Searching for "google china"
Alphabet’s Plans for a China Comeback Go Beyond Google Search
Google has faced sharp criticism, including from its own employees
, for its efforts to rebuild an internet search presence in China
after quitting the country eight years ago over censorship issues.
for Google’s corporate parent, Alphabet, the opportunities in the world’s largest internet market may be too good to resist. And the full scope of the company’s interest in China now appears to be broader than just internet search.
The latest hint came from Waymo, the driverless-car company that was spun out of Google in 2016. Chinese media noticed this week that the business had quietly registered a Shanghai subsidiary in May, suggesting that it wants a piece of an industry that the Chinese government has made a priority.
Unlike Google, Apple runs its own app store in China, heeding government directives about the kinds of apps that can be available to Chinese users. Microsoft and Amazon offer cloud computing services, working with local partners and following strict controls on how customers’ data is stored.
Baidu, maker of the country’s leading search engine, has made its autonomous-vehicle software platform available to dozens of local and foreign companies. SAIC Motor, China’s largest carmaker, is working with the e-commerce titan Alibaba. BMW and Daimler have received permission in China to test their own self-driving vehicles.
more on Google and China in this IMS blog
China’s first ‘fully homegrown’ web browser found to be Google Chrome clone
The startup’s founder has said that while Redcore is based on Google Chrome, it includes important independent innovations
China’s first ‘fully homegrown’ web browser found to be Google Chrome clone from technology
Vietnam’s battalions of ‘cyber-armies’ silencing online dissent from r/TechNewsToday
Vietnam‘s cyber-army, also known as Force 47, was deployed to counter the content on social media platforms deemed critical of the way the authorities handled the situation.
Vietnam’s Force 47 is run by the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) to hack anti-government websites and spread pro-government messages online, and is believed to be at least 10,000-strong.
Digital rights campaigners accuse Vietnam of attempting to replicate China’s “Great Firewall” by regulating and censoring the internet with the cybersecurity law.
Neither Google, which owns YouTube, nor Facebook has complied with the legislation, which requires the American tech giants to open local data storage facilities inside Vietnam by January 1.
Vietnam has a population of 96 million. With more than 60 million Facebook users, it is the platform’s one of the fastest-growing markets.
The Secretive Company That Might End Privacy as We Know It: It’s taken 3 billion images from the internet to build a an AI driven database that allows US law enforcement agencies identify any stranger. from r/Futurology
Until now, technology that readily identifies everyone based on his or her face has been taboo because of its radical erosion of privacy. Tech companies capable of releasing such a tool have refrained from doing so; in 2011, Google’s chairman at the time said it was the one technology the company had held back because it could be used “in a very bad way.” Some large cities, including San Francisco, have barred police from using facial
But without public scrutiny, more than 600 law enforcement agencies have started using Clearview in the past year, according to the company, which declined to provide a list. recognition technology.
Facial recognition technology has always been controversial. It makes people nervous about Big Brother. It has a tendency to deliver false matches for certain groups, like people of color. And some facial recognition products used by the police — including Clearview’s — haven’t been vetted by independent experts.
Clearview deployed current and former Republican officials to approach police forces, offering free trials and annual licenses for as little as $2,000. Mr. Schwartz tapped his political connections to help make government officials aware of the tool, according to Mr. Ton-That.
“We have no data to suggest this tool is accurate,” said Clare Garvie, a researcher at Georgetown University’s Center on Privacy and Technology, who has studied the government’s use of facial recognition. “The larger the database, the larger the risk of misidentification because of the doppelgänger effect. They’re talking about a massive database of random people they’ve found on the internet.”
Law enforcement is using a facial recognition app with huge privacy issues Clearview AI’s software can find matches in billions of internet images. from r/technology
Part of the problem stems from a lack of oversight. There has been no real public input into adoption of Clearview’s software, and the company’s ability to safeguard data hasn’t been tested in practice. Clearview itself remained highly secretive until late 2019.
The software also appears to explicitly violate policies at Facebook and elsewhere against collecting users’ images en masse.
while there’s underlying code that could theoretically be used for augmented reality glasses that could identify people on the street, Ton-That said there were no plans for such a design.
