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MacEwen Checks in From China

No doubt it would have been interesting to have been the proverbial fly on the wall if Adam Smith, the godfather of capitalism, had ever encountered Mao Zedong, the founder of Chinese communism. Political differences aside, that would never have happened, given that Smith died a century before Mao was born. This week, however, we will be offered a glimpse of the visit to modern-day China by blogger Adam Smith, Esq., otherwise known as Bruce MacEwen. He arrived there earlier this week and posted his iniital report from Beijing.

Upon exiting customs, MacEwen's first sights included Starbucks, KFC and McDonalds. The original Mr. Smith might have been pleased! But their presence is misleading, MacEwen says. "The culture, the way of life, the customs, and the simple ways of doing business are inescapably different." Among his first impressions:

  • The city's energy level is intense.
  • Law firms are competing intensely.
  • Economic and regulatory restrictions seem to be easing.

But MacEwan also sees grounds for concern: environmental awareness is nascent, environmental progress is slow and traffic is paralyzing.

As for law firms in China, MacEwan says that their identification as foreign or domestic is unlike anywhere else he has been. "It's a base-level, intrinsic distinction, and one not likely to expire in our lifetimes or certainly during our careers." He is still wrestling with the implications of that on strategies for law firm success, he writes, but he promises to post more as he thinks it through.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on December 5, 2007 at 03:48 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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