google cares, China doesn’t

Google isn’t picking a fight with the Chinese government, it’s using a righteous excuse to duck out of a market the company never had a prayer in.

Sarah Lucy at techcrunch.com is arguing that google was failing in China and are attempting to get a bit of cred back in the west by having a swing at the Chinese government on the way out. You can almost smell Richard Gere’s approval.

Google is now a verb in English and so embedded in our culture that people start to assume it must be the same everywhere, but the Chinese won’t give a fuck about seeing it go.

How many people knew that baidu.com, the Chinese state owned and censored search engine, is the eighth most visited site in the world?

Google saw a market that could potentially dwarf all others and were willing to accept any conditions the state wanted to impose to get at it. They’ve gotten nothing but damage to their reputation in the rest of the world.
It reflects a phenomenon that foreign businesses are learining about Chinese capitalism. It has rules and it has consequences, but only for foreign investors.

Chinese capitalism’s ruthlessness has its roots in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square protests and massacres.

A new social contract was forged whereby the party would retain leigitimacy with the people as long as the state delivered increasing wealth and consumer power to the urban public.

This is a purely internal deal; the only role foreigners have to play is in the facilitation of business. The only outcome the party is interested in is the retention of power through the social stability brought by wealth development. It isn’t bound by ideology or hampered by aggressive free press.

Western capitalism exists under varying levels of ideological and practical constraint. Major attempts by the state to enter the economy are attacked as ‘socialist’. Social engineering is ‘totaliarian’.

China’s state can engage in capitalist endeavours and encourage the entrepreneurs amongst its people while maintaining a devalued currency and controlling and manipulating the environment, the residences of its people and the labour force.

The USA can’t forcibly move the populations of the rust belt states to parts of the nation where the labour is needed, nor can its government publically endorse the poverty of a large proportion of its people as a comparative advantage in production.

The Europeans can’t move millions out of river valleys to ensure a cheap supply of hydroelectric power; the skills of Australian diplomats being utilised to negotiate contracts for Australian companies causes an outcry.
In China these things are good for business and the expanding middle class stays happy.

The backlash here over China’s behaviour at Copenhagen won’t register in China. It was naïve for the west to think the Chinese state would even consider committing to foreigner-monitored carbon reduction that would impact on the expansion of the Chinese economy – the risk to the state’s stability would be too great.

The party will not risk failing in its part of the post-Tiananmen contract – the economy must grow and foreign opinions are irrelevant.

However, China may provide an indicator of the viability of the vaunted post-carbon economy and its green jobs. If it can work and be profitable, China will do it, and the state, still nervous from the post-GFC export blip, will be encouraging investigation of green technologies and industries.

Google leaves – the state makes more money from its now well-established baidu brand. American car brands get bailed out or go broke – new Chinese vehicles fill the void.

The superiority of China is reiterated to China and western influences are exposed as hollow fads, be they google, Jeeps or democracy.

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One Response to “google cares, China doesn’t”

  1. Thank you..really informative!!

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