Both Sides of the Fence

A Tosa resident since 1991, Christine walks the dog, cooks but avoids housework, writes and reads, and enjoys the company of friends and strangers. Her job takes her around the state, learning about people's health. A Quaker (no, they don't wear blue hats or sell oatmeal or motor oil), she has been known to stand on both sides of the political and philosophic fence at the same time, which is very uncomfortable when you think about it. She writes about pretty much whatever stops in to visit her busy mind at the moment. One reader described her as "incredibly opinionated but not judgmental." That sounds like a good thing to strive for!

Curious George learns about business in Thailand

International business, Governor Walker, Thailand

Son George, a Wauwatosa West graduate and junior in business school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is spending this semester in Thailand.

Quite an adventure for a kid who’s never had much chance to travel.

Helping make this possible was a small scholarship for studying expanding markets in Asia. I hope that kind of help survives the new “more austerity for little people” approach to getting through our state's serious budget problems.

And not just because the children of people with modest incomes need a little extra financial help. That kind of knowledge and experience is what the rest of the world expects of business people.

Our Facebook chat conversation this morning went like this (please excuse Facebook casualness):

Mom: I hear you’re humbled by the European students’ knowledge of geography.

George: i’m humbled in general by my lack of cultural knowledge but hey
im learning.
Mom: You taking advantage of those perks (in the “dorm”: sauna, pool, aerobics classes)? AND learning geography?
George: europeans know a lot though. yes and yes. school is fascinating as well great professors.
we are actually going to work with business to facilitate international trade with thailand. i’m excited for that.

Talk about getting down to business fast.
George mentions his wonderful professors in Thailand:

George: see, they are international and experienced. one is an indian who works in LA and consults for international trade. one is a swiss guy who worked hospitality and sold a series of 5 star hotels and retired then started teaching. one is a hilarious and demanding thai guy with great examples and anecdotes. i dunno. its pretty cool.

Pretty cool indeed. George’s learning curve so far has been off-the-charts fast. Of course, it’s facilitated by contact with people who have very different ideas and world views, different knowledge sets and values. Different experiences.

There’s a lesson in there somewhere. Can Wisconsin "open for business" guided entirely by a new insular “in crowd” (as opposed to the old one)? This isn’t just a problem for Governor Walker, this problem of narrowing the circle of advisors and ideas: it’s a problem for President Obama, as it was for President Bush.

George McLaughlin will be a valuable asset for whatever business hires him – or better yet, whatever business he creates. But will Wisconsin be the place he’ll want to do business? Can we keep him “down on the farm” after he’s seen a wider world?

That will depend greatly on how well we educate our people here, how creative and innovative we are, not just on how fast we reduce worker's wages.

This site uses Facebook comments to make it easier for you to contribute. If you see a comment you would like to flag for spam or abuse, click the "x" in the upper right of it. By posting, you agree to our Terms of Use.

Page Tools