Friday, September 11, 2009

My Dinner With Vishwa

You ever have a conversation that you can't shake out of your head? I can't stop thinking about my dinner with Vishwa in Bangalore. And we had dinner two years ago.

That's when I asked: "So who's going to win, Vishwa, China or India?"

"Oh no, Mr. Tim, that is not the right question," Vishwa said. "Because it's not China or India. It's China AND India."

Vishwa says the young, emerging middle-class street in places like Bangalore believes the bulk of financial and human capital (i.e. money and talent) is moving to his part of the world and away from ours. It's just a matter of time says Vishwa.

So for my friend Vishwa the right question is simply: "When? When will it be China AND India?"

Oh my!

Maybe I can't get this dinner chatter out of my head because my four kids just went back to school.

Maybe it's because they were walking up the schoolhouse steps just as some famous Americans were yapping about the current American president encouraging kids to study hard.

Maybe it's because of a speech, Dave Laird, the soon-to-be retiring president of Minnesota Private Colleges Council, delivered the other day that had these facts:

-China will build 800 new universities in the next decade. America will build five.
-In Minnesota (my home) just 25% of 9th graders will earn a college degree in the next decade.
-Compared to students worldwide, American kids rank 25th in math; 21st in science; 15th in reading.
-In 1975 America was #3 in the world in graduating college kids who held a science or engineering degree. In 2005 America was 20th.
-And by 2004 China AND India were producing 10 times more of these brainy graduates than we do.

Dave Laird says America is falling behind China AND India. He's been a thoughtful, vocal leader on this topic. He only wishes more leaders in politics and business would be as public as the president when it comes to encouraging kids to study hard.

I wish everyone could have dinner with Vishwa. I'll bet that would encourage our kids to study harder. Maybe even make our famous yappers a lot smarter too.

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1 comment:

  1. One only has to travel to Far East to understand the enormity of their growth and power that is shifting to the other side of the planent.