One of our most infuriating habits as Americans - in the eyes of the rest of the world - is our blasé attitude about events that represent a huge investment of national energy and pride for other nations. I think one current example is playing out in the food fight were are having with China.
A simmering spat over food quality is fast replacing the cheap Chinese yuan as the focus of trade disputes between the U.S. and China. [More]The 2008 Olympics is not just another ho-hum event for the 1,300,000,000 citizens of the PRC. It is an international spotlight, and by Mao, EVERYTHING WILL GO RIGHT! So any hint of a food problem today bleeding over into '08 is unthinkable.
Politicians on both sides also need to keep their calm. There have been hawkish voices coming out of Washington demanding the US government pursue serious trade sanctions against China after the meat import bans.We can titter with condescension but let's all recall the glory that was the Atlanta Olympics.
Meanwhile, lawmakers in China have accused the Western media of stoking the fears over food safety in China. With next year’s Beijing Olympics fast approaching, there is a danger that China will over-react in cracking down on food safety in a ham-fisted attempt to demonstrate to the world that it treats food safety with paramount importance, punishing undeserving businesses.
Food safety and protecting the health of consumers should be a central concern of all governments. However, politicians should not lose sight of the importance of trade to economic health. Food safety issues must be looked at with a calm head – not with the patriotic zeal currently on display in some quarters of Beijing and Washington. [More]
The games had a profound impact on the city of Atlanta and many in the Atlanta metro area consider the games to be instrumental in transforming Atlanta into the more modern city it has become since. Examples of this are the mid-rise dormitories built for the Olympic village. One of these complexes became the first residential housing for Georgia State University, and has recently been transferred for use by the Georgia Institute of Technology. Other examples include Turner Field, which was a modification of the original Centennial Olympic Stadium, and where the Atlanta Braves baseball team now makes its home. Centennial Olympic Park was also built for the events and is still in use. Atlanta used no public money to finance the games, which cost US$1.8 billion to host. It was the first city in Olympic history to use ticket sales, commercial endorsements, advertising, and private money alone to fund the hosting of the Olympics. The consequence of this, however, was that many felt that the games in Atlanta were over-commercialized and were less exciting than previous games. [More]And remember, getting the Olympics right could lead to high rewards.