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China's All-Seeing Eye 358

Posted by kdawson
from the market-stalinism dept.
krou writes "Naomi Klein writes in Rolling Stone Magazine about China's Panopticon-like experiment called 'Golden Shield' taking place in Shenzhen using technology supplied by companies such as IBM, Honeywell, and General Electric. Klein writes: 'Chinese citizens will be watched around the clock through networked CCTV cameras and remote monitoring of computers. They will be listened to on their phone calls, monitored by digital voice-recognition technologies. Their Internet access will be aggressively limited through the country's notorious system of online controls known as the "Great Firewall." Their movements will be tracked through national ID cards with scannable computer chips and photos that are instantly uploaded to police databases and linked to their holder's personal data.' According to Klein, this is more than just a Chinese experiment, it's also one that holds ramifications for America and elsewhere: '...the most efficient delivery system for capitalism is actually a communist-style police state... The global corporations currently earning superprofits from this social experiment are unlikely to be content if the lucrative new market remains confined to cities such as Shenzhen. Like everything else assembled in China with American parts, Police State 2.0 is ready for export to a neighborhood near you.'"
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China's All-Seeing Eye

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  • Re:Bla bla bla (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 02, 2008 @12:54AM (#23623257)

    "Bla bla bla... capitalist this... panopticon that... bla bla bla." Rolling Stone magazine? Give me a break.
    Excellent argument, so good that it does not and have to touch any of the issues raised by rolling stone magazine. (Even rolling stone magazine have published many good and informative article with regards to politics). Truely blah blah blah
  • Re:Bla bla bla (Score:5, Insightful)

    by commodoresloat (172735) * on Monday June 02, 2008 @12:55AM (#23623263)

    Rolling Stone magazine? Give me a break.
    Despite its counterculture reputation and its focus as a music/gossip magazine, Rolling Stone is consistently one of the better sources of news analysis available. This article is an excellent example of that, if you actually bother to read it (and it has already generated quite a bit of attention outside of slashdot, whether or not you agree with Klein's political leanings). An even finer example, IMHO, is Wallace-Wells' critique of the war on drugs [rollingstone.com].
  • 1984 Quote (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EEPROMS (889169) on Monday June 02, 2008 @12:58AM (#23623279)
    "And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed--if all records told the same tale--then the lie passed into history and became truth. 'Who controls the past' ran the Party slogan, 'controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.'"
  • by sweet_petunias_full_ (1091547) on Monday June 02, 2008 @01:03AM (#23623305)

    This is how this Golden Shield will work: Chinese citizens will be watched around the clock through networked CCTV cameras and remote monitoring of computers. They will be listened to on their phone calls, monitored by digital voice-recognition technologies. Their Internet access will be aggressively limited through the country's notorious system of online controls known as the "Great Firewall." Their movements will be tracked through national ID cards with scannable computer chips and photos that are instantly uploaded to police databases and linked to their holder's personal data. This is the most important element of all: linking all these tools together in a massive, searchable database of names, photos, residency information, work history and biometric data. When Golden Shield is finished, there will be a photo in those databases for every person in China: 1.3 billion faces.


    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I see nothing in the above that we're not already doing here or have announced that we will be doing soon. And the amazing thing is this really big giant coincidence that it's also happening everywhere else. What gives? It's like a world government has been instituted or something.

  • by NoobixCube (1133473) on Monday June 02, 2008 @01:12AM (#23623371) Journal
    It's nothing to do with them being Communists. Actually, if they were to do something with Communist motivation, it would be feeding the poor. This is more about stamping out sedition. Something any government could do, completely separate from their political style.
  • by squidinkcalligraphy (558677) on Monday June 02, 2008 @01:24AM (#23623421)
    With due respect, this article isn't about a totalitarian state that watches it's citizens; it's about the fact that US companies are the one's who are making it possible.
  • by ushering05401 (1086795) on Monday June 02, 2008 @01:27AM (#23623439) Journal
    "Be your own news source, instead of settling for second-hand sensationalism."

    So you are suggesting that once we succeed at being our own news source we keep that info to ourselves? If I chose Rolling Stone to disseminate the information I gathered firsthand it would immediately be devalued?

    The RS article is old news, all of which I have seen reported elsewhere in recent weeks, but I fail to see how it is counterproductive to publicize the evolution of surveillance states.

    On a side note, Rolling Stone being a glossy mag came about as a nod to the power of photojournalism in popular culture. There are anthologies published of RS photos and they hold significant historical and artistic value. As a disclaimer, I haven't been interested enough in pop culture to actually pick up an issue in years, but that doesn't mean the value isn't still there for others.
  • Re:Bla bla bla (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Davemania (580154) on Monday June 02, 2008 @01:29AM (#23623459) Journal
    I am a bit dumbfounded by your approach to reading article. You need trust to read something ? What happened to critical anaylsis. I think most "reasonable" people will read an article and analysis the content of the article rather than taking the content on blind faith. You've basically judged an article simply by the publisher without even considering any of the issues brought up from the article. It seems the question isn't whether you should trust it or not, its whether you can make an informed judgment, and it doesn't seem you can.
  • by gregbot9000 (1293772) <mckinleg@csusb.edu> on Monday June 02, 2008 @01:32AM (#23623479) Journal
    And it's not Capitalist, it's a wonderful halfway point called fascist.