Banning Facial Recognition Isn’t Enough from r/technology
In May of last year, San Francisco banned facial recognition; the neighboring city of Oakland soon followed, as did Somerville and Brookline in Massachusetts (a statewide ban may follow). In December, San Diego suspended a facial recognition program in advance of a new statewide law, which declared it illegal, coming into effect. Forty major music festivals pledged not to use the technology, and activists are calling for a nationwide ban. Many Democratic presidential candidates support at least a partial ban on the technology.
facial recognition bans are the wrong way to fight against modern surveillance. Focusing on one particular identification method misconstrues the nature of the surveillance society we’re in the process of building. Ubiquitous mass surveillance is increasingly the norm. In countries like China, a surveillance infrastructure is being built by the government for social control. In countries like the United States, it’s being built by corporations in order to influence our buying behavior, and is incidentally used by the government.
People can be identified at a distance by their heart beat or by their gait, using a laser-based system. Cameras are so good that they can read fingerprints and iris patterns from meters away. And even without any of these technologies, we can always be identified because our smartphones broadcast unique numbers called MAC addresses.
China, for example, uses multiple identification technologies to support its surveillance state.
There is a huge — and almost entirely unregulated — data broker industry in the United States that trades on our information.
This is why many companies buy license plate data from states. It’s also why companies like Google are buying health records, and part of the reason Google bought the company Fitbit, along with all of its data.
The data broker industry is almost entirely unregulated; there’s only one law — passed in Vermont in 2018 — that requires data brokers to register and explain in broad terms what kind of data they collect.
The Secretive Company That Might End Privacy as We Know It from r/technews
Until now, technology that readily identifies everyone based on his or her face has been taboo because of its radical erosion of privacy. Tech companies capable of releasing such a tool have refrained from doing so; in 2011, Google’s chairman at the time said it was the one technology the company had held back because it could be used “in a very bad way.” Some large cities, including San Francisco, have barred police from using facial recognition technology.
on social credit system in this IMS blog
Recent reports have noted how companies use data gathered from cell towers, ambient Wi-Fi, and GPS. But the location data industry has a much more precise, and unobtrusive, tool: Bluetooth beacons.
Most people aren’t aware they are being watched with beacons, but the “beacosystem” tracks millions of people every day. Beacons are placed at airports, malls, subways, buses, taxis, sporting arenas, gyms, hotels, hospitals, music festivals, cinemas and museums, and even on billboards.
Companies like Reveal Mobile collect data from software development kits inside hundreds of frequently used apps. In the United States, another company, inMarket, covers 38 percent of millennial moms and about one-quarter of all smartphones, and tracks 50 million people each month. Other players have similar reach.
A Software Development Kit is code that’s inserted into an app and enables certain features, like activating your phone’s Bluetooth sensor. Location data companies create S.D.K.s and developers insert them into their apps, creating a conduit for recording and storing your movement data.
Beacons are also being used for smart cities initiatives. The location company Gimbal provided beacons for LinkNYC kiosks that provoked privacy concerns about tracking passers-by. Beacon initiatives have been started in other cities, including Amsterdam (in partnership with Google), London and Norwich.
Familiar tech giants are also players in the beacosystem. In 2015, Facebook began shipping free Facebook Bluetooth beacons to businesses for location marketing inside the Facebook app. Leaked documents show that Facebook worried that users would “freak out” and spread “negative memes” about the program. The company recently removed the Facebook Bluetooth beacons section from their website.
Not to be left out, in 2017, Google introduced Project Beacon and began sending beacons to businesses for use with Google Ads services. Google uses the beacons to send the businesses’ visitors notificationsthat ask them to leave photos and reviews, among other features. And last year, investigators at Quartz found that Google Android can track you using Bluetooth beacons even when you turn Bluetooth off in your phone.
Companies collecting micro-location data defend the practice by arguing that users can opt out of location services. They maintain that consumers embrace targeted ads because they’re more relevant.
