Here in China folks are a little sensitive about Americans carping on exchange rates. Prodded, they seem to acknowledge that the Rmb is undervalued, but they politely point out that its strengthening would not come close to solving America's economic problems.
They're right, of course. Every visit to China underscores how misleading it is to blame our struggles on others. Watching how hard people work, how seriously young people study, how fast businesses move, and how supportive of economic growth government is, reminds the traveler that the rebuilding of American greatness depends entirely on decisions we make.
The man in the photo is Mr. Lu Guanqiu, a legend in China, whom Americans first met on the cover of Newsweek in 1991. Mr. Lu has become a good friend, and now a co-venturer in electric battery technology with an Indiana firm to which I introduced him.
Starting from a bicycle repair shop in 1969, when those possessed by the spirit of enterprise were imprisoned or worse by the Cultural Revolutionists, Mr. Lu persevered and today remains fully engaged in running Wanxiang, one of the world's leading auto parts companies. Here we sit in Wanxiang's new all-electric bus, after a tour of the company's new e-car facility knowledgeably led by Mr. Wu himself.
It's hard to avoid thinking about the fact that Mr. Lu risked his life to create wealth for himself and others, at a time when the U.S. was the runaway world leader in invention and entrepreneurism. Today, it often seems easier to start and build a great business in other places, including his "communist" nation, than it is at home. Yes, we have work to do.