#877… “The Economist and the African Proverb” [sci, relig, ETC]


Thomas Friedman “flattens” the frenzied world by observing 10 ways in which traditional distance has been shortened.


An African proverb underlines the 6th flattener.


For those 6 lines, however, you must use the DOOR.




   An American-trained Chinese manufacturer of a fuel pump factory in Beijing (owned by a friend of Friedman) posted the following African proverb, translated into Mandarin, on his factory floor:


Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up.

It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed.

Every morning a lion wakes up.

It knows it must outrun the lowest gazelle or it will starve to death.

It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle.

When the sun comes up, you better start running.¹


   ¹ Thomas L. Friedman, The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the 21st Century (Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2005, p.114.) We’ll follow up on how this affects Friedman’s thinking in a future post.


Author: John Knapp