Hypocrisy is a hallmark of politics, but the recent round of vitriol spewed at tech companies has provided some particularly egregious examples. If members of Congress are "sickened" by business between China and the likes of Google, Yahoo, Cisco and Microsoft, then they should be taking a similarly hard line on the thousands of retail companies that import merchandise from the country.
The fact is that U.S. politicians are loath to take any action that would disrupt the steady stream of inexpensively priced goods made in China that American consumers now take for granted, despite perennial complaints of sweatshop labor and other human rights abuses among the masses that manufacture those products. And if they're concerned about America's place in the global economy, these politicians should also realize that many technology companies--like brick-and-mortar businesses--have staked their futures on growth in China and the rest of Asia.
The bottom line? On issues ranging from software to business, this week's showmanship on Capitol Hill simply proved once again that Washington still doesn't understand technology.
Blog community response:
"Several companies have said they would welcome legislation that would hold U.S. companies to common ethical standards. So now I hope that American corporations will engage with lawmakers to craft the most effective legislation that enables them to do good while still doing business."
"As technology improves, it will become harder and harder to suppress political freedom. Can China stop political freedom now that they've opened up to economic freedom?"
"The solution is for Congress to get off its collective tushy and pass laws. Or better yet, go to the WTO and claim that China is restraining trade by blocking American Internet companies from its markets by erecting unfair barriers to entry. But don't blame the execs. They are far more accountable to their shareholders than to Chinese dissidents."