Sometimes the two ideologies sail smoothly, but there's always an instance when the two collide. Currently, the best example is how many high-tech companies, sadly including Blog*spot owner Google, are willing to sacrifice the individual rights and civil liberty for a share of the Internet market in China. With the annual significant growth of Internet users, it means a guaranteed boost of bottom line performance regardless of how big a share the company owns. With many rural provinces undeveloped there's always rooms for improvements, potential clients and lucrative deals. To the investors and high-tech firms, China is like an enigmatic chest that awaits exploration. There're surprises and turns but if one is persistent and willingly enough to endure a meager hardship, the rewards are endless.
Furthermore, the willingness of submission to Chinese rules also fuels China's rentless effort to acquire sensitive technologies, and causes a direct detrimental impact on the economy of many nations. The impacts include:
- Erosion of jobs and jobless recovery
- Poor enforcement of intellectual property rights
- Exclusion of foreign products in China
- Unfair treatments of foreign companies in China
unthinkables. For more on the true cost of capitalism visit here.
This same capitalistic idea also applies to many giant retailer chains, such as Wal Mart, and the facts behind their below the cost pricing strategy, such as export of jobs and the excess imports of finished goods.
But when is enough, enough? Where do we draw the line between principles of free speech and profit? The investors and high-tech firms are so entwined and bedazzled by their profit making machines that it'll take them eons to wake up. It'll be too late if we wait for them. Therefore, we, as the conscience human being, must take actions into our own hands. We must ensure the steps and decisions we make are ethically sound. Yes, this is always easier say than done, but what is there to lose? We could start by limiting the use of the many attractive services and applications the company offers. We could start by informing other users the hidden costs and perils of the technology we use. We could start by forming or joining a human rights watchdog group and dedicate invaluable time and resource to combat this issue. Worst comes to worst, we could isolate ourselves from the companies altogether. Or, if that's too much, incrementally withdraw the reliance on these technologies. And, as time goes on, the incremental efforts would be fruitful. Sometimes these are radical steps, but if nobody is willing to take them, we'll just be yelling without our voice.
Just imagine how much of an outcry there would be if the high-tech firms, such as Google, developed technologies which support inhuman torture, unlawful imprisonment and the suppression of human rights. Well, you think the innocent search engine is harmless and do not pose a threat on human rights? You're dead wrong! Not only do the engine track your search behaviour and records, it could also link directly to your personal information. The more you indulge in their products the greater the chance your real name, email addresses, street address, phone numbers, financial and banking informations, and even social security number could be exposed. Surprise, surprise, this is exactly how Yahoo was alleged to have helped the Chinese regime jailing a dissent. If we do not ease the reliance on these technological wonders, we are no better than those people who invented lethal weapons, guns and bombs.
Ask yourself, what do human rights and freedom of speech mean? What is there to lose for a multi-billion dollar company to back away from the Chinese market? What is a few millions worth for an already multi-billion dollar company? Does it include stripping away and trampling ones freedom and rights? The desecration of freedom and civil liberty is equivalent to the desecration of the state, church and religion!
So, wake up bloggers! Today we may have the joy and freedom to exercise our rights, but they may be soon taken away because the concession for one would eventually be the concession and an excuse for other governments and policy makers!
Disclaimer: Yes, I know how ironic to even say anything about conscience and human rights on Blog*spot while using Microsoft Windows XP with a Yahoo email address. But, what needs to be done must be done! The words must be spread by any mean or form, regardless of any irony or sarcasm!