses party patriotism and materialism but does not say anything of the moral treatment of a human being’s daily life.”

Heaven-sanctioned principles

In pre-modern China, Lilly said an ideal society’s thinking, behavior and living followed sanctioned principles exemplifying the best way to be human. Confucian values, he said are deeply ethical and not egalitarian.

Traditional family values

Family values are at the core of Chinese thinking.

A father has authority over his son and his son’s obligation is to obey. “However, the father was also bound to be a proper father, treating son as a father should or be held to public scorn.

China’s political norms also follow the family model.

A ruler has absolute authority over subjects but he is also morally bound to treat them properly. If not, the citizens could rebel and he would lose the mandate of heaven.

The rulers learned what constituted popular treatment by reading and internalizing texts, including the Confucian classics.

Moral political model

Morality and virture are at the core of officials’ legitimacy, which reaches all the way to the emperor who is the “son of heaven”.

Consequently, the current Chinese government is attacking corruption because it has been the bane of most fallen Chinese dynasties.

It also attacks the moral and virtuous political model’s core.

Xiaokang society

In 1979 Deng Xiaoping used the two-and-half millennium-old Confucian principle of a Xiaokang society as the eventual goal of Chinese modernization.

A Xiaokang society has a moderately well-off middle-class that has given economic prosperity to most of China’s mainland’s population.

At the same time, it’s sole focus is not economic advancement but includes balancing the sometimes conflicting goals of social equality and environment protection.

In the 1990’s Jiang Zemin revived the xiaokang society concept to counter criticism that China was focusing too much on the urban rich and not enough on the rural poor.

Measuring current one-party state performance

In contrast to Western societies that place the individual at the center of the universe and as the basic and sovereign unit of human society, Chinese scholar Eric X Li said power is checked by the inherent moral order of society and not by the Western tradition’s legal means.

Measured by the “end” as articulated by Confucius and by Deng, the current one party state, Li said has so far served China well, albeit with shortcomings, including corruption and the wealth gap.

The current China model has the following components:

1. Political authority combined with moral authority is vested in a single political organization, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) that represents the nation’s entirety.

2. Meritocracy underlines the effectiveness and survival of the ruling organization.

3. Preeminence of political authority is central to the China model. This ensures no special groups can develop capabilities that enable them to place their interests above national interests.

4. Pragmatism is central and ideologies are peripheral. Currently, economic development is most important and the political system is adjusted to maximize its success.

Grexit’s unspoken geopolitical ramifications

Human Capital Alliance senior advisor K I Woo looks at the Greek EU exit’s geopolitical ramifications.

Although the world has focused on Greece’s European Union exit’s economic consequences,  unspoken geopolitical ramifications may provide clues to the ultimate resolution.

In a recent Fortune article, former US Ambassador to Greece, Daniel Speckhard said European finance ministers are missing the forest from the trees when it comes to the Greek debt crisis.

He argues that taking a hard-line against Greece by refusing to loosen bailout terms may end up costing Germany and the Eurozone a lot more in terms of hard cash and geopolitical power.

Economic perspective

From an economic perspective, Speckhard said Greece’s euro currency zone exit is not a great loss.

The current western aid cost to Ukraine could reach about $US40 billion per year while it would require far less to give the Greek people time to realize that the new government can’t deliver on its populist promises and remain a member of the Euro currency.

At the same taking a softer line on Greek is a worthwhile option if Europe thinks maintaining economic and political stability is important to fight-off Russian aggression in Eastern Europe and ISIS in the Middle East.

Technical default since 2010

Jon Kofas, a retired University of Indiana University Professor said in a recent article that Greece has been technically bankrupt since 2010.

“Unfortunately, European officials decided to pretend that this problem could be overcome by means of the largest loan in history on condition of fiscal austerity that would, with mathematical precision, shrink the national income from which both new and old loans must be paid. An insolvency problem was thus dealt with as if it were a case of illiquidity.”

In essence, Europe’s bankers refused to acknowledge the bad loans, preferring to grant new loans to the insolvent entities and pretending that original loans were performing while extending the bankruptcy into the future.

Slashing public budgets

In return for new loans in 2010, Greece promised to slash public budgets, sell off public assets and reform its labor laws.

“Greece’s bailouts have allowed it to keep its creditors at bay, but they have been a short-term disaster for the nation’s economy. “

Facing depression at home, the Greek electorate turned to a left-wing government in the parliamentary elections in January, which ran on promises to fight against the austerity conditions imposed upon it as conditions for its bailout.

Political reality – dual dependence

However political reality complicates the economic issue because although Greece is financially dependent on Germany, it is militarily dependent on the US.

This split-dependence contradiction, Kofas said causes friction because while Germany wants to enforce strict compliance with austerity, the US views Greece’s geopolitical value as more important.

“The objective of Washington has been to keep Greece militarily integrated into the West, to make sure it continues to keep up with military budgets as NATO prescribes, and not deviate at all by trying to explore the Russia and Chinese cards as symbolic counter-weights to the West.”

At the same time, US naval bases in Crete and US intelligence operations in the country are more valuable to Washington than Germany trying to prevail over Greece by driving it away from the West and endangering its internal political and social stability.

US wants Greece in EU

Because the US wants Greece in the EU for strategic reasons, it would like Germany to makes a few symbolic concessions to show that it is not a heartless neo-colonial power in Europe as its critics have portrayed it.

“However, Greek politicians and analysts are deluding themselves if they assume that the US would sacrifice its relationship with Germany to support Greece on austerity and neoliberal policies.”

A most likely scenario is SYRIZA caving into German-US pressure to conform to “disguised” austerity and neoliberal policies.

“A more distant possibility is everything from referendums to new elections that would not really solve anything, to Greece leaving the EU eventually.”