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Challenges within Tibetan society

Otto Kolbl

The measures outlined in the previous chapters seem so simple and straight forward that you might wonder why nobody has thought about this. One reason is certainly that helping local people to set up businesses is not part of the Western or Chinese charity tradition. In the Tibetan areas, like all other regions on earth, NGOs are mainly active in extreme poverty relief, education, health care, agriculture and environment.

However, the lack of foreign help and the greater capital and experience of Han and Hui Chinese traders do not explain why Tibetan owned retail trade has taken so long to develop. Some factors inherent to the Tibetan society play an important role. Some of them might be painful to talk about, but it is vital that Tibetans can successfully compete with businesses from other ethnic groups.

There are mainly six characteristics of the Tibetan society which are an obstacle to successful business activities:

It should be emphasized that the content of this whole section should be considered as being a set of hypotheses; the data on which they rely is not based on a sufficient sample to be considered representative.