Thursday, May 31, 2007

Reading Summary: Political Demobilization of Labor

Deyo: Political Demobilization of Labor

Deyo’s work is essentially a modern history of labor in four S.E. Asian countries (Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, and South Korea). He gives us some terms and parameters for describing labor controls: dimensions (type, severity, level, and effectiveness). There are two types: repressive and corporatist. Repressive controls use force to manipulate workers, which corporatist controls manipulate workers by absorbing them into organizations that dilute their power. Severity deals with how much pressure is used to control labor forces. Levels distinguish whether it is the state or enterprise wielding the controls. Effectiveness describes how successful the controls are.

Deyo goes on to discuss how industrialization played out in Latin America and how that differed from the East Asian Experience. He details the historical stages of the labor movements and counter movements in his four East Asian subject countries. In each, there is a high degree of suppression of labor, but it takes different forms in each country. South Korea and Singapore have experienced direct state control, whereas in Taiwan and Hong Kong the state, although still responsible for setting up the system of control, allows controls to be meted out by way of the enterprise level.

Hsieh: Manufacturing Bosses

The paper by Hsieh is a repudiation of the statist approach to examining the S.E. Asian economic phenomenon, and the assertion of a production-centered approach which serves to bring workers back into the picture. The main problem as Hsieh sees it is that all the theories that try to analyze the situation focus on the state or market or other economic forces, but they leave out the direct producers. Hsieh particularly takes issue with Deyo’s work, calling it theoretically inadequate and methodologically ignorant.

Hsieh then goes on to refer to Cho’s work, calling it the first study to treat labor processes and workers in a serious way. Hsieh continues by describing Cho’s work, and pointing out the differences between her approach and his own, namely that Cho looked at the obstacles to the reproductions of dependent capitalism, while Hsieh looks at the reproduction itself. Also, while Cho states that manufacturing worker consent under EOI in S. Korea is impossible, Hsieh contends that it is possible in Taiwan because of the system of subcontracting that is absent in S. Korea.

In the summary, Hsieh points out that though the states may play a key role in getting dependent capitalism started in East Asia, the mechanism of its reproduction should be looked for at the points of production. In other words, in the interactions that take place on the shop floor. The other factors like states and market forces have to become “concretized” in order to have an impact on the reproductions of dependent capitalism in East Asia.

Monday, May 28, 2007

The Black Bears' First Boxing Competition

Last Sunday my boxing team, the Black Bears (黑熊), had its first competition.

We did alright, winning about half of our matches, and doing pretty well in the others.

To see more photos, you can go to My Yahoo Photos.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Culture Shock

I wrote this report on my experience with culture shock in Taiwan. It is mostly based on my true experience, but I cut out some stuff and simplified some other stuff.

Culture shock

Executive Summary
Culture shock is a phenomenon that affects virtually anyone who leaves one cultural setting and enters a new one. Culture shock is generally referred to as occurring in stages that evolve over time. The purpose of this paper is to describe the author’s personal experience with culture shock, including the situation, background, and related circumstances, the type of cultural adjustments and transitions he went through, the critical cultural challenges he faced, his progression through the stages of culture shock, the causes of the shock, and some of the lessons he learned. Finally, the author will make some recommendations on how to handle future cultural challenges.

Situation, Background, and Related Circumstances
In the time I’ve spent in Taiwan, I’ve experienced culture shock in many areas. To understand a shock, one must understand the context—where did the individual start and where did he find himself. To experience a shock, a person must change environments, usually suddenly. It is this sudden change that causes the feelings of euphoria and, later, frustration.

For this reason, to describe my experience with culture shock, I first have to describe my life before I moved to Taiwan. By examining the “before,” and comparing it with the “after,” we can see what level of change I experienced and in what areas. Then it should be possible to understand why I experienced culture shock in the way I did.

To begin with, I am from North America—Seattle, Washington, USA. Other than one year I spent studying in Spain, I lived my whole life in Seattle.

Immediately prior to my move to Taiwan, I was working at a state university in an office the primary purpose of which was the collection of library fines for overdue books. My past work experience included other office work and various labor jobs. It is important to consider this when examining my culture shock experience, because the job I took on in Taiwan—teaching elementary school English—was unrelated to any work I’d done in the past, and so constituted a shock of its own.

