Chinese entrepreneurs are renting random white guys to pretend to be visiting businessmen, and to lend an aura of general Being Connected to the West to business meetings, conferences and receptions:
And so I became a fake businessman in China, an often lucrative gig for underworked expatriates here. One friend, an American who works in film, was paid to represent a Canadian company and give a speech espousing a low-carbon future. Another was flown to Shanghai to act as a seasonal-gifts buyer. Recruiting fake businessmen is one way to create the image--particularly, the image of connection--that Chinese companies crave. My Chinese-language tutor, at first aghast about how much we were getting paid, put it this way: "Having foreigners in nice suits gives the company face..."
For the next few days, we sat in the office swatting flies and reading magazines, purportedly high-level employees of a U.S. company that, I later discovered, didn't really exist. We were so important, in fact, that two of the guys were hired to stay for eight months (to be fair, they actually then received quality-control training).
"Lots happening," Ken told me. "We need people for a week every month. It'll be better next time, too. We'll have new offices." He paused before adding: "Bring a computer. You can watch movies all day."
Rent a White Guy
In a recent installment of his Plenary Session podcast, hematologist-oncologist Vinay Prasad observed that "There are interventions that disperse wealth, … and they give people jobs, and they send them out in the community; and there are implantable drugs, implantable devices, there are drugs, there are cancer screening tests, and we will always prioritize interventions […]
Senator and 2020 US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ “High-Speed Internet For All” plan, unveiled today, promises $150 billion to build publicly owned broadband networks — and to break the chokehold that Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T have on Americans’ access to information and communication.
Women and girls, Uber at your own risk.
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