Sunday, November 20, 2011
When China meets the west, the river turns its current a new direction.
These once proud monarchies and democracies beckon at the every sneeze of a socialist market economy.
What everyone seem to ignore, however, is the once colonists nations—the ones to introduce industrialization to their own lands and found cheaper labors and less demanding regulatory environments to do their dirty work, now faces an invariable irony: the world is running out of these places with cheap labors and uncaring residents suffering environmental injustice silently— the world can no longer suffer exploitations. Profit models have to be restructured, laws rewritten to fit this changing modern world. That is the $64 dollar question: how are laws changed and enforced in light of this transition of power between the once exploitive to the once exploited? What happens to the old world laws when the new world of the masses, the world of the poor—of the 99%, take over global redistribution of wealth, equality, and justice?
I take intellectual property as an example here. For thousands of years, China lacked the concept of intellectual property protection. Ideas and the exchange of ideas are free and encouraged in the deeply Confucius culture. No one achieved the status of a monopoly, except the emperor—son of haven. This was a relatively stable environment and did not impede the spirit of innovation as some capitalist world argue resting the creative forces of man kind simply on the drive for profit. No, China was once prosperous-having invented many technologies that moved the world. Paper, printing, gunpowder, compass, and the list goes on; China never thought to protect this thing called “intellectual property” until the world of corporate interests and monopoly interests so demanded it.
The enforcers runs into problems: at the local provincial level, where the rubber of the proverbial tire meets the road, the people sees intellectual property as they have always seen—the free and unassociated ideas that will be bought and sold to make their living and feed their hungry children. The provincial leadership and judiciary yield to this powerful interests—it is the interests of the masses, of the 99%.
As the river runs 30 years to the east, we see a convergence of rule of law problems in China preserving the monopoly rights over intellectual properties of corporate interests. While we scream rule of law fouls, we forget the river is running their way and their poor now demands a change of fundamental ontology.