No Country for Old Men We are sitting in the lobby of the China World Hotel in Beijing. It is a very large space and very unlike most hotels. Monday, we stopped into the lobby of the Marriott Opera Ambassador Hotel on Boulevard Haussmann in Paris. Like most lobbies, it was quiet, with just a few people having coffee.
Here, there are hundreds of people – almost all young. I am the oldest person, a fossil from another continent and another time. The young people are dressed casually but well. They sit in groups talking… as though planning their next marketing campaign.
There is scarcely anyone over the age of 40. We have started a small publishing business in China. It, too, is staffed by people in their twenties. What happened to the old people? Maybe they have not been able to keep up with the breathtaking changes in China. This is no country for old men…
‘Everyone has great confidence in the future,’ says a Chinese colleague. ‘Things have gotten so much better over the last 20 years. And we expect that to continue.
‘Our new president, Xi Jinping, is serious about trying to get rid of corruption, even at the highest levels. He is trying to deregulate whole industries. Regulations and licenses were just a way for officials to demand bribes and payoffs. So, Xi wants to get rid of a lot of this so we can do business more freely.’
Whether he will succeed or not, we can’t say. But at least it sounds promising.
Charlie Chaplin stands on Douglas Fairbanks’ shoulders during a rally at Wall Street in 1918.
(Photo author unknown)
This post was published at Acting-Man on September 5, 2014.