Saturday, June 16, 2012

World Issues and Economic Power

I think a big part of the economic and military power of the USA comes from the people knowing there is a rule of law, freedom of speech and a low level of Government corruption compared to the rest of the world.

However many people believe that China will be the next # 1 super economic power in the future.

I also think this will happen over the next 50 -100 years. I heard that China just pasted Japan and has become the #2 economic power of the world.

The problem I see in many countries as I travel around the world is what I call a fake or directed democracy.

This is true in Russia, Malaysia, Mexico, Iran, India, and many other countries. These countries governments try to make it appear to the westerners that they have democracy. However the large amount of Government corruption in these countries undermine the peoples believe in the system, which prevents these countries from advancing economically as fast as possible.

Also it prevents more investments by USA companies in the countries because the US business leaders do not trust in these countries systems and governments. I also feel this way.

When I was in Malaysia I really felt this way. I could see the people were afraid, harassed and repressed by the government, and afraid to have true free speech in fear the government would beat them up and arrest them and put them in jail.

In Malaysia the people are only allowed to protest on Sundays, and the government sets up police stops every few miles to catch and arrest the Sunday protesters. This is a case where we Americans just can not accept this. We want to help all people of the world enjoy the human rights, the rule of law, and the true freedom of speech we have here in the USA.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Barcelona Spain Culture and Lifestyle

The first thing any English speaking native should know and accept when they travel to Spain is:

1. "Right now" generally means about one hour.
2. "A few minutes" usually means two hours.

If you are from America, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom this understanding will save you a lot of frustrations and you will enjoy your trip to Barcelona and the rest of Spain more than if you try to force a English speaking mentality on the relations you have with Spanish speaking people.

Please understand are in their country and you can learn a lot by studying the culture and lifestyle.

If you are fortunate enough to have the financial resources to stay in a luxury 5 star hotel like the Hotel Rey Juan Carlos there will of course be English speaking staff. people come from all over the world to visit Barcelona which is know world wide for all night dancing and partying. It is true and it is also very different from say Las Vegas, where you can also party all night long. The Rey Juan Carlos has some very good things and some really stupid things their manage does. The good include a great breakfast buffet that any American hotel executive could learn from, the gym and spa are very nice and the staff does try to please you. The bad includes a very small shower area even by European standards, the Garden restaurant is always booked and very expensive. Then if you order room service you can have some $15 french fries and other vastly over priced food. Spain is very expensive in general and it is not just the exchange rate. Like most of Europe everything is more expensive since the conversion to the Euro. I do not understand why this is yet it it true for Holland, France, Spain etc. A rental car in the USA that might cost $60 per day is $310 per day in Barcelona, you do not really want to drive yourself in the city anyway, the traffic and drivers are kind of crazy. Even dry cleaning your laundry is about 400% more expensive than in the USA. Plus the level of service is crap. I had to good twice to pick up my clothes because when they were supposed to be ready I was told tomorrow, which is typical of Spanish culture. Then they did not give me all my clothes and the next day I had to have the hotel call them 3 times and after a few hours my clothes did finally appear. This is why you need to alter your American ideas of service and quality when you are in Spain.