Americans: More than meets the eye


The United States of America has two symbols that most Americans use to identify their core values. One is the Statue of Liberty and the other is Uncle Sam. The Statue of Liberty represents all of the things that have made America great; the hope for a better life, freedom from persecution, new chances, a new life, all that is even promised in the constitution, the pursuit of happiness. This dream, of being able to become anything you want, from rags to riches, in short, the American Dream, is what she represents. The vision of her, looking out at the ocean, welcoming new Americans and new dreams, is what represents so many of the good and positive values that Americans hold.
On the other side is Uncle Sam. He is there to tell you to join the Army, pay your taxes on time, in some cases, to buy a new car! All in all, he is quite a demanding character! He is also often used as a representation of the US Government.

So, one would think, in a country where many Americans have an ingrained mistrust of the federal government, that he would be seen as oppressive. But, that is actually not the case. Uncle Sam remains very popular. In fact, he represents the responsibility that many Americans have towards their country, and their fellow citizens. He brings out the patriotic values that most Americans hold dear.
While the respect towards authority is not something that all Americans hold, the respect for symbols, especially those that represent the most important values, still remains steadfast. And those values supersede politics. The determination of the Americans to be successful, carry on positive business relationships, provide good customer service, and be pleasant and reliable business partners, is more important than what happens in Washington. And that is true no matter who is in charge, and remains as it has always been.

I had the chance to visit different parts of the United States in 2017. From the liberal West Coast, to the deep South, to the conservative South West. And even though many of the people that I interacted with had very different political values, religious views, and even differing world views, I was met by good-natured people, who wanted to work well together, to be successful, and most of all, wanted to conduct “good business”. This willingness to put differences aside when working well together, is the foundation of American business and one of the values that most Americans believe in. It is one of the reasons that, even in turbulent times, the Americans remain successful.

The political state of the United States in the year 2017 made many international investors nervous. According to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, the preliminary numbers show that in the first quarter of 2017, the direct investments by German corporations and investors dropped by roughly 40% to 86.3 billion US dollars. However, that is still an impressive number! It is almost the equivalent of the GDP of Switzerland for the same timeframe. The US remains unchallenged at the top of the list when it comes to GDP. It is still a place that is worthwhile to conduct business in.
In the year 1900, the American poet Walt Whitman wrote about the American individual, and how this individualism is the reason for America’s greatness, and not the president or the Congress. His poem “as I sat alone by blue Ontario’s shores” describes that America’s people are the country’s most valuable asset. 

It is the individual values of all Americans, their different heritage, that make it so much fun, yes fun, to work together with them, and to be successful together. This is the reason that it is time to (re-)discover Americans and what makes them such good business partners. Many believe that they know all about Americans, much of that learned by watching TV or movies, but in such a large and diverse country, a second look is always worthwhile.

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Thursday, 21 February 2019

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