Motto for Freedom Activists: ‘Don’t Be Unreasonable’

by on January 27, 2006 · 2 comments

Google recently created a public-relations firestorm when it unveiled a new search site in China that censors data on behalf of the Chinese government. Though the search giant’s success stems from its birth in a free country, that doesn’t mean the company is strong enough to enforce freedom around the world.

Many Americans were horrified to learn that American-grown technology firms such as Yahoo, Microsoft, Cisco, and Google are complying with the Chinese government’s demands to control information. When Yahoo handed over data last fall that landed a Chinese journalist in jail for 10 years for simply e-mailing newspaper briefing comments to a democracy group in New York, outrage followed. But the mistake many observers make is to equate the power of corporations with the power of governments.

Read more here.

  • Scott Bodenheimer

    I live in Houston, and after the Enron debacle, I have no illusions about the morality of corporations. I always thought that Google’s motto, “don’t be evil”, was hubristic, if not pollyannish. But even though a corporation doesn’t have moral obligations to its customers the way a government does to its citizens, that doesn’t mean that they’re not to be held accountable for morally repugnant actions and liasons. Google didn’t need the China money. The biggest myth having to do with China and business that’s only been around for, I don’t know, 500 years maybe, is that there’s a billion Chinese who desperately want the crap we’re selling. Well that’s patently false. The Chinese do want some of our crap, but only until they figure out how to make it and sell it themselves. Don’t you think they’re going to try to do the same thing with Google software and Cisco servers? Geez they’ve only done it so far with practically every sort of consumer good that can be mentioned. Free nations should not allow their high tech corporations to sell their crap to China until China has freedom of thought, speech, assembly, and press. Google and Cisco don’t need the China money, it was immoral of their officers and boards to sign those China deals, and it’s immoral of their shareholders to reap the profits from those deals. Of course now we have a president whose own grandfather was indicted for colluding with a Nazi bank more than a year after World War II began. I guess the business of America is business. But I wonder if people would be so blasÃ??Ã?© about American corporations colluding with the Chinese government if the citizens being oppressed looked like regular fat assed Americans?

  • Scott Bodenheimer

    I live in Houston, and after the Enron debacle, I have no illusions about the morality of corporations. I always thought that Google’s motto, “don’t be evil”, was hubristic, if not pollyannish. But even though a corporation doesn’t have moral obligations to its customers the way a government does to its citizens, that doesn’t mean that they’re not to be held accountable for morally repugnant actions and liasons. Google didn’t need the China money. The biggest myth having to do with China and business that’s only been around for, I don’t know, 500 years maybe, is that there’s a billion Chinese who desperately want the crap we’re selling. Well that’s patently false. The Chinese do want some of our crap, but only until they figure out how to make it and sell it themselves. Don’t you think they’re going to try to do the same thing with Google software and Cisco servers? Geez they’ve only done it so far with practically every sort of consumer good that can be mentioned. Free nations should not allow their high tech corporations to sell their crap to China until China has freedom of thought, speech, assembly, and press. Google and Cisco don’t need the China money, it was immoral of their officers and boards to sign those China deals, and it’s immoral of their shareholders to reap the profits from those deals. Of course now we have a president whose own grandfather was indicted for colluding with a Nazi bank more than a year after World War II began. I guess the business of America is business. But I wonder if people would be so blasÃ??Ã?© about American corporations colluding with the Chinese government if the citizens being oppressed looked like regular fat assed Americans?

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