Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Google v China - not so bad?

Google's deal with the Chinese government that it will agree to censor some sites and terms has outraged many. Some people (DPF and Russell Brown for example) are rightly outraged at Google's willingness to bow to a dictatorhip in pursuit of market share, and to suppress "access to public information" with only a "some-Google-is-better-than-no-Google-at-all" defence. Vodka Pundit offers a different view. Dictatorships aren't just evil, they're inefficient (one of the points incidentally that makes Rand's dystopia in Anthem, pictured below, different to Orwell's in 1984):
So let's say it again: There is no such thing as an efficient dictatorship. Only, when you say it this time, think of Google and China. Yes, it's true that Google should take great shame in kowtowing to the Butchers of Beijing, but that's not the whole story... What will Google do for China? The answer is: Less than it's done for us.

In a high-tech economy, the free flow of information defines how competitive a people can be... China is trying to compete in the high-tech economy, while crippling the tools that make such competition possible.

I don't mean to say that you shouldn't be mad at Google. I am, and will be so long as they continue with such repugnant business practices. And don't get me wrong – having Google, even a restricted version, will in some small way prolong China's dictatorship. And the Chinese people will suffer, by losing what could have been a sharp weapon in their fight for freedom.
But it's not the end of the world, either.

Read VP's whole opinion here: 'The China Syndrome' - Vodka Pundit


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