By on August 9, 2013

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China has become an area of tremendous potential for companies as the nominally communist country has embraced capitalism. The hybrid result, according to Ford CEO Alan Mulally, is in some ways an improvement on what’s been a pretty sluggish and inefficient democratic process elsewhere in the world.


In a Q&A with Keith Naughton and Craig Trudell for Bloomberg Businessweek’s interview issue, Mulally is effusive in his praise for the party and the government in China, where Ford’s sales are up massively.

Asked if they’re easier to work with than democracies, Mulally replied

“They are a pleasure to work with. You’re welcomed, you’re part of the fabric. ‘What can we do to help? What can we do to work together?’ There’s nothing like it in the world.”

“It’s fantastic. The working relationship between the party and the government is tight. They both have the same objective, to grow the economy.”

The obvious contrast is with Ford’s home in the United States, where some feel that politics and the government frequently serve as an impediment, rather than an economic booster, especially from the viewpoint of commerce.

The tenor of his answers might be colored by his need to maintain good relations with China’s ruling elite.

Mulally’s relationship with the country goes back a long way. In the interview, he describes taking a lead role in China in the ’70s and ’80s during his time at Boeing. The country became a key part of his strategy at Ford from the beginning, and the business has been increasingly successful.

Other companies haven’t had as positive an experience. KFC saw sales plummet massively after a government investigation into its supply chain, while British drug-maker GlaxoSmithKline is embroiled in a bribery controversy and investigation

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32 Comments on “Mulally Praises Chinese Political System...”


  • avatar

    Are the Chinese CAPITALISTS or COMMUNISTS?

    Answer: They’ll do whatever works and call it SOCIALISM.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      The Chinese are capitalist people under a socialist system and the Japanese are a socialist people under a capitalist system.

      • 0 avatar
        billfrombuckhead

        And Americans are just lost and confused. Wanting socialist results while searching for some unobtainable libertarian utopia. It’s like the conquistadors giving everything for the gold and dying of starvation in the process. History will not be kind to this generation of Americans but we are finally building some cool cars.

        Mulally will have fun, fun, fun until the PLA takes his T-bird away

        • 0 avatar
          Lorenzo

          America’s government at the top is the same as its always been, generally incompetent, but able to muddle through to get things done. What’s different is an an army of administrators at agencies writing rules and regulations, who have their own various agendas and don’t answer directly to anyone, insisting that Congress delegated powers to them that Congress doesn’t even have to delegate. Businesses can deal with Congressional actions, mostly taxes, but dealing with unelected administrators and their often capricious regulations ties them in knots.

        • 0 avatar

          I would say – dazed and confused. They don’t want to do dirty jobs like science, engineering, manufacturing and farming (leaving it to immigrants and outsourcing) and live under socialist Government. But at the same time they want to drive BMWs and live in mansions – in other worlds to be rich. Dreams, sweet dreams and drug overdose.

  • avatar

    I don’t believe EV’s will work in America because this country has no political willpower whatsoever and there are far too many greedy hands trying to steal as much money out of their corporation as possible – retire with a golden parachute and not look back as the company falls down.

    China however could easily implement EV infrastructure and easily implement strategic alternative energy plans because you can’t argue with the powers that be. If they tell you your building MUST have solar panels, it does. If they say you MUST have LED lighting to conserve power, YOU MUST.

    At the end of the day, totalitarianism GETS STUFF DONE.

    Meanwhile, in “free” America, we can’t stop the government from wasting our lives in wars – even when we vote in what appear to be peacenick liberals. The Fed continues to debase our currency and we are helpless to stop it. The President executes American citizens on foreign soil using killer robots and no due process whatsoever…

    How free do you feel?

    For DETROIT to have ended up the way it did is a SHAME upon America. China would never let any of its provinces “fail”. You know why Detroit failed? Just watch the films Roger and Me, Robocop 1 and 2. It’s all there. CORPORATE GREED. They outsourced jobs to get around paying union wages.

    I’ve never seen a country with WORSE protectionist policies than America. This country does NOT look after it’s own first. We don’t even protect our borders. If I was in charge, I’d make crossing the borders so violent and suicidal, it would be like the first 30 minutes of Saving Private Ryan. We’d start an underground prison in Antarctica and banish the death row inmates – like Star Trek 6. The Republicans and Democrats are SCUM and they are destroying us day by day.

