As a Chinese man whose name is already familiar to many Americans, Alibaba founder Jack Ma is one of the world’s wealthiest men, with a fortune estimated by many to be worth more than $27 billion. In the last month, Ma met President Donald Trump at Trump Tower in New York to talk about creating a million new jobs in the U.S. for Americans working for Ma’s various enterprises.
As a large exporter of goods from China to the U.S. and a soon-to-be major employer of people in this country, Ma is especially interested in the American economy and making sure the U.S. remains a vibrant and viable country in which to live and do business.
As a young teenager in China, Ma worked hard to learn English, traveling up to an hour and a half per day by bicycle to give free tours of a nearby Chinese city to foreigners so he could grasp some of their language. One of his tour-takers, a businessman from Australia, kept in touch with Ma and encouraged the ambitious young man to progress further in his studies.
Ma eventually visited the businessman and his family in 1985 and spent 31 days outside China for the first time. The experience opened his eyes greatly. As Ma says, “When I arrived in Australia, I thought, oh my God, everything is different from what I was told. Since then, I started to think differently.”
Following that experience, Ma worked hard to educate himself and ultimately applied to Harvard University in the United States, but was famously rejected 10 times. But Ma is no quitter; he eventually graduated from Hangzhou Teachers’ College in China in 1988. For a while, he taught English courses at the college.
Later, he developed a vision for a Web-based sales firm after first playing with the Internet while on a trade delegation in Seattle in 1995. He started his company Alibaba soon thereafter, and it quickly became the largest of its kind in China. Today, it competes with Amazon.com in terms of its annual turnover and volume of goods sold.
Recently, Ma had some words for an audience at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on why he believes the U.S. is misguided with its fiscal policies. While Trump and others have accused China of stealing jobs from the America, Ma said that the United States has only itself to blame for much of its troubled economy.
“It’s not that other countries steal jobs from you guys,” Ma declared. “It’s your strategy. [You guys need to] distribute the money and things in a proper way.” Ma claimed that over the last 30 years, the U.S. has wasted more than $14 trillion fighting wars overseas instead of investing the funds in needed infrastructure.
Ma said that this is a fundamental reason why the American economy has been in dire straits for the last eight years under President Obama. This sentiment agrees with President Trump’s campaign statements about how and why the U.S. needs to extricate itself from foreign conflicts, which have been tremendously costly to the U.S. in terms of blood and treasure.
Like Trump, Ma also accused multinational corporations of profiting from globalization. “The American multinational companies made millions and millions of dollars from globalization,” Ma said. “The past 30 years, IBM, Cisco, Microsoft, they’ve made tens of millions — the profits they’ve made are much more than [those of] the four [largest] Chinese banks put together… But where did the money go?”
For many companies, the profits wound up overseas in offshore tax havens, or even in places like Nevada where protected onshore havens are managed by the infamous Rothschild family.
Ma stated that too much money in the U.S. is not distributed widely enough, and this is a cause of economic anxiety. He said that too much wealth flows to places like Silicon Valley and Wall Street, into the pockets of people who are far, far richer than the average American.
Instead, Ma said, the U.S. should be helping people in places like the Midwest and helping more Americans get better schooling. “You’re supposed to spend money on your own people. Not everybody can pass [up] Harvard, like me.”
Ma said he believes in global trade, but that it “should be inclusive,” with the profits not simply being funneled to the wealthy few. “The world needs new leadership, but the new leadership is about working together,” Ma stated. “As a business person, I want the world to share the prosperity together.”
~ Liberty Planet