You can download an app like Beacon Scanner and scan for beacons when you enter a store. But even if you detect the beacons, you don’t know who is collecting the data.
The Times’s guide on how to stop apps from tracking your location. For Android users, the F-Droid app store hosts free and open- source apps that do not spy on users with hidden trackers.
More on surveillance in this IMS Blog
Russia ‘successfully tests’ its unplugged internet
24 December 2019
“Increasingly, authoritarian countries which want to control what citizens see are looking at what Iran and China have already done.
“It means people will not have access to dialogue about what is going on in their own country, they will be kept within their own bubble.”
a “sovereign Runet”?
In Iran, the National Information Network allows access to web services while policing all content on the network and limiting external information. It is run by the state-owned Telecommunication Company of Iran.
One of the benefits of effectively turning all internet access into a government-controlled walled garden, is that virtual private networks (VPNs), often used to circumvent blocks, would not work.
Another example of this is the so-called Great Firewall of China. It blocks access to many foreign internet services, which in turn has helped several domestic tech giants establish themselves.
Russia already tech champions of its own, such as Yandex and Mail.Ru, but other local firms might also benefit.
The country plans to create its own Wikipedia and politicians have passed a bill that bans the sale of smartphones that do not have Russian software pre-installed.
Russia Is Considering An Experiment To Disconnect From The Internet
February 11, 20194:50 PM ET SASHA INGBER
Russia is considering a plan to temporarily disconnect from the Internet as a way to gauge how the country’s cyberdefenses would fare in the face of foreign aggression, according to Russian media.
It was introduced after the White House published its 2018 National Security Strategy, which attributed cyberattacks on the United States to Russia, China, Iran and North Korea.
Russia’s Communications Ministry also simulated a switching-off exercise of global Internet services in 2014, according to Russian outlet RT.
Russia’s State Duma will meet Tuesday to consider the bill, according to RIA Novosti.
Roskomnadzor has also exerted pressure on Google to remove certain sites on Russian searches.
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told Congress last month that Russia, as well as other foreign actors, will increasingly use cyber operations to “threaten both minds and machines in an expanding number of ways—to steal information, to influence our citizens, or to disrupt critical infrastructure.”
My note: In the past, the US actions prompted other countries to consider the same:
Germanty – https://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims/2014/07/01/privacy-and-surveillance-obama-advisor-john-podesta-every-country-has-a-history-of-going-over-the-line/
more on cybersecurity in this IMS blog
more on surveillance in this IMS blog
Chinese Facial Recognition Will Take over the World in 2019
Michael K. Spencer Jan 14, 2018
The best facial recognition startups are in China, by a long-shot. As their software is less biased, global adoption is occurring via their software. This is evidenced in 2019 by the New York Police department in NYC for example, according to the South China Morning Post.
The mass surveillance state of data harvesting in real-time is coming. Facebook already rates and profiles us.
The Tech Wars come down to an AI-War
Whether the NYC police angle is true or not (it’s being hotly disputed), Facebook and Google are thinking along lines that follow the whims of the Chinese Government.
SenseTime and Megvii won’t just be worth $5 Billion, they will be worth many times that in the future. This is because a facial recognition data-harvesting of everything is the future of consumerism and capitalism, and in some places, the central tenet of social order (think Asia).
China has already ‘won’ the trade-war, because its winning the race to innovation. America doesn’t regulate Amazon, Microsoft, Google or Facebook properly, that stunts innovation and ethics in technology where the West is now forced to copy China just to keep up.
more about facial recognition in schools
Can We Please Stop Talking About Generations as if They Are a Thing?
Millennials are not all narcissists and boomers are not inherently selfish. The research on generations is flawed.
APRIL 13, 2018 9:00 AM
SIVA VAIDHYANATHAN, 2008. https://www.chronicle.com/article/Generational-Myth/32491 Generational Myth
My note: Siva raised this issue from a sociologist point of view as soon as in 2008. Before him, Prensky’s “digitally natives” ideas was already criticized.
