Probably a must read for those in Global Corporations...

A Point of View: The foibles of four countries

Not long ago, thinking in despair about the American inability to stop shooting its own children, I wrote that every nation has a core irrationality, some belief about itself that no amount of evidence or experience can alter - and a blindness about the need for gun control was ours.

I began to wonder if I could identify the true hard core of irrationality in each of the four countries that I know best and have lived in longest.

Yes, I'm about to engage in national stereotyping - but without apologies, because it is the thrum of our normal talk about our experience of the world.

The thing we learn when we travel, or ought to, is that each country is a different world, and so to describe the differences is to respect them even when they seem to us more than a little mad.

Let me start with my own country - don't worry, your turn is coming. The core irrationality of American life is its insularity, which can be captured in three words: The World Series.

This is, of course, the annual championship of the American-invented game of baseball, a championship played almost exclusively in American cities and, until recently, entirely by American players - yet still referred to, without a hint of irony, as the global championship.

In all my years in the US, not once have I ever heard any American who found this name mildly ironic, or even strange. It is not even a rueful national joke. It's just a fact of life, and when you point out its absurdity, you get a puzzled look.

It isn't just baseball. The winners of the Superbowl in our US version of football cry out "We're world champs!" as the gun sounds - and they do the same at the end of the American championship of the world sport of basketball.

When Americans play other Americans in American cities for an American audience, the world championship of whatever sport they are playing is thereby decided.

The real irony is that there is an actual world championship in baseball - and Americans do very badly at it. No one cares. It is broadcast on an obscure cable channel and no one pays any attention as the Dominicans or the Japanese triumph.

Read on..there is Canada, France and England

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