It's Hard to Humble Americans, But It Can Be Done

That’s what Uber and others have found out the hard way in China:

“Uber’s approach to markets around the world has been fairly arrogant,” from flouting local taxi regulations to threatening to sabotage media critics by digging up personal dirt, says Zennon Kapron, managing director of Shanghai-based consulting firm Kapronasia. “But arrogance is a very difficult attitude to have to be successful in China.”

In addition to their obsession with their time in bed, Americans are an arrogant bunch these days, especially if they think the world will go their way (it used to be called “historical determinism” but people educated in our system have a hard time with the phrase.) To some extent that’s the result of the end of the Cold War, which left the world with only one superpower.

But reality checks always come sooner or later, and China has been a persistent one to non-Chinese business people since we went there many years ago.  And it’s too much to expect that a country which has obsessed with making its people smart would play second fiddle forever.

It’s also worth noting that humility is a Christian virtue; as our country secularises, the arrogance increases, and the contempt for the humble does likewise.  China also has a fast growing Christian population.  It’s a country that has the sense to value humility and the ability to teach hard lessons to those who don’t.

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