Howe and Strauss; Millennials books contributed to the overgeneralizations. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strauss%E2%80%93Howe_generational_theory
We spend a lot of time debating the characteristics of generations—are baby boomers really selfish and entitled, are millennials really narcissists, and the latest, has the next generation (whatever it is going to be called) already been ruined by cellphones? Many academics—and many consultants—argue that generations are distinct and that organizations, educators, and even parents need to accommodate them. These classifications are often met with resistance from those they supposedly represent, as most people dislike being represented by overgeneralizations, and these disputes only fuel the debate around this contentious topic.
In short, the science shows that generations are not a thing.
It is important to be clear what not a thing means. It does not mean that people today are the same as people 80 years ago or that anything else is static. Times change and so do people. However, the idea that distinct generations capture and represent these changes is unsupported.
What is a generation? Those who promote the concept define it as a group of people who are roughly the same age and who were influenced by a set of significant events. These experiences supposedly create commonalities, making those in the group more similar to each other and more different from other groups now and from groups of the same age in the past.
In line with the definition, there is a commonly held perception that people growing up around the same time and in the same place must have some sort of universally shared set of experiences and characteristics. It helps that the idea of generations intuitively makes sense. But the science does not support it. In fact, most of the research findings showing distinct generations are explained by other causes, have serious scientific flaws, or both.
For example, millennials score lower on job satisfaction than Gen Xers, but are millennials really a less satisfied generation? Early in their careers, Xers were also less satisfied than baby boomers.
Numerous books, articles, and pundits have claimed that millennials are much more narcissistic than young people in the past.
on average, millennials are no more narcissistic now than Xers or boomers were when they were in their 20s, and one study has even found they might be less so than generations past. While millennials today may be more narcissistic than Xers or boomers are today, that is because young people are pretty narcissistic regardless of when they are young. This too is an age effect.
Final example. Research shows that millennials joining the Army now show more pride in their service than boomers or Xers did when they joined 20-plus years ago. Is this a generational effect? Nope. Everyone in the military now shows more pride on average than 20 years ago because of 9/11. The terrorist attack increased military pride across the board. This is known as a period effect and it doesn’t have anything to do with generations.
Another problem—identifying true generational effects is methodologically very hard. The only way to do it would be to collect data from multiple longitudinal panels. Individuals in the first panel would be measured at the start of the study and then in subsequent years with new panels added every year thereafter, allowing assessment of whether people were changing because they were getting older (age effects), because of what was happening around them (period effects), or because of their generation (cohort effects). Unfortunately, such data sets pretty much do not exist. Thus, we’re never really able to determine why a change occurred.
According to one national-culture model, people from the United States are, on average, relatively individualistic, indulgent, and uncomfortable with hierarchical order.
My note: RIchard Nisbett sides with Hofstede and Minkov: https://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims/2016/06/14/cultural-differences/
Conversely, people from China are generally group-oriented, restrained, and comfortable with hierarchy. However, these countries are so large and diverse that they each have millions of individuals who are more similar to the “averages” of the other country than to their own.
Given these design and data issues, it is not surprising that researchers have tried a variety of different statistical techniques to massage (aka torture) the data in an attempt to find generational differences. Studies showing generational differences have used statistical techniques like analysis of variance (ANOVA) and cross-temporal meta-analysis (CTMA), neither of which is capable of actually attributing the differences to generations.
The statistical challenge derives from the problem we have already raised—generations (i.e., cohorts) are defined by age and period. As such, mathematically separating age, period, and cohort effects is very difficult because they are inherently confounded with one another. Their linear dependency creates what is known as an identification problem, and unless one has access to multiple longitudinal panels like I described above, it is impossible to statistically isolate the unique effect of any one factor.
First, relying on flawed generational science leads to poor advice and bad decisions. An analogy: Women live longer than men, on average. Why? They engage in fewer risky behaviors, take better care of themselves, and have two X chromosomes, giving them backups in case of mutations. But if you are a man and you go to the doctor and ask how to live longer, she doesn’t tell you, “Be a woman.” She says eat better, exercise, and don’t do stupid stuff. Knowing the why guides the recommendation.
