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Censorship Hurts Free Trade?

I thought this Huffington op-ed pretty uniquely turns the tables on the “evil American corporations are complying with foreign autocrats” meme. The argument is that censorship ends up being a trade barrier, by cramping IT products from functioning fully. Google in China is a tainted product. Instead of punishing U.S. companies who, for legal reasons, comply with the demands of censorship regimes, the whole issue could be recast as an unfair trade barrier, and therefore addressable by a body like the WTO.

This would effectively turn the levers of international finance against censorship, and may provide the kind of incentive needed for a county like China to consider opening up a bit. I’m not totally convinced it would work. The Chinese Communist Party seems, despite cost and bad PR , pretty hellbent on controlling information. Nonetheless, it’s refreshing to hear the unusual perspective of Big Business on the question.

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Posted in China, Developing world, I&D Project. Comments Off on Censorship Hurts Free Trade?

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