Katas in Industry?

I'm working on the problem on which culture is best suited to harbor the future and an interesting thing occurred to me.

The Japanese did very well in making cars. This probably depended on the fact that performing motorical sequences assempling a car resembles performing so called katas in martial art. A kata is a series of motions executed to practise a sham fight. They are practised by repetitive performances and it is known today that some 10,000 repetitions is necessary to optimize a motion program. Katas are part of Zen Buddhism and it is religion for many Japanese.

However, the assembly line was invented in the individualistic USA where free spirits probably suffered more in straight jacketing themselves into repetitive motion schemes. It would appear that the Japanese could have had an easier path to inventing the assembly line by just setting up a series of katas to make a car? Today the Japanese assemble cars faster than the Americans. They also write more patents per capita. They are doing worse on the GDP per capita though. They lost ground against the Americans on this parameter lately.

Perhaps it is time to start talk about what you innovate and not how much you innovate?

I'm beginning to feel that the political culture is very important for the quality of research. Therefore it is very hard to be Swedish globally speaking because what Hobbes, Locke, Jefferson, Madison, and Hamilton did was trendsetting and very mature early on, still going strong. If Germany is going their own way now, it is also very hard to be a European because they will part philosophically and value wise. If this split becomes real in the wake of the euro-zone debt crisis this might have effects on coordinating research EU wise but it might be good for the competition in Europe.

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