Saturday, December 18, 2010

Peter Hessler and Rapid Development in China

Been reading Peter Hessler's "Country Driving".  (I strongly recommend his previous books: "River Town" and "Oracle Bones".)  He is or was the New Yorker's correspondent in China, having first lived there as a Peace Corps teacher (River Town).  He's got a sharp eye for detail and for the culture, plus the daring to drive where he's not supposed to, and the ability to get along with people, although according to him in the Chinese countryside and in the new industrial areas people are uniformly welcoming, and friendly, except for the man nicknamed the "Shitkicker".

Anyhow, just read his description of the process of designing a 21,000 sq ft factory building (3 stories, with the dormitory for workers on the third floor) in southern China.  Guess how long it took?
  • 3 months
  • 3 weeks
  • 3 days
  • 3 hours
  • none of the above

The answer is "none of the above".  Actually took 1 hour and 4 minutes for the two bosses to design it with the builder, the builder committed to providing a bid by the next morning.  3 months is the time it took to build it.

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