Why the Chinese win and Filipinos lose in business

Filipinos view every business interaction as a “win-lose” scenario: someone must win and someone must lose. The Filipino does not accept the reality of “win-win” business deals.

So, when Europeans or Americans come to the Philippines with grand ideas of helping Filipinos succeed, they end up walking away with all their money gone, and nothing to show for it. The Filipino thinks that this is a good outcome: he has won, and the foreigner has lost. At no point does it occur to him that, if he had NOT cheated the foreigner out of all his money, they could have built a profitable business together; that’s the “win-win” that the foreigner wanted, but that the Filipino doesn’t consider as an option.

Now, the Chinese businessman fully understands that the Filipino does not do “win-win”. He understands that there are only two possible outcomes in any deal:

1) Chinese wins, Filipino loses.
2) Chinese loses, Filipino wins.

The Chinese businessman (obviously) does not want (2) to happen. He therefore ensures that (1) happens. This is easy for him, because he is smarter, more experienced, and more hard-working than the Filipino. It’s like taking candy from a baby. The Filipino thinks this is unfair because he’s not used to other people cheating HIM. He thinks it’s his right to cheat OTHERS.

Now, the European or the American COULD do it the Chinese way, but they choose not to. Not only do they have ethical codes about it, they think that any sensible business partner aims for “win-win”. They cannot comprehend why anybody would want anything different. They do not understand the goal of the Filipino: it is not to better his lot, or to better his society, but to cause maximum harm to people he does not like, even if he hurts himself in the process, or comes out of it with only a small gain. So the foreigner loses … and the Filipino loses, even though, puffed up with Pride in his own cleverness, he believes he has won.

In other words, the only way the Filipino can avoid being exploited is to stop exploiting others.

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