Wednesday, January 13, 2010

No, that is not good.

If Google says no to China will others too? Or will they just pick up the slack and put up with the constraints imposed by the host country's top down government?

Some say we should mind our own business when it comes to openness. After all, China being the largest country on the planet with a rapidly growing economy can't be all bad.

And with respect to not being all bad, the same could be said for the US. But on closer analysis China's rise has been a spectacular success for certain US investors. These investors do not necessarily identify with the US, though this country may be their primary residence.

Profitability in the world can be divided into at least two categories: 1) short-sighted and 2) long-sighted. The first exploits vulnerabilities in the system's checks and balances to make a quick profit. The second recognizes that short-sighted approaches backfire as often as not and create mythical wealth that is short lived.

It is interesting to note here that there is a school of thought that attributes much of the US decline on its large military focus. One could argue that the military capability that won the second world war has outlived it usefulness.

I am old enough to remember a time when the industrial capacity of the US that built up for war was second to none even when the war had come to an end. I remember the time following WWII when much attention was payed to applying the technology to peacetime uses.

Some 'baggage' came with war machine being no longer of use. The propaganda engine that helped first our enemy to harvest social anger for perceived injustice turned into the allies response, using the same propaganda tools. Propoganda survived the war - maybe that was not such a good thing.

I suggest we look deeper into both these phenomena some six or seven decades later. And look anew at what it means to repeat history without deeply understanding it. Unity creates joint purpose and the ability to move a mountain ... in one direction. If that direction is efficacious over a very long term then it would seem to be a very good thing.

But any single direction is seldom good for a long duration. At least if it is specific enough to be an overarching principle that guides societal behavior. Cutting-edge communications hold the promise of directly addressing this deep opportunity. I would argue, few companies in the world are as capable in this area as Google. The news regarding Googles stance vis a vis China is a watershed event in this regard. I would be glad to share why I think so with anyone friendly enough to discuss it.

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