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That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back Short Essay - Answer Key

Thomas Friedman
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1. How does the author describe Tianjin, China in Chapter 1: "If You See Something, Say Something"? Why did he travel there?

In September 2010, Tom Friedman traveled to Tianjin, China, to participate in the World Economic Forum summer conference. Just five years before, a three-hour car ride from Beijing was the only way to get to the over-populated, dirty city. In 2010, there was a sleek modern glass building that housed an ultramodern station for the world-class high-speed train.

2. How long did it take Tianjin to build the conference building?

The beautiful new conference building was built in just eight months. Thomas Friedman compared that time frame with the Metrorail in his Maryland hometown that had been under construction for almost a year to just for modernization.

3. What is Friedman's conclusion regarding China's development?

Friedman checked around and found that people who rode the Metrorail from Maryland to DC had gotten used to the horrible sounds it made while running and the inconvenience of the escalators that were in disrepair. It represented a sense that America's best days were behind it and China's best days were ahead.

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