    From TFA: "Remember how we've always been told that free markets and free people go hand in hand? That was a lie. It turns out that the most efficient delivery system for capitalism is actually a communist-style police state"

    Free markets require the freedom to chose without coercion in order to be efficient for everyone involved. China does not have a free market. The transactions are not efficient for the low man on the totem pole, namely the worker. China is fascist, and the country is a giant form of monopoly that has huge profit margins by manipulating the labor supply and the rights afforded to individuals to drive down costs. Just because China is having huge profits does not mean they are more efficient.

    A lot of people will go on about the horrible violation to civil liberties all of these things China does are, but no one ever talks about the horrible damage these things do to the economic well being of the country.
    China IS going to undergo serious reform or revolution. It won't be possible to maintain any level of efficiency without the proper rule of law or a Meritocracy. China WILL become more efficient once more people start demanding a larger share, and the only way they can do this is through greater representation and markets, markets that need informed consumers who are not being forced to act against their best interests.
    All successful revolutions have come from the middle to upper class capitalists who are feed up with kings and lords ruling by mandate cutting into their bottom line. China is no different.
    From TFA "With political unrest on the rise across China, the government hopes to use the surveillance shield to identify and counteract dissent before it explodes into a mass movement"
    If someone is dissenting that means there is something that needs to be changed. That is the best example of why china, like the USSR, will hit a standard of living wall. Efficiency requires freedom.
  • Re:Bla bla bla (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Concerned Onlooker (473481) on Monday June 02, 2008 @01:47AM (#23623555) Homepage Journal
    When you reduce Thompson to "a sensationalist" I suddenly take you far less seriously. Yes, he had outrageous style but he was a trenchant observer.
  • To see the illogic of this, all one has to do is see that the countries that are the freest also tend to be the most capitalistic.
    Interesting assertion, but somewhat meaningless until you can quantify freedom.
  • by demachina (71715) on Monday June 02, 2008 @02:23AM (#23623729)
    "that modern China represents a form of authoritarian capitalism whose efficiency is quite remarkable"

    I think its open to debate if China is remarkable for its "efficiency". It mostly just has lots of cheap labor, no labor unions and very weak pollution and safety regulation which means its a cheap place to do things like manufacturing. There are quite a few things working against its economic efficiency.

    A. The party officials that run the place are extremely corrupt. Corruption is good for business only if it swings your way. If it swings against you, or for your competition it is quite bad for business, and the unpredictability of corruption is especially bad for business.

    B. The legal frameworks in the country are extremely poor. This is a plus if you ware a bootlegger ripping off your competition's product, its not so good if your IP and products are the ones being ripped off.

    C. Not sure exactly why but China did apparently pass new labor laws around the first of the year and they undid some of the slave labor aspects of being a worker in China. Workers did actually get some rights under the new laws and it appears they are going to cause a significant spike in the cost of labor, along with the simple fact labor isn't as abundant in China as it once was. This along with a number of other factors is causing wage inflation and making China less and less attractive to Capitalism. The factors that made China boom can also work against it and lead to a bust and for the boom to move elsewhere.

    D. China's one child policy is starting to cause a severe shortage of young workers since it began in 1979. Their population is going to start become senior citizen heavy like Japan and the U.S. which has a lot of negative economic consequences. Most older workers can't stand the dormitories and 6-7 day work weeks in China's factories so as the young labor pool drops its going to hammer their sweat shop manufacturing industries.

    E. Censorship might have its positives in that it helps eliminate dissent but it also means you can do some incredibly stupid stuff and get away with it because you can suppress knowledge of your stupidity. A free press and a free Internet can server a useful purpose in that it can eventually expose corruption, incompetence and stupidity and led to corrective action if the press and freedom of speech works. For example in the U.S. the free press went dysfunctional after 9/11 and untold stupidity was perpetrated by the Bush administration like the war in Iraq, torture and domestic spying. The press still isn't very healthy but America has started to throw the Republican's out of power for their incompetence, though the Democrats are much of an improvement. In China is if the ruling party turns bad, there are no alternatives except for changing one set of Communist party leaders for another in an internal power struggle.

    F. The spiking cost of oil is suddenly starting to work against globalization. Not sure how accurate it is but someone on CNBC said the cost to ship a container from China to the U.S. has quadrupled recently from $2K to $8K and if oil prices continue to spike its going to be less and less attractive to ship goods half way around the world. Its already working against heavy goods with a low labor component like steel. The more expensive fuel gets the less likely you are going to offshore manufacturing for the U.S. and Europe to China. Mexico may become increasingly attractive again for the U.S. labor pool.
  • by demachina (71715) on Monday June 02, 2008 @02:47AM (#23623855)
    I'd have to agree the submission is a little breathless, but it is interesting to and important to think about the consequences of a pervasive police state in the digital age. East Germany's police state was extremely labor intensive. You pretty much had to have people to eavesdrop on phone calls, lots and lots of magnetic tape, and lots and lots of people spying on their neighbors.

