CHAPTER 5Understanding the Power Structure: Who’s Really in Charge?

Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Sir John Dalberg-Acton

Just like in other countries, in Asia a power structure exists within a country and it is up to you to understand how it functions. For instance, in China, you have state-owned enterprises; in Japan, there are the Keidanren, a Japanese business federation made up of companies, industrial associations, and regional economic organizations; India has the Benami, where old families, such as Tata, rule the roost. Needless to say, in all of these countries, there are dominating forces that have a stranglehold on the overall business community and an ability to keep their power. It’s very important to learn who these groups are, what their interests are, and how to work with them (or, if you cannot work with them, how to stay below their radar). When I think of these groups, I am often reminded of a favorite line from a movie that most people probably never saw.

In the movie The Great White Hype, Samuel L Jackson plays a boxing promoter who has a stranglehold on the boxing world and oversees all the corruption within it. Cheech Marin plays the boxing commissioner. Jackson is trying to get him to rank a particular white boxer in the top 10 despite the fact that he has never fought a professional fight. The conversation goes like this:

Jackson: “What will it take to get him ranked in the top 10...Money?”
Marin: “No.”
Jackson: ...

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