Another aspect of my situation that contributed to my culture shock was my age. I was at least ten years older than the majority of my new co-workers. This is important to consider because it affected the make-up and cultural mind-set of my expatriate support group.

Obviously the most important factors from my previous experience were my deeper cultural encodings, such as my language (English), and my literacy skills. Other such encodings included my understanding of social norms and expectations, which were based on North American standards.

How did my move to Taiwan cause a shock to my North American sensibilities? In many ways there were superficial changes, such as in location, climate and infrastructure. Though superficial, these changes were significant, as were the sudden changes in my peer group, contact with family and friends, and the usual unfamiliarity that comes with arriving in a new location.

In the next section I will describe some of the causes of the unfamiliarity I experienced.

Cultural Adjustments And Transitions
My first realization that I was entering a new cultural atmosphere when I chose to move to Taiwan actually came before I arrived in the country. The airline I took to on my first trip to Taiwan was EVA Air, a Taiwan-based airline. During the flight I noticed something different from my previous experiences on overseas flights: the in-flight beverage service was much more conservative. On flights I have taken to Europe on Western airlines, the beverage service continues throughout the trip, with the flight attendants making regular circuits through the plane to make sure passengers always have drinks available. On EVA, however, a meal was served immediately after take off, followed by one circuit of the beverage cart, and then the lights were turned off and most passengers went to sleep. If a passenger wanted a drink after this point, he or she had to either ring for service, or get up and find a flight attendant for assistance.

Now, this is clearly a superficial difference, but it offers a clue to a significant difference between Western and Taiwanese culture. While Western culture is one in which alcohol consumption is quite common, Taiwan is not a drinking-oriented culture. In fact, when offered drinks on the plane, most people chose water, tea, or juice. This was in sharp contrast to my previous overseas flights, in which Western people tended to take copious advantage of the free cocktails.

Because I come from a family in which drinking alcohol is the norm, this difference in cultures represented and significant cultural adjustment that I had to make.

My next adjustment came when I arrived at the airport in Taiwan. My company had arranged for a driver to pick me up and take me to Hsinchu. When I first saw the driver I said hello to him, but he just stared at me for a moment, and then he grabbed my suitcase and quickly walked away toward the parking lot. I followed, realizing that he did not speak any English. It was a long quiet ride to Hsinchu, during which I had plenty of time to consider the fact that I was now going to be living in a place where I could not speak, read, or write one word of the local language. It was at this time that I first realized that while I was here, I would be at the mercy of the people who were my “handlers.” I had never been in such a situation before, and the prospect was rather daunting.

Throughout the course of the next few weeks, I experienced a number of other cultural adjustments. I found that, contrary to what I had expected, Taiwanese school children are not well-behaved. I also found that those few Taiwanese people who I met tended to ask questions that in the West would be considered very personal, or even rude. For example, people asked me my age, my marital status, and how much money I made—all fairly taboo subjects in the West for people who have just met. As I am an easy-going person by nature, these differences were not difficult to adjust to, but they did add to the sense of being a stranger in a strange land.

Critical Cultural Challenge
In the previous section I already alluded to what has turned out to be the most critical challenge for me as an American expatriate living in Taiwan: the language barrier. In my home country, as well as in Spanish-speaking countries, there is little or no language barrier (naturally there is more of one in Spanish-speaking countries than in the US, but it is still relatively low). In fact, my undergraduate degrees are in Spanish and Comparative Literature, so I could say without boasting that I have a high rate of literacy, at least in my home country. Because of this, my sudden arrival in a place where I was essentially illiterate was very difficult to deal with.

Some of the immerged immediately. The first time I went to a grocery store, I realized that I was unable to determine the contents of most of the items on store shelves, and there was no one available to answer any questions I had regarding the products the store offered. Because of this, I found myself eating at McDonald’s and other fast-food restaurants much more often than I ever had before. In general, I found that I was hungry almost all of the time.

I also found myself signing documents for my company which I couldn’t read. In fact, my inability to read the local language was more of a handicap than my inability to speak. Even in the United States, I can get through most days without speaking to anyone. Being able to read, however, is essential to navigating the world. Being able to understand street signs, product labels, prices, documents, mail, and many other written communications was something that I took for granted in my home country. Suddenly finding myself in a place where all of this was impossible made me realize how difficult it must be for illiterate people.

