Thursday, February 16, 2006

World: How to promote technological advance

The US Congress wants to keep Google out of China. To "promote human rights" - or to encourage technological innovation in enemy territory?

IT Toolbox notes that the US Congress is considering legislation to "keep vital computer servers out of China and other nations the State Department deems repressive to human rights". From what I've seen of Congress in action, this is a fairly typical small-picture approach. Next, watch them tack it on as a small item on a much larger, unrelated "must pass" bill. That's a one of many less-than-ethical tactics Congress has learnt over the years, which I have yet to see in other parts of the world.

Question 1: will this legislation foster human rights in China?
Question 2: will this legislation foster even Congress' version of human rights?
Question 3: is China at a pivotal point in innovation where this action would encourage R&D, resulting in a homegrown version of Google? (If so, the US would be fighting four-to-one odds, in terms of population.)
Question 4: just what does Congress really believe in, and do they express it with any consistency?
Question 5: Was a BBC commentator right when he called it simply a response to an economic threat, i.e. disguised protectionism?

I could keep coming up with questions on this. But I'll stick to one final thought:
If you think this is major cultural/ideological hegemony on the part of the US, I have one word for you: Hollywood.

You don't have to legislate hegemony.

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