Monday, November 20, 2017

Shanghai Diary: Trump Makes China Great Again

When I was working at Organic Inc and Daimler Chrysler AKA Chrysler, AKA Fiat Chrysler was our biggest client, I used to just shake my head that they weren't at least trying to get into the hybrid car market. This was around the time of the Chevy Volt and when I was driving a Saturn Vue Hybrid. Meanwhile, Chrysler stubbornly stuck to the gasoline market.

I bring this up because I'm hearing that by 2019 that Shanghai and Beijing will replace gasoline cars with electric cars. This may be a little easier because (unlike Detroit), they've actually embraced Tesla and other electric automakers.

Like almost everything else that I've seen in China, there's a "what's in it for me?" as well as a strong hand of the government. "What's in it for me" is that one of the many fees to own and operate a car -- roughly $500 US a year -- will be waived when drivers go from their typical license plates to their new green plates, signifying that they're driving an electric car.

I've seen more Tesla vehicles in two months of being in Shanghai than I have in the last two years. And, while I've been here, they announced a new factory that will most likely be built in Pudong.

I know there have been times that I've been slagging the U.S. pretty hard over the last few months. I'm not blindly saying "Everything in China is better," but when you have Trump at the wheel in the U.S., it seems like almost anywhere is going to look better.

China has problems, sure. I mean, pornography is banned here. Likewise, the whole issue of what's blocked and what's not blocked online is a confusing mess.

The sentiment I often hear from people here is "sometimes too many choices are a bad thing." This anathema to the idea that "everything deserves a vote" but... Trump got the vote and look what happened. Or did he get the vote? That's the big question that has yet to finally get answered. It's easier to swallow that the system is rigged rather than taking a hard look at my own country and thinking that 47% of Americans are that stupid to have voted for that blockhead.

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