Now imagine you are a manager trying to retain your supposedly job-hopping, commitment-averse millennial employees and you know that Xers and boomers are less likely to leave their jobs. If you are that manager, you wouldn’t tell your millennial employees to “be a boomer” or “grow older” (nor would you decide to hire boomers or Xers rather than millennials—remember that individuals vary within populations). Instead, you should focus on addressing benefits, work conditions, and other factors that are reasons for leaving.
Second, this focus on generational distinctions wastes resources. Take the millennials-as-commitment-averse-job-hoppers stereotype. Based on this belief, consultants sell businesses on how to recruit and retain this mercurial generation. But are all (or even most) millennials job-hopping commitment avoiders? Survey research shows that millennials and Xers at the same point in their careers are equally likely to stay with their current employer for five or more years (22 percent v. 21.8 percent). It makes no sense for organizations to spend time and money changing HR policies when employees are just as likely to stick around today as they were 15 years ago.
Third, generations perpetuate stereotyping. Ask millennials if they are narcissistic job-hoppers and most of them will rightly be offended. Treat boomers like materialistic achievement seekers and see how it affects their work quality and commitment. We finally are starting to recognize that those within any specific group of people are varied individuals, and we should remember those same principles in this context too. We are (mostly) past it being acceptable to stereotype and discriminate against women, minorities, and the disabled. Why is it OK to do so to millennials or boomers?
The solutions are fairly straightforward, albeit challenging, to implement. To start, we need to focus on the why when talking about whether groups of people differ. The reasons why any generation should be different have only been generally discussed, and the theoretical mechanism that supposedly creates generations has not been fully fleshed out.
Next, we need to quit using these nonsensical generations labels, because they don’t mean anything. The start and end years are somewhat arbitrary anyway. The original conceptualization of social generations started with a biological generational interval of about 20 years, which historians, sociologists and demographers (for one example, see Strauss and Howe, 1991) then retrofitted with various significant historical events that defined the period.
The problem with this is twofold. First, such events do not occur in nice, neat 20-year intervals. Second, not everyone agrees on what the key events were for each generation, so the start and end dates also move around depending on what people think they were. One review found that start and end dates for boomers, Xers, and millennials varied by as many as nine years, and often four to five, depending on the study and the researcher. As with the statistical problem, how can distinct generations be a thing if simply defining when they start and when they end varies so much from study to study?
In the end, the core scientific problem is that the pop press, consultants, and even some academics who are committed to generations don’t focus on the whys. They have a vested interest in selling the whats (Generation Me has reportedly sold more than 115,000 copies, and Google “generations consultants” and see how many firms are dedicated to promulgating these distinctions), but without the science behind them, any prescriptions are worthless or even harmful
David Costanza is an associate professor of organizational sciences at George Washington University and a senior consortium fellow for the U.S. Army Research Institute. He researches, teaches, and consults in the areas of generations, leadership, culture, and organizational performance.
more on the topic in this IMS blog
China’s NetDragon to Acquire Edmodo for $137.5 Million
NetDragon Websoft, a publicly-traded company based in Fuzhou, China, has agreed to pay $137.5 million for Edmodo.
The deal could mark the beginning of the end for the “free” model of education technology, at least for standalone education companies without other strong revenue streams to support them.
Edmodo was started in 2008 by a teacher and IT support person as a “Facebook-like” community aimed at connecting educators with students and with one another. Also like Facebook, Edmodo grew rapidly. Currently, the company, now based in San Mateo, Calif., claims more than 90 million registered users (both teachers and students) in 400,000 schools across 192 countries.
Edmodo struggled, however, to find a business model that would support its burgeoning community. It raised close to $100 million in funding, and began seeking another round last year. The company had shifted to an advertising-based model—although one in which the company was trying to move carefully and respect its audience of teachers and students.
According to a financial statement published by NetDragon, Edmodo lost $19.5 million in 2017, based on revenue of approximately $1 million.
That seems to be an increasingly popular path. A decade ago, the big education companies were traditional textbook providers such as Pearson. Now the most powerful players are technology companies that offer devices and software. At the top of the list: Google, which supports Chromebooks as well as Google Classroom, and Apple, which sells iPads, Macs and now the Schoolwork app.
