Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Is Google Evil?

Google has agreed to censor results for the China based portal which it has just rolled out.

I started to get upset about it then I considered it a little more. There is no reason at all to be upset by this. If anything it is cause for at least mild celebration. I'm not naive, Google is operating on a pure profit motive. The effects of their motive (call it greed if it makes you feel better) could bring China closer to being a more open and free society.

Some might say that commerce is the engine that drives war. Indeed there has been much fighting over trade routes, high tariffs, outright bans on goods from other countries etc. Most wars fought in the name of commerce are like most religious wars; a pretext. Entrepreneurs, left alone by government and unable to appeal to government to restrict their competition will find ways of making money. They generally don't care about race, religion, borders, ethnicity, culture or ideology as it relates to commerce. Merchants don't fight wars though they sometimes urge governments to do it for them. What those people generally don't understand is that the same government fighting for them today will punish them tomorrow when a stronger lobby get the ear of the government. A properly limited government will not (should not) have the power to prosecute a war for any other reason than a direct physical threat to the nation. That's idealistic I know, but if we strive for the ideal, we'll get closer to it.

The Chinese government is losing control of it's tight reins on the people through the sheer volume of information available to them. They can NEVER fully control it. Let them try. It might take another 10 to 20 years, but China must adopt the traits of a free society if they want to survive. I can not tell what form that will take but it can only be better than what they have.

The 2008 Summer Olympics are going to be in China and that will force them to at least put on a good face and clean up their act. The Chinese people are going to be quite upset after the stadiums are empty and the people have gone home when the government attempts to wrest control from the people it allowed an illusion of liberty to. After the Olympics (perhaps during) when the government is bragging about what Communism has done for the Olympics, we could see an event that will make Tienanmen Square look like a bake sale.

Information, commerce and a small taste of liberty are the things revolution are made of. If China does manage to throw off the yoke of communism and embrace a semblance of democracy or republicanism, Americans will be flooding their shores looking for adventure and profit.