Why So Many Foreign Students?
American exporters have come to almost expect to have their products knocked off by Chinese companies, but when you get knocked off by another American company it kind of stings. In our March/April issue, we reported on how Emeco’s classic Navy Chair, manufactured in Pennsylvania and first engineered for the U.S. Navy during WWII, is now being exported to 48 countries and has become sort of the darling for furniture fahion-istas worldwide. But now we learn that Restoration Hardware has knocked off Emeco’s Navy Chair—even going so far as to call it the “Naval Chair”—and has it prominently displayed in their new fall catalogue. Really? Come on, Restoration Hardware, you’re a better company than that.
Why are U.S. universities importing so many foreign students?What am I missing? Take the University of Southern California, for example. USC has 7,115 international students and loves to brag to anyone who will listen that it
has more foreign students than any other university in the United States.It maintains recruiting offices in several countries, yet turns away hundreds of applications from children of their own alumni—even those willing to pay “full boat” tuition. While most universities want to foster generational ties with their alumni, USC has a restrictive quota, accepting no more than 25 percent legacy applicants each year and, quite frankly, one trustee put the number closer to just 20 percent. Why, you may ask? In the quirky world of academic vanity, universities like USC care more about what their academic peers think about them than what their own alumni think. For whatever reason, the academia elites have decided that it’s vogue right now to have large pools of international students on your campus and deduct elitist points if you don’t. But they are playing a dangerous game. As everyone knows, universities depend largely on the donations of their alumni, and Asian and Indian cultures are not known for writing checks they don’t have to. When you reject the children of your alumni, make no mistake, you are rejecting your own alumni. This is one area of globalization where universities are in over their heads.
On a warm summer evening this past September, we were headed down to the tuna grounds on our 56-foot Huckins sportfisher, Huck Fin. It was a moonless night, the kind that enables you to see galaxies of stars and the perfect opportunity to reflect on matters from soup to nuts, including international fishery laws, or lack thereof. The albacore bite off Southern
California for years has been a staple. Sure, some years are better then others due to fish migration patterns, water temps, availability of bait, etc. Nonetheless, the fishing has slowed dramatically over the past decade. Interesting to note this is about the time the Chinese fishing fleet reportedly began setting miles of drift nets to capture enormous schools of albacore as they make their circular migration across the Pacific, taking them to container ships converted into fish processing factories in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, far away from any nation’s 200-mile economic zone. This raises a host of questions, including whose fish are these and should they be subject to United Nations Law of the Sea Convention (UNCLOS), which restricts the use of the global ocean commons to that which is “reasonable” and does not infringe on the rights of others? In a word, yes. Is it being done? No. We can hammer China all we want on what the playground rules are, but in the end they have 1.2 billion mouths to feed and just don’t care if it’s your turn for the teeter totter or not.
The DOHA round of trade talks, which will celebrate their 12th anniversary in November, should have been called the DOA talks, as in dead on arrival. With the well-intentioned aim of improving trade for developing nations, they were problematic from the outset, not because of so many competing agendas but because it was agreed upon that it was to be an “all or nothing” round. How short-sighted. If I were teaching Trade Talks 400, it would be the same curriculum as Trade Talks 101. In other words, keep it simple, as in:
Rule #1 Don’t make the success and implementation of an agreement in one area of trade contingent upon the success and implementation of another.
Rule #2 See rule number 1.
Look, we’ve said all along that the solution for free trade is more free trading blocs. If certain countries don’t want to join a particular block, or aren’t invited, let them join an “independent bloc.” Then, let those five-to-eight mega-blocs negotiate trade policy with each other, one issue at a time. It’s much easier to get five entities to agree than it is to get 200 countries to agree. Anything else and you might as well just be playing Fantasy Football.
Relax. China Isn’t Taking Over!