By contrast, NetDragon began in 1999 and built its initial financial muscle with games. It has, however, long identified education as one of its top areas of interest. Recently the company has begun purchasing education technology assets at a rapid clip. In 2015, NetDragon paid approximately $130 million to acquire U.K.-based interactive whiteboard maker, Promethean, which gave it a hardware-based entry into classrooms.
The company, which refers to the hardware as “interactive panels,” is equipping 13,000 classrooms in Moscow with digital whiteboards.
Last year, NetDragon also acquired JumpStart, an educational game company behind iconic titles including Math Blaster. And earlier this year, it bought Sokikom, an online game-based math program.
more about Edmodo in this IMS blog
Caldwell, C. (April, 2017). Sending Jobs Overseas. CRB, 27(2).
Caldwell’s book review of
Baldwin, Richard E. The Great Convergence: Information Technology and the New Globalization. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2016. not at SCSU library, available through ILL (https://mplus.mnpals.net/vufind/Record/008770850/Hold?item_id=MSU50008770850000010&id=008770850&hashKey=cff0a018a46178d4d3208ac449d86c4e#tabnav)
Globalization’s cheerleaders, from Columbia University economist Jagdish Bhagwati to New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, made arguments from classical economics: by buying manufactured products from people overseas who made them cheaper than we did, the United States could get rich concentrating on product design, marketing, and other lucrative services. That turned out to be a mostly inaccurate description of how globalism would work in the developed world, as mainstream politicians everywhere are now discovering.
Certain skeptics, including polymath author Edward Luttwak and Harvard economist Dani Rodrik, put forward a better account. In his 1998 book Turbo-Capitalism, Luttwak gave what is still the most succinct and accurate reading of the new system’s economic consequences. “It enriches industrializing poor countries, impoverishes the semi-affluent majority in rich countries, and greatly adds to the incomes of the top 1 percent on both sides who are managing the arbitrage.”
In The Great Convergence, Richard Baldwin, an economist at the Graduate Institute in Geneva, gives us an idea why, over the past generation, globalization’s benefits have been so hard to explain and its damage so hard to diagnose.
We have had “globalization,” in the sense of far-flung trade, for centuries now.
ut around 1990, the cost of sharing information at a distance fell dramatically. Workers on complex projects no longer had to cluster in the same factory, mill town, or even country. Other factors entered in. Tariffs fell. The rise of “Global English” as a common language of business reduced the cost of moving information (albeit at an exorbitant cost in culture). “Containerization” (the use of standard-sized shipping containers across road, rail, and sea transport) made packing and shipping predictable and helped break the world’s powerful longshoremen’s unions. Active “pro-business” political reforms did the rest.
Far-flung “global value chains” replaced assembly lines. Corporations came to do some of the work of governments, because in the free-trade climate imposed by the U.S., they could play governments off against one another. Globalization is not about nations anymore. It is not about products. And the most recent elections showed that it has not been about people for a long time. No, it is about tasks.
his means a windfall for what used to be called the Third World. More than 600 million people have been pulled out of dire poverty. They can get richer by building parts of things.
The competition that globalization has created for manufacturing has driven the value-added in manufacturing down close to what we would think of as zilch. The lucrative work is in the design and the P.R.—the brainy, high-paying stuff that we still get to do.
But only a tiny fraction of people in any society is equipped to do lucrative brainwork. In all Western societies, the new formula for prosperity is inconsistent with the old formula for democracy.
One of these platitudes is that all nations gain from trade. Baldwin singles out Harvard professor and former George W. Bush Administration economic adviser Gregory Mankiw, who urged passage of the Obama Administration mega-trade deals TPP and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) on the grounds that America should “work in those industries in which we have an advantage compared with other nations, and we should import from abroad those goods that can be produced more cheaply there.”
That was a solid argument 200 years ago, when the British economist David Ricardo developed modern doctrines of trade. In practical terms, it is not always solid today. What has changed is the new mobility of knowledge. But knowledge is a special commodity. It can be reused. Several people can use it at the same time. It causes people to cluster in groups, and tends to grow where those groups have already clustered.
