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Before the Commercial Break…

Poking around this morning, doing my usual routine of making some french press from my favorite place down in Fremont (no, this is not an ad, but I am not afraid to advertise for local business), I came across “sponsor content” in The Atlantic advertising the coronation of China as “one nation shaping the world economy.”

Granted the sponsor is Cathay Pacific, a commercial airliner based out of Hong Kong, but the message and the images were a little confusing.  First, there is the banner (shown left) with a picture of the Pudong District of Shanghai in the background with the sun rising over the horizon.  That dreamy effect in the photo isn’t the morning dew evaporating; that’s just smog looming over the city.  But never mind that.  Remember, “one nation shaping the world economy.”

Again, the Atlantic and Cathay Pacific are being above-board about it, but in the margins next to the anonymous analysis is an interview with Atlantic writer James Fallows who recently penned China Airborne (great book by the way).  And it gets a little dicey from there…

In a section about China’s efforts to foster a culture of innovation and transform its economy into one based on innovation, the unknown author attempts to spin intellectual property right (IPR) theft as innovation.  Quoting author Dan Breznitz from a New York Times blog from almost a year ago, that “China’s companies are extremely efficient at creating new versions, often simpler, cheaper and more efficient, of technologies and products shortly after they are invented and marketed elsewhere in the world.”  I realize there are some divergent views about IPR piracy these days, but I would not necessarily uphold the belief that their economy is transforming based on the fact that they’ve innovated to make theft a legitimate business.  Though, according to Breznitz and his book, I guess they are getting rather good at it.

Maybe my jingoistic proclivities are showing again, but I was a little offended by the last paragraph. It emphasizes how, whatever the conclusions of the debate over their progress, China’s gaining market share in a whole host of industries.  It was sort of like a veiled threat.  Roll over and take it because it’s happening.

And now for my version of blatant nationalism…

George Washington


About Yogi (Surrender Kumar)

I'm hard to nail down at any given time and I'm a lot of things to a lot of people. I converse about Asia and technology, but my real passion is food, which is why I'm Yogi the Bear is my avatar. Future new media streams are in the works and will be added as soon as they become available.

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