Panama News Vol 16, No 1, January 20, 2009
China Can Outgoogle Google
by William R. Stimson
What if they gave a dictatorship and nobody came? This is what we’re seeing happen in Iran now, and with Google it’s apparently also beginning in China.
The Chinese authorities dangle profit in front of the greedy eyes of Western firms but then as those firms rush in and struggle to establish themselves in the very different (so-called) “business” climate of China, these same authorities keep changing the rules, demanding a little bit more every few years, altering the structure of the business environment and changing the rules some more, until they themselves are firmly in control of the firms and own the technologies. To China’s leaders it must seem like such a winning game that already they can’t help strutting and posturing about their own superiority as a race, a nation, and a system of “government” that, unlike the liberal democracies of the West, works against the recession.
Only, like the populace of Iran, Google looked the big boys in the face, decided it wasn’t worth playing their cheating game, turned around, and walked out on their party. This is the opposite of the Americans going into Iraq for its oil. This is America coming of age. The greatness of America, whatever superiority it may have, as it turns out, isn’t what so many in the West, or even in China, might suspect. Rather it’s the simple freedom to innovate and to try to be real – it’s the “tangle and bother” freedom that the Chinese leaders now deride for its slow and stumbling economic recovery.
America has what China can’t steal. It can finally produce a company that is true, that places human values above dollars – a company that can win our hearts and so, of course, earn our dollars in a big way.
Google does right to step out of China because by doing so it is preserving its one priceless asset. This is not the secret computer codes the Chinese want to steal. It’s something the Chinese cannot steal from Google or any other company. Legitimate authenticity, genuineness, call it what you will – this is the commodity that will be selling in the marketplace of the future, and that not just America but Taiwan and so many free countries around the world are now perfecting. This is the commodity that will end the destruction of ecosystems, the exploitation of labor forces, the extinction of species, the stealing from future generations, and, yes, that will end poverty too; and overpopulation. A genuine company is one that gives away for free far more than it ever even attempts to sell, it is a company that spins a fortune out of thin air, and it is a company that the China we know today will never understand because it is a company that “does no evil.”
China can have all Google’s secrets, yes. But to get them it’ll have to set free it’s captive 1.3 billion, let them read and think and write what they want – and let them self-organize as they wish. Only then will the greatness of the Chinese culture and the superiority of its many peoples and inner nations rise up and show the world what can outgoogle Google.
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