    • 0 avatar
      Halftruth

      Say what you want about America, it is still one of the better places to live (for now). The world as a whole is being consumed by greed and power-grabs. Always has.. What you say about the US goes for the world.

      Mulally isn’t bitching as things are going his way. That could change.
      The Chinese can be every bit as temperamental and fluky as the Americans.

      • 0 avatar

        “America” is just a plot of land. It’s the people in it that make it what it is. “The Government” is a bunch of people elected to “run the country” and these people are doing a horrible job.

        I own an apartment in ShangHai and every now and then I go back to visit. Those people were dirt poor in 2000. NOW they are damn near doing better than America. Yes I understand that it’s only the top 400 Million out of 1.5 Billion (or so) doing well, but over time, China is going to do what they have to do to make their people strong. WHY AREN’T WE LIKE THAT?

        We’re busy arguing over Trayvon Martin and Snowden and the 2nd Amendment and welfare while these other countries are moving past us. It’s making me sick.

        • 0 avatar
          morbo

          Last time I checked, America makes most of the worlds food, fresh water, guns, planes, medicines, industrial machinery (not cheap consumer goods manufacturing equipment but real stuff like generators, industrial robots, mining equipment), and thanks to fracking increasingly most of the worlds hydrocarbons. I’m not worried about the rest of the world.

          China has grown no doubt. But it’s not a zero sum gain. A growing China benefits almost everyone, and the USA in particular.

          That said, when the demography bomb hits them in 20 years, they will stagnate. None of the Chinese college students I run into around here (metro DC) have any ability to think critically or independently. Great memorization of fact, great for lawyers and doctors. Terrible for engineers and scientists that need to develop NEW things.

          • 0 avatar
            troyohchatter

            Throughout the history of the world, China has been here. They were around thousands of years before the USA and history seems to bear out that they will be here long after our country has spent and greeded itelf into oblivian. That can’t be said of any existing or past country, be it socialist, communist, free, embattled, etc. I always found the fact quite eye opening in and of itself.

          • 0 avatar
            onyxtape

            “Terrible for engineers and scientists that need to develop NEW things.”

            Have you ever been to the campuses of Boeing, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, etc.? Or looked at the names listed on numerous American scientific papers in the last 25 years?

    • 0 avatar
      troyohchatter

      In reference to “China however could easily implement EV infrastructure and easily implement strategic alternative energy plans because you can’t argue with the powers that be. If they tell you your building MUST have solar panels, it does. If they say you MUST have LED lighting to conserve power, YOU MUST.”

      “At the end of the day, totalitarianism GETS STUFF DONE.”

      Back before Omegle became a chat site for people to hook up sexually, it was a chat site for people to meet others from different countries. One time I chatted with a Chinese business professional. He was raised in Europe, met his wife in the UK, and lived in Bejing but traveled the world. I asked for his observation and it mirrored your statement. He said communism has it’s bad points, but what most American’s don’t see is that our form of Govt does to. He said that when you have a Govt that is empowered to make a decision, well, as you said, “sh*t gets done.”

      Now I won’t profess to agree or disagree with the previous statements, but you really can’t argue the fact that with health care cost at an all time high and the middle class standard of living at an all time low, public infrastructure falling apart and schools continually pinching pennies, and all of this caused by the objective of making the few rich and the masses less wealthy; well, you can’t argue that the previous statements sure do make ya think.

      • 0 avatar

        “Throughout the history of the world, China has been here.”

        I’ve lived amongst the Chinese and learned their language. Attended Fu Dan University Language School.

        Their family structure is unbreakable and their discipline is even stronger. Their unyielding adherence to service of the family and service to the state is the reason their government does its best to keep American “individuality” and “personal self-motivating greed” out of their media and their people’s minds.

        Our kids are MORONS. More technology in their hands than the world has ever seen. Able to LEARN about anything in seconds with the click of a button and yet they are further behind than ever before, losing ground to CHINA. Busy playing XBOX and Playstation rather than BUILDING the next Xbox or Playstation. The Chinese government allows America to MANUFACTURE those systems in China but refuses to allow them to be SOLD in China – with the exception of the Black market and second hand shops.

        Ever live in China and watch their TV??? It’s like watching nothing but DISCOVERY and “what’s good about China today”. Talk about “programming”.

        Meanwhile America is WHERE in Science and Math??? 35th?

