美国的经济主导力量源于开放

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 说明:本文原文摘自《释放第二个美国世纪:主导 经济的四种力量》( Unleashing the Second American Century: Four Forces for Economic Dominance.)

美国的经济主导力量源于开放


 

20世纪80年代,日本的制造工艺是世界上最先进的,数百篇文章和书籍都是关于日本的挑战。许多人把准时生产过程作为日本成功的基本要素。准时制(JIT)是一种在需要时向工厂交付零部件的过程,因此无需维护大型昂贵零部件库存和仓库。
JIT出现在日本是有道理的,日本的房地产稀缺且昂贵。丰田,这一过程的开发者之一,认为如果不需要建造昂贵的仓库,或者储存挡风玻璃、车轮或变速箱,也没有任何好处。相反,它将其供应商整合到其生产流程中,以便挡风玻璃和其他部件能够及时到达工厂,并在装配线上安装在汽车上。
但不到十年的时间,这一典型的日本工艺就成为美国生产工艺的基本组成部分。在美国这个比日本大得多的国家,JIT生产远远超出了最初的概念。到了20世纪90年代初,货运、运输和航运公司——Yellow、UPS、FedEx和其他公司建立了自己的大型区域配送中心,在那里可以运输零件,保存一两个小时,然后在需要时转移到工厂。在很短的时间内,随着航运和运输公司从卡车运营商转变为以准时交货为基础的物流处理公司,这一日本流程变得美国化。在日本酝酿的一个想法在美国得到了完善。
改变——有时甚至是完善,其他地方发展起来的理念成为了美国做生意的基本方式。而且,尽管我们对我们认为的缓慢变化过度责骂自己,但事实是,没有任何其他国家的变化比我们更快,也没有任何其他国家对新思想持开放态度。
当然,这些都是概括。但它们承载的不仅仅是一点点真相。JIT概念只是这种对新思想的开放性在现实生活中发挥作用的一个例子。我可以举出许多其他例子。
但美国的开放性还有一个更重要的方面常常被忽视。当然,我们对各种想法持开放态度是很好的。不过,更重要的是,我们的社区对新人以及他们的想法持开放态度。这种开放性真正给了我们成长的动力,它比准时交货等概念的力量更重要。
不用说,我们并不完美。偏见当然依然存在。但没有一个国家像美国那样欢迎和接受新移民,或者从中受益更多。这给了我们一个巨大的优势,也是一个很大程度上隐藏的优势。硅谷企业家、纽约大学教授维韦克·瓦德瓦(Vivek Wadhwa)的一项研究表明,硅谷24%的初创企业都是由外国出生的企业家发起的,这些人大多是印度人和中国人,也有以色列人、俄罗斯人、法国人和其他人。例如,世界上最重要的计算机芯片制造商英特尔(Intel)是由来自匈牙利的二战难民安德鲁·格罗夫(Andrew Grove)共同创立的。谷歌的联合创始人谢尔盖·布林出生于俄罗斯。出生于印度的维诺德·科斯拉(Vinod Khosla)是Sun Microsystems的联合创始人,贝宝的四位联合创始人中,有两位出生在别处,分别是出生在乌克兰的马克斯·列夫钦(Max Levchin)和出生在南非的埃隆·马斯克(Elon Musk)。出生于法国的皮埃尔·奥米迪亚(Pierre Omidyar)的父母来自伊朗,他创立了eBay。SanDisk是闪存领域的领导者,由出生于以色列的Eli Harari共同创立。


In the 1980s, when Japanese manufacturing processes were among the most advanced in the world, hundreds of articles and books were written about the Japanese challenge. Many focused on the just-in-time production process as a fundamental element of Japan’s success. Just in time (JIT) was a process for delivering component parts to factories when they were needed, thus eliminating the need for maintaining large, expensive parts inventories and warehouses. 
It makes sense that JIT emerged in Japan, a country where real estate is scarce and expensive. Toyota, one of the developers of the process, saw no benefit in building expensive warehouses if it didn’t need to, or stockpiling windshields, wheels, or gears. Instead, it integrated its suppliers into its production processes so windshields and the other components would arrive at the factory just in time to be placed on the cars working their way through the assembly line. 
But it didn’t take long—less than a decade—for this quintessential Japanese process to become a fundamental part of the American production process. In the United States, a much larger country than Japan, JIT production went well beyond the original concept. By the early 1990s, trucking, transportation, and shipping companies—Yellow, UPS, FedEx, and others—set up their own massive regional distribution centers where parts could be shipped, kept for an hour or two, and then moved to the factory when they were needed. In a short span of time, this Japanese process became Americanized as shipping and transportation companies transformed themselves from truck operators to logistics handling companies built around just-in-time deliveries. An idea hatched in Japan was perfected in the United States. 
Transmuting—and sometimes even perfecting—ideas developed elsewhere is fundamental to the way America does business. And, while we chide ourselves unduly regarding what we believe to be a slow rate of change, the fact is that no other country changes more rapidly than we do—nor is any other country as open to new ideas. 
These are generalizations, to be sure. But they carry more than a modicum of truth. The JIT concept is just one example of how this openness to new ideas plays out in real life. I could cite many others. 
But there is an even more important side of American openness that often gets short shrift. It is of course, all well and good that we are open to ideas. More important, though, is our openness in our communities to new people, along with their ideas.  This kind of openness is what truly gives us the power to grow, and it is more important than the power of concepts like just-in-time deliveries. 
It goes without saying that we are not perfect. Prejudice certainly persists. But no country welcomes and accepts newly arrived people or has benefited more from that acceptance the way America has. This has given us a tremendous advantage—and a largely hidden one. According to a study by Vivek Wadhwa, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur who is also a professor at New York University, 24 percent of Silicon Valley’s startups were launched by foreign-born entrepreneurs, mostly Indian and Chinese, but also Israeli, Russian, French, and others. For example, Intel, the world’s most important maker of computer chips, was cofounded by Andrew Grove, a World War II refugee from Hungary. Google’s cofounder Sergey Brin is Russian-born. Indian-born Vinod Khosla cofounded Sun Microsystems, and of the four cofounders of PayPal, two were born elsewhere—Max Levchin, who was born in Ukraine, and Elon Musk, who was born in South Africa. The French-born Pierre Omidyar, whose parents were from Iran, founded eBay. SanDisk, a leader in flash memory, was cofounded by Israel-born Eli Harari. 



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