Surrendering bit by bit to the tide
Posted by aogThursday, 16 February 2006 at 16:32 TrackBack Ping URL

The recent flap about Google in China highlights the problem confronting dictatorships in the 21st Century. To me, the interesting question isn’t why Google caved to the ChiComs, or whether web surfers in China can bypass the restrictions by using other search engines. Instead, I wonder why China allows search engines at all. Why not just ban them?

While there are a number of search engines, there aren’t so many that they couldn’t be enumerated and banned. Yet the ChiComs feel compelled to allow this kind of information technology in, despite its risks. Quite the change from regimes that used to require registration for mimeograph machines.

Comments — Formatting by Textile
cjm Friday, 17 February 2006 at 11:14

they need the technology for economic reasons, perhaps even as an aide to their own bueraucratic efforts. they are hoping there is a mid-ground where the technology provides more help than the weakness it also introduces. ultimately china will move into a system like ours, but it’s up to the prc leaders to decide on the body count before that happens.

interesting how they have shed all those 1950’s delusions about being totally self-sufficient.

Annoying Old Guy Friday, 17 February 2006 at 11:34

But they don’t really need the technology for economic reasons, except to keep even with the USA. You might say that it’s necessary to handle the domestic situation, but that again is only necessary because of information leakage about how wealthy the rest of the world is.

On the other hand, this is why we are at the End of History. Nations can gradually adopt the ways of West, or they can sink in to irrelevance and poverty.

toe Friday, 17 February 2006 at 14:27

they need the economy to produce money for upgrading their military.

Annoying Old Guy Friday, 17 February 2006 at 14:28

Only if they want to compete with the USA.

toe Friday, 17 February 2006 at 16:48

we are the flame to their moth :)

do you ever read “The Dignified Rant” ? the author there specializes in analysis of the prc’s machinations (amonst other things).

Annoying Old Guy Sunday, 19 February 2006 at 14:49

No. I did go check them out and it looks worth reading, but no feed. I hate to be a snob, but I just don’t have time to check weblogs for new posts. If I can’t put it in my feed reader, it’s effectively unreadable (especially a Blogger one, where setting up an RSS feed consists of clicking a couple of buttons).

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