Saturday, 24 July 2010

I do like a nice allegory

Is this one instructive?

It dates from not too long ago and recounts the transfer of production to China of Hornby, a major British (and European) model-train manufacturer.

Economics have changed somewhat over the last five years but the shortage of conductors worldwide has not, and the persisting failure of 'the West' to solve its own supply problems in this respect should now be apparent to all.

Read the following, with Conductive Education and the production of conductors in mind, rather than model railways and train sets:


After all, the notion of a foreign workforce is now an implicit given in the provision of CE centres/programs around the world, and there is no a priori reason why CE practitioners should hail from one country rather than any other.

The Conductive Education movement's grasp of China in the West has been remarkably limited, seemingly extending little beyond sponsored walks along the Great Wall to raise individual sums for small local charitable projects – or the possibility of selling personal consultancy services. Already in the real world outside, however, there is already extensive experience of a quite different scale and quality of involvement. Tim Moore of SGAI, Tech of Cambridge and Hong Kong,put it like this –

China is a train coming down the track fast. You can either get on, or stand in the way and get mown down. We chose to get on board, and have really benefited.

Or, as V. I. Lenin might have put it –

Conductive Education is a big red locomotive.

Conductive Education had certainly seemed to promise just this in the West twenty or so years ago. Not any more. Maybe it is in China, though, and there may just yet be ways to couple CE's train to this prime mover, to mutual benefit as in the example of Hornby. 

Something else for CE folk to think about, and it should not take the International­Congress in Hong Kong in December to make them do so.

References

Keenlyside, H. (n.d.) On the right track, Chinese-Britain Business Review Archive

I am indebted to Susie Mallett for sending me this URL.

3 comments:

  1. I found your posting very interesting.

    I live now in what was once the leading toy manufacturing centre in Germany, probably in Europe in its hey-day. Fleischmann was until two years ago just one block away.

    One by one, even during the seventeen years that I have lived here, the toy manufacturers are closing down or infact just like Hornby production moving to China or else where. All we seem to have left in the region are Bobby Car and Playmobile both still going strong.

    Kadar Holdings are now the biggest toy manufacturer in Hong Kong. Over the years steadily aquiring Sanda Kan the company that own Hornby, Bachmann, with it Lilliput, and several more of the big names.

    Conductive education has been moving along just as steadily in Hong Kong and China for thirty years.

    The more I discover about CE in China the more I realise that we are going to be involved in something very important in the conductive education of the world when we are in Hong Kong in December.

    Yes, I do mean the our conductive education. I think we are going to learn an awful lot and many people will consider a re-think on how they move forwards.

    Here in Nürnberg we have always fought to keep our "business", we have fought not to be "bought" up by bigger companies. We were at a high in the late nineties with ten conductors and many clients. Now we have less conductors, only three but we are expanding into many different areas of life.

    I hope that what we see and hear in Hong Kong will be reassuring for the people providing the funding and deciding on the new projects here in Nürnberg. I believe they will realise that they have switched the points onto the right tracks.

    I believe that the Hong Kong congress will be convincing others to switch the points too.

    Susie



    http://www.cerecare.net/en/aboutCereCare.htm

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwCUzYuiTdk

    http://www.kaderholdings.com/

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bachmann_Industries

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have to admit to getting really lost in the who-owns-whom acquisition market in the toys and models field since this became so international.

    Are you sure about the statement, 'Sanda Kan the company that own Hornby, Bachmann, with it Lilliput...'. My understanding has been that that Kader owns Bachmann but not Hornby, only the production facilities that Hornby and its owb ovwerseas acquisitions depend upon in China.

    Never mind the specifics of where things are acually made or even who owns them(these seem to mutate at re-mutate at a rate of knots).. I think that the important message is that national origins are, in material terms, of little practical concern, though people do seem still to attach importance to 'the 'brand'.

    I don't know whether it is stretching the allegory too far to draw any implications from this for CE!

    Andrew.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have to admit to getting really lost in the who-owns-whom acquisition market in the toys and models field since this became so international.

    Are you sure about the statement, 'Sanda Kan the company that own Hornby, Bachmann, with it Lilliput...'. My understanding has been that that Kader owns Bachmann but not Hornby, only the production facilities that Hornby and its owb ovwerseas acquisitions depend upon in China.

    Never mind the specifics of where things are acually made or even who owns them(these seem to mutate at re-mutate at a rate of knots).. I think that the important message is that national origins are, in material terms, of little practical concern, though people do seem still to attach importance to 'the 'brand'.

    I don't know whether it is stretching the allegory too far to draw any implications from this for CE!

    Andrew.

    ReplyDelete