by Larry Oxenham, Publisher
The world today is world of contrasts with different economies and political systems, some countries finding freedom after years of oppression, and others struggling to find an identity. But the search for success continues unabated worldwide, even sometimes in surprising places.
This article is a perspective, a comparison, an understanding and a view of a country that has ‘discovered’ success and finds it like it!
As the cartoon below shows, there are basically three levels of government in the world (If we discount the chaos of the Middle East.).
Some time ago I mentioned my son, Jay, has accepted a position with a company in Romania; he left in late December 2016 for his new residence in Reghin, a town noted for violin manufacturers. He is working with a company that manufactures high end violins, currently sells to Italy and Asia and intends to open up in the U.S. Jay has been asked to help them make the transition to the US.
But the bigger picture is that Romania is now one of the most entrepreneurial countries in Europe, a former Eastern block country once dominated and abused by the Russian communist system. The country is still fighting the vestiges of communism including corruption and lack of infrastructure but is making great progress.
All Romanian citizens take 7 years or more of English in school and they consider America and Turkey their main allies and trading partners. The annual GDP has been about 5% or higher in recent years (compared to 1% in the US) and is expected to continue at a very aggressive pace.
BUT IT IS THE ATTITUDE OF ROMANIANS THAT SHOULD COMMAND THE ATTENTION OF THOSE OF US IN THE US.
Romania right now is a little like the US in the 1950’s when Americans expected prosperity, the middle class enjoyed the American dream of opportunity for everyone, and few looked to the government as the ultimate solution.
The man Jay works most closely with told him there is, “so much opportunity in Romania but many people don’t know how to take advantage because there was no opportunity under the communists.” As a side note, they hate – not too strong a word – communism.
And what has our attitude been here in the US: For a long time we have been told our economic stagnation is just the ‘new normal’ and our expectations are almost nil. We are told daily that America consists of the (evil) privileged citizens and those who are oppressed; no middle ground here.
There was a time when Americans woke up each day either prepared to go to a job of their choice or to jump into the entrepreneurial world and build their dream.
There was a time in America when Americans expected to forge their own path.
AMERICANS TODAY, WITH NOTABLE EXCEPTIONS, HAVE LOST THE SPIRIT THAT MADE AMERICA THE ENVY OF THE WORLD.
But those who have suffered under oppressive regimes and are now free – primarily Eastern Europe – have unleashed their pent up spirits and are now the movers and shakers.
Jay now has a business and personal relationship with people for whom every day represents an opportunity to do well, for whom every day holds the excitement of expectations, and for whom every day is loaded with possibilities.
If you had a child wouldn’t this be the environment you would want him/her to wake up to daily?
In fact, the children in Romania are now growing up expecting a full life; what are the kids in America being told?
How often do you turn on the television news here or look at a newspaper and find encouraging words?
I never thought I would have to look beyond the borders of America to find inspiration.
America, from our Founders on, worked hard to create a world of comfort and safety for its citizens, of opportunity for those willing to work, and optimism around every corner that another opportunity will arise.
Each day we see protesters lamenting one injustice or another, often breaking windows and destroying property of people who have nothing to do with their plight; we hear media and academics find nothing but evil in America and our history; and we hear of disasters, fire, murders and more and more negative.
If I lived in another country and watched America’s news this would be the last country I would ever want to visit. Well, maybe not the last, Iran and North Korea and some others would top the list ….
Today’s opportunities are global in nature but the truth is every country in the world that wants opportunity has, at one point or another, looked to the US as the model that made success possible.
It is interesting that so many in America spend their time whining … something about you can’t see the forest for the trees.
Each week I Skype or Whats App conversations with my sons new friends in Romania, and each conversation is full of promise, optimism and expectations that something good will happen.
So here I sit near Los Angeles, land of eternal sunshine and, at one time, a place of unstoppable entrepreneurial spirit, but I have to speak with people who are more than 10,000 miles away to feel that spark of ‘can do’.
These are dangerous times in America as we slide away from everything that made us the envy of the world.
Just thinkin’ … your thoughts welcome.