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Larry Ringler: Google's courage may turn the tide in our dealings with China
Howard Richman, 1/17/2010

American Economic Alert is carrying an interesting commentary by Larry Ringer from an Ohio newspaper, the Tribune Chronicle. Ringler predicts that Google's courage in standing up to the totalitarian government of China may lead to a changed attitude among American businesses in general. Here's a selection:

The tide may finally be turning in the United States' delicate dance with China.

Recent decisions to slap tariffs on tires and steel tubes was a promising first step by the government.

Most recently, the private sector is drawing its line in the sand, thanks to Internet search engine Google's threat to give up the lucrative China market in a dispute over censorship.

And here's a selection from the official Google blog posting that got everything started, following Google's discovery that the Chinese, probably the Chinese government, have been hacking Google's website in hopes of reading the gmail e-mails of Chinese dissidents:

These attacks and the surveillance they have uncovered--combined with the attempts over the past year to further limit free speech on the web--have led us to conclude that we should review the feasibility of our business operations in China. We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn, and so over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all. We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down Google.cn, and potentially our offices in China.

The decision to review our business operations in China has been incredibly hard, and we know that it will have potentially far-reaching consequences. We want to make clear that this move was driven by our executives in the United States, without the knowledge or involvement of our employees in China who have worked incredibly hard to make Google.cn the success it is today. We are committed to working responsibly to resolve the very difficult issues raised.

Sometimes all it takes to change is history for the better is for someone, finally, to stand on principle. Rosa Parks did it when she refused to take a backseat on a bus in Montgomery Alabama. Google is doing so today.




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  • [An] extensive argument for balanced trade, and a program to achieve balanced trade is presented in Trading Away Our Future, by Raymond Richman, Howard Richman and Jesse Richman. “A minimum standard for ensuring that trade does benefit all is that trade should be relatively in balance.” [Balanced Trade entry]

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