This illiteracy remains my biggest cultural challenge as I continue to live in Taiwan. Despite my studying Mandarin, and despite the increased use of printed English since I first arrived (as well as the considerable increase in the number of Western goods available), I still find it very difficult to perform activities that would take no effort in the United States. Some examples include my inability to read and understand the schedule at the public swimming pool, the confusion I experience when trying to decipher my phone bill, and the degree to which I have to surrender my fate to those who I rely on to help me with my school, tax, and immigration documents.

Progression Through The Stages Of Culture Shock
My honeymoon, or euphoria stage lasted a very short time. This is mostly due to the fact that I began full-time work at an elementary school three days after arriving in Taiwan, and the first three days were spent observing other teachers. In other words, I have very little time to spend as a tourist. Added to this was the fact that I did not know anyone in Taiwan, and I arrived after all of my co-workers had finished their group training and had received their teaching assignments. For this reason I had no experienced expatriates to show me around or to help me find ways to spend the few leisure hours I had.

Despite this, it was very exciting to be in such a crowded, dirty, noisy, and vibrant place. The juxtapositions of old (street vendors and people pedaling ancient bicycle contraptions down the middle of busy streets) and new (the evidence of high technology everywhere) made my head spin. Unfortunately, as I began a new and completely unfamiliar career as a teacher (I’d never worked with children before), I had very little time to enjoy it. For that matter, most of the time I had I spent alone in my room wondering if I had not just made the worst decision in my life.

As you might guess from the previous section, my frustration stage began quite early. The pressures of learning a new job were enormous (just try going from working in a cubicle or loading trucks to teaching 900 second graders and you will understand what I mean). On top of that, I was extremely isolated. To be frank, I was miserable.

After a few weeks, however, I began to meet other teachers that worked for my company. Soon I was invited out for drinks, and so began a long phase of my social life in Taiwan, that of hanging out at bars. In hindsight, I can say with certainty that I fell in with the wrong group of people. At first it was fun (perhaps this was my actually “honeymoon” stage), but soon it became boring and trashy. I realized that most of the people I knew I’d only seen when they were intoxicated, and all we did when we were together was complain about what a terrible place Taiwan was. This only added to my feelings of frustration.

During the first year and a half that I was here, my only thoughts about Taiwan were negative. The people were stupid and rude, the infrastructure was primitive, the climate was oppressive, and nothing was done correctly. The only good thing was that I was being paid good money just because I could speak English. Still, I had no intention of staying. I was going to take my teaching experience from Taiwan and move to Spain, where I’d spent a year abroad during my undergraduate career, and shake the dust of Taiwan from my shoes.

Sometime in the middle of my second year in Taiwan things started to improve. I weaned myself off of the life of a barfly, and started socializing with a group of people who had more diverse interests. I can’t point to one watershed moment, but I do remember going bowling one night and one of my friends said (and this might have been the first time one of my Western friends said such a thing), “I like Taiwan. There’s a lot to do here, and I get paid good money for easy work.” It struck me that this was true. Contrary to what the whiners always said, that there was nothing to do in Taiwan, the truth is there are a lot of activities besides bar-hopping that one can participate in. There are sports groups, outdoor activites, museums, movies, and a limitless range of hobbies that people can engage in. It was at this time that I realized that the problems weren’t with Taiwan, but with me. All I needed to do was find something outside of work that I enjoyed doing.

At the end of my second year in Taiwan, I left for the United States for the first time with the feeling that I couldn’t wait to get back. I had finally found my niche here. I had fallen in with a good group of people, both local and expatriate, and I had found more than enough activities to keep me busy. In addition to starting a membership at the local swimming pool, I went bowling regularly, played cards a couple times per month, joined a boxing club, and traveled all over the island. All of the old frustrations were still there—I still couldn’t read, write, or speak Mandarin very well—but with all kinds of activities to take up my time, it didn’t matter as much. Probably the most important change that helped me adjust to my new home was that I stopped socializing with people with negative attitudes.

Once I found ways to enjoy my life, I also found that the stress of work was much lower, and that I felt at home in Taiwan. In fact, I still do.