When surgeries involved opening the patient up like a lobster or a peapod, the doctor had to be in physical contact with a patient. New arthroscopic processes require the surgeon to guide cutting and cauterizing tools by computer. That computer did not have to be in the same room. And if it did not, why did it have to be in the same country? In 2001, a doctor in New York performed surgery on a patient in Strasbourg. In a similar way, the foreman on the American factory floor could now coordinate production processes in Mexico. Each step of the production process could now be isolated, and then offshored. This process, Baldwin writes, “broke up Team America by eroding American labor’s quasi-monopoly on using American firms’ know-how.”
To explain why the idea that all nations win from trade isn’t true any longer, Baldwin returns to his teamwork metaphor. In the old Ricardian world that most policymakers still inhabit, the international economy could be thought of as a professional sports league. Trading goods and services resembled trading players from one team to another. Neither team would carry out the deal unless it believed it to be in its own interests. Nowadays, trade is more like an arrangement by which the manager of the better team is allowed to coach the lousier one in his spare time.
Vietnam, which does low-level assembly of wire harnesses for Honda. This does not mean Vietnam has industrialized, but nations like it no longer have to.
In the work of Thomas Friedman and other boosters you find value chains described as kaleidoscopic, complex, operating in a dozen different countries. Those are rare. There is less to “global value chains” than meets the eye. Most of them, Baldwin shows, are actually regional value chains. As noted, they exist on the periphery of the United States, Europe, or Japan. In this, offshoring resembles the elaborate international transactions that Florentine bankers under the Medicis engaged in for the sole purpose of avoiding church strictures on moneylending.
One way of describing outsourcing is as a verdict on the pay structure that had arisen in the West by the 1970s: on trade unions, prevailing-wage laws, defined-benefit pension plans, long vacations, and, more generally, the power workers had accumulated against their bosses.
In 1993, during the first month of his presidency, Bill Clinton outlined some of the promise of a world in which “the average 18-year-old today will change jobs seven times in a lifetime.” How could anyone ever have believed in, tolerated, or even wished for such a thing? A person cannot productively invest the resources of his only life if he’s going to be told every five years that everything he once thought solid has melted into ait.
The more so since globalization undermines democracy, in the ways we have noted. Global value chains are extraordinarily delicate. They are vulnerable to shocks. Terrorists have discovered this. In order to work, free-trade systems must be frictionless and immune to interruption, forever. This means a program of intellectual property protection, zero tariffs, and cross-border traffic in everything, including migrants. This can be assured only in a system that is veto-proof and non-consultative—in short, undemocratic.
Sheltered from democracy, the economy of the free trade system becomes more and more a private space.
Caldwell, C. (2014, November). Twilight of Democracy. CRB, 14(4).
Caldwell’s book review of
Fukuyama, Francis. The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011. SCSU Library: https://mplus.mnpals.net/vufind/Record/007359076 Call Number: JC11 .F85 2011
Fukuyama’s first volume opened with China’s mandarin bureaucracy rather than the democracy of ancient Athens, shifting the methods of political science away from specifically Western intellectual genealogies and towards anthropology. Nepotism and favor-swapping are man’s basic political motivations, as Fukuyama sees it. Disciplining those impulses leads to effective government, but “repatrimonialization”—the capture of government by private interests—threatens whenever vigilance is relaxed. Fukuyama’s new volume, which describes political order since the French Revolution, extends his thinking on repatrimonialization, from the undermining of meritocratic bureaucracy in Han China through the sale of offices under France’s Henri IV to the looting of foreign aid in post-colonial Zaire. Fukuyama is convinced that the United States is on a similar path of institutional decay.
Political philosophy asks which government is best for man. Political science asks which government is best for government. Political decline, Fukuyama insists, is not the same thing as civilizational collapse.
Fukuyama is not the first to remark that wars can spur government efficiency—even if front-line soldiers are the last to benefit from it.