        • 0 avatar
          onyxtape

          Eh, give them time. The one-child policy ensures that every kid in this new generation is a spoiled brat pampered by his parents, and up to 4 grandparents.

          There’s even a name for it – “Little Emperor Syndrome”
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Emperor_Syndrome

          I have many friends from mainland China, and most of them have not the slightest clue how to do their own laundry, cook their own meals, etc. Most of them manage eventually (esp the ones without parents living with them in the States), but it’s certainly a steep learning curve for them. I know at least 2 new sets of parents living in the U.S. (but grew up in mainland China) who ended up shipping their newborns back their grandparents in China for a better part of the year because they could hardly care for themselves, let alone a newborn.

        • 0 avatar
          GoCougs

          lol – this is absurd. There is never any rational moral justification for materialism.

          The US isn’t losing ground to China. Does China invent 787s, iPhones, Google, Facebook, Windows, etc., etc., etc.? NO NO NO. Impossible with the materialist state.

          Without the US China shrivels. Without China the US goes to India.

  • avatar
    FJ60LandCruiser

    Henry Ford praised Hitler.

    Mulally praises murdering Commie thugs.

    Good to know that Ford hasn’t changed much over the centuries.

    • 0 avatar

      YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT…

      We should NEVER praise people who illegally invade sovereign nations.

      We should never praise people who detain people indefinitely, torture them and even kill them without trial or due process.

      We should never wage neverending wars to steal resources from others.

      We should NEVER occupy other countries – especially those that haven’t attacked us – under the guise that “some of them” might be planning to do us harm…

      We should never KILL American citizens – without due process – especially when they practice their first amendment rights. anyone remember Hannoi Jane?

      OH WAIT…

    • 0 avatar
      fredtal

      That’s more evil than I would have put it, but basically as long as they can sell cars they will say nice things.

    • 0 avatar

      Hitler and NSDPA created economic miracle in Germany at the time when America had been mired in the depression for decades. Thanks to WWII America was able to kick start its economy and with no global competition. If there were no WWII America would be just another country and dollar would not be the world’s reserve currency.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    What’s the cultural significance of these officials/executives standing around an Asian carp with big grins?

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    I’m sure that Mullaly is delighted with the way things are going for his company in China. The nice thing about having the government run everything — whether in China, the old USSR, or the good ol’ USA — is that government never makes mistakes. If you don’t believe me, just ask them.

    Only private companies — and voters — make mistakes.

  • avatar
    Dirk Stigler

    “The tenor of his answers might be colored by his need to maintain good relations with China’s ruling elite.”

    Well clearly. Still, good gawd…

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    I wonder if Mullaly talked about rampant corruption, censorship and pollution with the Chinese leaders. Probably not.
    The Chinese could ask about American domestic spying. A win win all around.

  • avatar
    alexndr333

    What every capitalist really seeks is elimination of competition. That was the rule in the 19th century in America until Teddy Roosevelt blew up the oil, steel and other trusts. Mulally just has monopoly envy for the Chinese government.

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    “The working relationship between the party and the government is tight.”

    Uh… the party IS the government. Yikes.

    But let’s not conflate democracy with capitalism, or authoritarianism with socialism (don’t get me started on the original definition of socialism being completely lost). You can pick any combination you like. Heck, Taiwan was a one-party state run by a murderous Chinese warlord-turned-dictator, and that government had plenty of nationalized companies and land, yet we treated Chiang Kai-Shek like he was our best friend.

    I guess we see China as becoming more like that – a brutal police state in which you can run your own business, in which the government reserves the right to intervene at will but generally doesn’t. That’s totally okay with us.

  • avatar
    agroal

    Sorry Ford but that latest Lincoln styling abortion is just plain ugly front and rear. MKT, MKZ, MKX, MKS,MKT, and the upcoming MLK Jr. Is Lincoln actually trying to compete?

  • avatar
    GoCougs

    Mullaly is an idiot.

  • avatar
    Chicago Dude

    “The obvious contrast is with Ford’s home in the United States, where some feel…”

    Alan Mulally? Or other people? I thought the new TTAC was above this amateur garbage.

    As far as has been written here, Mulally has done nothing more than praise a specific group of people that he and his colleagues have been interacting with, not a system of government and you have offered no proof that he feels our own system of government is inferior, despite the clear implication of just such a thing.


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