Since I still live in Taiwan, and plan to do so for the foreseeable future, I haven’t yet experienced this stage of culture shock in relation to my life here. Nevertheless, after spending a year abroad in Spain, I did have a degree of reverse culture shock upon returning to Seattle. When I left for Spain my life was very stable. I had been working nights at UPS for seven years, was in a long-term relationship, had a home, two cats, and was almost finished with my bachelor’s degree at the University of Washington. When I returned to the United States, however, all of that was gone. My relationship suddenly ended, I had to move out of my home, I had no job, and I was deep in debt for the first time in my life. The worst thing was that I had no direction. To compensate, I took an extra year at university while I tried to find out what to do with my life. Luckily, I was able to get a job at the university and was able to pull myself out of debt. It was a long and difficult road for a couple of years. I was penniless, and had to sleep on the floor, but I worked hard and saved every cent I could until I was finally able to pay off my debts and begin thinking of the future again, rather than getting through one day at a time.

It was about that time when I decided to throw caution to the wind and move overseas again.

Causes Of The Shock
The reasons for my culture shock in Taiwan are fairly straightforward. The most significant cultural differences that caused me to go through the various stages of shock center around the language barriers that I faced. Unlike any other overseas or domestic experience I have had, my time in Taiwan was the first time I’d ever been completely illiterate. Not being able to communicate with the people around me made me feel isolated, dependent, helpless, and, more often than not, stupid.

Other cultural differences didn’t really affect me very much. I expected people and customs to be different in a place as far away from my home as Taiwan is. In addition, I’ve been abroad several times before, so it isn’t surprising to me to find differences in new places.

In addition, my hometown—and particularly the university environment where I’d spent the previous six years—is a very culturally diverse environment. I believe that having lived in such a place helped to mitigate many of the factors that could have contributed to culture shock.

Lessons Learned And Recommendations
Of all that I have learned by way of my experience living in Taiwan, I think the most important things are that before one decides to live in a new cultural setting, he or she should spend some time getting to know about the destination. This should include learning about the history, as well as the contemporary culture. It is also important to learn at least some rudimentary phrases in the local language. Maybe the most important thing one can do is to talk to other people who have spent time in the destination country. Find out what they struggled with, and what their coping mechanisms were. If possible, it would also be a good idea to visit the country as a tourist before deciding whether or not to relocate there. Armed with the kind of information that this type of research can provide, one can make a more informed decision as to whether he or she will be able to be successful in the new cultural environment.

Culture shock is a phenomenon that affects anyone who moves from one cultural environment to another. It affects different individuals in different ways and to varying degrees, and it is not the same in every place. Obviously moving from the U.S. to England would be different than moving from the U.S. to India. Some people handle the adjustments very well, while others flounder and end up retreating. The expatriate life is not for everyone. Nevertheless, if one takes the time to examine him or her self, as well as doing a careful study of the destination he or she has in mind before making the move, I believe that the chances of having a successful and rewarding experience overseas will be greatly increased.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Summer Plans: What Should I Do?

Well, here it is: that time again to make plans for the summer.

Originally I planned to go to the states with my girlfriend, but that all came to a crashing end about a month and a half ago. That left my head spinning and my plans in tatters.

I still plan to go the the states--otherwise my parents would probably disown me--but I'm considering taking a side trip to the UK and Spain as well. I keep bouncing back and forth between whether I should spend that much money or not, but I might not have another chance to see my friends on the other side of the pond for a long time. I already missed one friend's wedding, and there are others over there who I haven't seen for a long time.

Besides, I was saving money for a dream that is now gone. Why not splurge a little and try to shake the cobwebs from my heart and mind?

I contacted a travel agent today to inquire as to the feasibility and cost of my proposed trip.

The more I think about it, the more I want to do it.

Who's with me? Should I go for it? Should I be conservative and save the cash?

Help me out here, people!

Friday, May 11, 2007


The only good thing to come out of the last three and a half years in Taiwan was that I ended up with a pretty decent blender.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Market, Culture, and Authority: A Comparative Analysis of Management and Organization in the Far East

Market, Culture, and Authority: A Comparative Analysis of Management and Organization in the Far East

The purpose of this paper is to examine the economic organizational structures of three Far East nations (Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan) in light of three theoretical frameworks: the market approach, the culture approach, and the authority approach. It is the opinion of the authors that, although both the market and culture approaches are important, they are both insufficient for explaining the development of the economic organizational structures of these three nations. Their position is that the authority approach is the best method for examining and explaining these structures.