Relative to the smooth-running systems of northwestern Europe, American bureaucracy has been a dud, riddled with corruption from the start and resistant to reform. Patronage—favors for individual cronies and supporters—has thrived.
Clientelism is an ambiguous phenomenon: it is bread and circuses, it is race politics, it is doing favors for special classes of people. Clientelism is both more democratic and more systemically corrupting than the occasional nepotistic appointment.
why modern mass liberal democracy has developed on clientelistic lines in the U.S. and meritocratic ones in Europe. In Europe, democracy, when it came, had to adapt itself to longstanding pre-democratic institutions, and to governing elites that insisted on established codes and habits. Where strong states precede democracy (as in Germany), bureaucracies are efficient and uncorrupt. Where democracy precedes strong states (as in the United States but also Greece and Italy), government can be viewed by the public as a piñata.
Fukuyama contrasts the painstaking Japanese development of Taiwan a century ago with the mess that the U.S. Congress, “eager to impose American models of government on a society they only dimly understood,” was then making of the Philippines. It is not surprising that Fukuyama was one of the most eloquent conservative critics of the U.S. invasion of Iraq from the very beginning.
What distinguishes once-colonized Vietnam and China and uncolonized Japan and Korea from these Third World basket cases is that the East Asian lands “all possess competent, high-capacity states,” in contrast to sub-Saharan Africa, which “did not possess strong state-level institutions.”
Fukuyama does not think ethnic homogeneity is a prerequisite for successful politics
the United States “suffers from the problem of political decay in a more acute form than other democratic political systems.” It has kept the peace in a stagnant economy only by dragooning women into the workplace and showering the working and middle classes with credit.
public-sector unions have colluded with the Democratic Party to make government employment more rewarding for those who do it and less responsive to the public at large. In this sense, government is too big. But he also believes that cutting taxes on the rich in hopes of spurring economic growth has been a fool’s errand, and that the beneficiaries of deregulation, financial and otherwise, have grown to the point where they have escaped bureaucratic control altogether. In this sense, government is not big enough.
Washington, as Fukuyama sees it, is a patchwork of impotence and omnipotence—effective where it insists on its prerogatives, ineffective where it has been bought out. The unpredictable results of democratic oversight have led Americans to seek guidance in exactly the wrong place: the courts, which have both exceeded and misinterpreted their constitutional responsibilities. the almost daily insistence of courts that they are liberating people by removing discretion from them gives American society a Soviet cast.
“Effective modern states,” he writes, “are built around technical expertise, competence, and autonomy.”
Williams, J. (2017, May). The Dumb Politics of Elite Condescension. NYT
the sociologists Richard Sennett and Jonathan Cobb call the “hidden injuries of class.” These are dramatized by a recent employment study, in which the sociologists Lauren A. Rivera and Andras Tilcsik sent 316 law firms résumés with identical and impressive work and academic credentials, but different cues about social class. The study found that men who listed hobbies like sailing and listening to classical music had a callback rate 12 times higher than those of men who signaled working-class origins, by mentioning country music, for example.
Politically, the biggest “hidden injury” is the hollowing out of the middle class in advanced industrialized countries. For two generations after World War II, working-class whites in the United States enjoyed a middle-class standard of living, only to lose it in recent decades.
The college-for-all experiment did not work. Two-thirds of Americans are not college graduates. We need to continue to make college more accessible, but we also need to improve the economic prospects of Americans without college degrees.
the United States has a well-documented dearth of workers qualified for middle-skill jobs that pay $40,000 or more a year and require some postsecondary education but not a college degree. A 2014 report by Accenture, Burning Glass Technologies and Harvard Business School found that a lack of adequate middle-skills talent affects the productivity of “47 percent of manufacturing companies, 35 percent of health care and social assistance companies, and 21 percent of retail companies.”
Skillful, a partnership among the Markle Foundation, LinkedIn and Colorado, is one initiative pointing the way. Skillful helps provide marketable skills for job seekers without college degrees and connects them with employers in need of middle-skilled workers in information technology, advanced manufacturing and health care. For more information, see my other IMS blog entries, such as: https://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims/2017/01/11/credly-badges-on-canvas/