The authors begin by introducing the first two approaches, and then explaining why they are inadequate. Basically, the market approach cannot explain why the three subject nations developed different structures, and the cultural approach does not take into account market forces that are necessary for shaping business organizations. The authority approach, they contend, allows for elements of both culture and market, but do so in the framework of historical authority relations in each society.

After the theoretical introduction, the paper is divided into sections.

The first section gives a brief history of the rapid economic growth that each country experienced in the second half of the twentieth century. Each country is shown to have risen from the ashes of war and occupation or colonization and to have experienced phenomenal rates of economic growth. This unprecedented growth has given rise to the expression, the “Asian Miracle.”

The section also points out some of the historical and cultural ties that the three countries have with each other. Japan colonized both of the other two countries, all three are closely tied to China through their histories, and all three have Buddhist and Confucian elements that inform their societies. The similarities are so important that their meteoric growth trends have been referred to as a regional phenomenon rather than as individual country phenomena. A quote from Bruce Cumings states that, “When one is compared to another the differences will also be salient, but when all three are compared to the rest of the world the similarities are remarkable.”

The authors of the paper then point out that despite their similarities, each of the three countries has developed substantially different forms of economic organizations. They argue that the firms in each country are “‘embedded’ in networks of institutionalized relationships, and that these networks, which are different in each society, have a direct effect on the types of firms that develop, on the management of firms, and on organizational strategies more generally.”

The next section of the paper addresses three patterns of industrial organization as practiced by each of the three subject nations. In Japan, there are two types of networks of firms, or “enterprise groups.” One type consists of linkages among large firms, and the other involves linking small and medium-sized firms to larger firms. These networks are large, powerful, and relatively stable. In South Korea, there are also networks, but they are much more monolithic, and there is a lot more state control. These networks are made up of large firms which are controlled by central holding companies which are in turn managed by the state. Taiwan differs from the first two in that there is little vertical or horizontal integration, and the basic unit of organization is the family firm and the business group. In contrast to Japan and South Korea, Taiwan’s business networks are much smaller.

From this point the authors move to a more detailed description of each of the theoretical approaches, starting with the market approach, which is associated most importantly with the work of Alfred D. Chandler. Chandler’s analysis focuses mostly on market forces and changes in technology (especially transportation). The idea is that organizations develop under the market pressure to increase efficiency and to prevent some parties from taking unfair advantage of a system in which profit is the only driving force. Organization, in short, helps to prevent uncertainty, as well as to increase efficiency and profits.

The problem with this approach in explaining the economic organizational structures of the three Far East countries in question is that, despite having the conditions and similarities to fulfill the requirements to fit into the theoretical framework of the market approach, each country has developed substantially different structures. The market approach fails to explain these differences, and also fails to adequately explain any of the structures of the three countries, though Japan comes closest to fitting this explanation. In the Korean situation, the state is too active and powerful an actor, and in Taiwan the situation is very different from what the market approach would expect, and in fact the Taiwanese business structures often work in opposition to what the market approach predicts.

Another problem with the market approach is that it suggests that the structures come about as the result of market forces, but in Korea and Japan, many of the structures pre-date industrialization. Businesses eventually adopted these pre-existing structures, rather than creating them.

Though the authors go on to say that the market is obviously important in shaping the economic structures, it is a fallacy to attribute all of organizational structure simply to market forces, just as it is inappropriate to trace any complex situation back to a single cause.

“While the market explanation sees organizations striving toward maximum efficiency, cultural theorists probe the nonrational, subjective aspects of organizational life.” The authors suggest in this section that the cultural theorists have the exact opposite problem that the market theorists do: where the market theorists emphasize causes that are too specific, cultural theorists emphasize causes that are too general. They point out that, though the three countries have different cultures, they belong to the same cultural complex—that of Eastern civilization. Because of this, the cultural explanation is not sufficient to explain the differing organizational structures.

As an example, the Japanese concept of wa, or social harmony (in which the individual is subjugated to the group) and nenko (the seniority system) are often pointed out by cultural theorists as explaining Japanese organizational structure and business practices. However, the authors point out that these practices have changed over time, and the cultural explanation falls short in explaining how these changes came about.

They also point out the flaw in using the Confucian culture argument in explaining organizational structure. They say that the culture is a “broadly based underlying cognitive factor that affects the society in general and for that reason explains nothing in particular.”

The approach that the authors contend is the best for explaining the economic organizational structures of the three countries is a political economy one in which actors play out certain roles according to principals of domination. Basically these principals provide the framework for actors to understand who will give orders and who will follow them. They also ensure that actors will adhere to their roles. So, management practices are adopted not necessarily just to promote efficiency, but rather to legitimize the relations of domination.

The distinction between market and cultural approaches and the authority approach is summed up in the following paragraph:

The market explanation concentrates on immediate factors and the culture explanation on distant ones. Both explanations are obviously important, but neither deals directly with organizations themselves; although both claim to account for organizations, they make organizations appear rather mysteriously out of a mix of economic variables or a brew of cultural beliefs. The authority explanation deals with organizations themselves and conceptualizes them broadly as patterned interactions among people, that is, as structures of authority. It aims at understanding how these structures come into being, how they are maintained, and to what consequence. As such, it attempts historically adequate explanations and therefore differs from both general cultural theories and specified, predictive economic models.

The two important issues regarding the authority relations in each of the societies are the relationship between the state and enterprise, and given that, the structures of authority within each type of business network.

In S. Korea, there is the strong state model, in which the state essentially sets up the parameters for doing business through extensive planning and aggressive implementation procedures. The central role of the government is seen as steering the economy. It keeps firms in line by controlling banking and finance, which it can use to extend or withhold credit to firms depending on their compliance with state directives.

In Japan, the relationship between the state and enterprise is different. It is referred to by the authors as a “strong intermediate powers” model. Rather than controlling the economy, it promotes intermediate powers (the business networks) and gives them autonomy to act as they see fit. The state acts as a mediator, not a controller. The firms are more free than their Korean counterparts to act in their own interests, but they usually opt to work in a cooperative manner with the state and other firms in the interest of harmony and long-term economic well-being.

Finally, Taiwan follows the “strong society” model in which the state, although strong, takes a hands off approach to business. This has led to the development of decentralized industrialization a low level of firm concentration, and a predominance of small and medium-sized firms.

One of the main differences between Taiwan and the other models is that state planning is relatively unimportant. The state may make plans, but there is no enforcement mechanism in place to make anyone follow the plans. Nevertheless, Taiwan has experienced one of the fastest growth rates in the world.

In each society, certain choices were made that determined the relationships between the state and business. As the authors point out, the choices were neither random or inevitable. It is the contention of the authors that the key decisions about state/business relations were made by political leaders trying to legitimize a system of rule by a regime at a crucial point in time. All three based their relations of power on a system of power that existed before industrialization. In Japan, it was based on the Emperor system, in which the Emperor provided a symbol of unity, but who passed operational authority to intermediate powers (such as the shogun). In Korea, the model was a strong Confucian state: strong ruler, bureaucracy, weak intermediate leaders, and a direct relationship between ruler and subjects. Taiwan also followed the Confucian example, but with a softer touch: benevolent ruler, the state upholding moral principal, no corruption or unfair wealth, and the people left at rest.

The main issue addressed is, What level of analysis best explains organizational structure? The authors contend that the market explanation is too narrow to account for differences between the three subject countries, and cultural arguments are too general to account for the variations in the same cultural area. Instead, because it takes historical situations into account, the authors favor the authority model. Both market and cultural factors are important in understanding economic growth, but the economic structures are best understood by examining the relations of authority in the society.

How do the three approaches examined in this paper correspond with the contending approaches from our text? It seems that the market approach is liberal, and the cultural and authority approaches are conservative. Is there any element of the radical approach in this paper?

What can cause the authority relations to change in a society? How can those changes affect the society’s organizational structures? For example, did the lifting of martial law in Taiwan change the nature of authority relations? If so, how? What affect did this change have on Taiwan’s economic organizational structures?

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Boxing Update

Here's some interesting and totally unanticipated news: my boxing coach chose me to be the captain of the boxing "team." I'm not sure exactly why--I'm not very good at it. I think it might be because I am always there and always on time. Also, not to blow my own horn, but I work my butt off. In fact, I'm usually about a hair away from a cardiac arrest or stroke during our workouts.