    In the digital age its increasingly possible to actually listen to everything and let computers sort out the keywords and red flag people for closer scrutiny. As everything has moved in to a databases it is much easier to correlate data from multiple databases and look at, for example, all your bank records, your taxes filings, what you buy, your travel plans, the books and movies you read and watch, and get an extremely good picture of any individuals thoughts. Eliot Spitzer is a recent case study of someone who was destroyed by the increasingly pervasive spying on banking activities.

    The down side of the Internet is it has created a mechanism to allow the police state to digitally monitor what people are saying, thinking, doing and wanting to do, far more than ever before.

    Not sure I would get so excited about China doing this, they are after all a totalitarian state and being doing these things quite blatantly for 60 plus years, they are just going to be a lot better at it in the digital age, and its fairly new that Western companies get to help in their oppression.

    I think we should be somewhat more concerned about the fact the governments of U.S. and Great Britain are doing many of these same things, just somewhat more subtly and almost no one seems to notice or care. They are countries that are supposed to have things like civil liberties, like freedom of speech and habeas corpus, but the free societies we so fond of bragging about are being dismantled before our eyes using Islamic terrorism as the excuse. You could blame it all Bush and Blair but I'm pretty sure the espionage state will continue to expand unabated, no matter which party is in power, because:

    A. The fear of a new terrorist attach can be used to justify every excess.

    B. People in power almost inevitably want more power and more control of their domain, not less. Its a somewhat rare individual who achieves great power and then doesn't use it, abuse it and expand it. It rare indeed to find people that actually relinquish power they already have. Almost the only time it happens is when gross excesses of someone abusing their power lead to scandal, for example Watergate, Vietnam and the abuses of the CIA in the 1960's. Executive power was reigned in, in the 1970's by things like the Church Committee though the Republicans hated everything that happened in the 70's to reign in abuse of power and managed to undo all the check and balances in the last 7 years and push America even further in to a police state than was the case under Nixon and Hoover.
  • So... not being a glossy magazine, or, as far as I can see, involved, what does your opinion matter? You can't seem to verify, or disprove Rolling Stone's information, you haven't posted any proof that you are actually in China, or have witnessed anything there, you provide no credentials, and so by your own criteria why should anyone listen to you?

    Basically your response is to tell people to discredit a source because you don't like them. This isn't even weak proof, since your subjective opinion is worth less than even Rolling Stone's. Any moron can get a /. account, get good karma, and post. At least the RS there is an editorial board, hiring procedures, and I'm guessing some degree of journalistic standard.

    Yes, I won't take the spin as fact since spin is opinion. but the actual events seem worth further examination, and are easily verifiable.

    The same goes for the "spin" you yourself are projecting...
  • Re:Bla bla bla (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MrHanky (141717) on Monday June 02, 2008 @03:43AM (#23624137) Homepage Journal
    Yes, why develop critical reading skills when you can rather lay your trust in known authority. If a source is good, the information will be good, if a source is bad, the information will be wrong. I know this because everything I read confirms my worldview.
  • Posting from China (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 02, 2008 @03:54AM (#23624193)
    I think a lot of the comments in this thread would be cause for Slashdot to be banned - but here I am, reading and posting with no probl~~~~ [NO CARRIER]

    --

    But seriously, I am in China, and the whole censorship thing is total BS. I can read all about Tiannenmen Square, and indeed anything else I like (including stuff that The Party may not), and no, I'm not using a proxy or any other workaround.

    So put that in your FUD pipe and smoke it. Or paint your little red wagon with it, or whatever...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 02, 2008 @03:56AM (#23624199)
    The very word, Communism (spelled with capital C is "communism in theory"). Look it up if you don't believe me.

    The former poster is not confused, because he is hinting this sort of abuse can come from any government, and the story too points to how commercial entities can pressure this sort of thing into our existence. This is why we need to be vigilant and never allow people to forget.
  • by symbolset (646467) on Monday June 02, 2008 @04:01AM (#23624229) Journal

    I could not explain my family life otherwise.

    It just doesn't scale up.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 02, 2008 @04:02AM (#23624243)
    The next camera I see that wasn't manufactured in Asia, often China, will be the first in 20 years. China's totalitarian rule isn't IBM's fault. Krupp, Porsche et al. weren't outlawed after WW2 for the same reason.

    Anti-US self-loathing dilutes the argument.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 02, 2008 @04:13AM (#23624291)
    "You are confusing communism in theory with communism in practice. It's a common error and your reeducation team will be around presently to correct the error."

    Sorry I just have to comment on this, why is this is a pet peeve of mine because in the west. Whenever something bad or detrimental as a results of markets in practice gets rationalized away as not being "real capitalism" or a "real free market". How is this different from you rationalizing the formers statement away? The most capitalist country in the world (USA) is also the most at war with other countries, captialism just externalizes it's costs onto others via wars rather and let problems lay fallow until they blow up (sub prime crisis).

    Whenever something bad in the market happens like sub-prime fiasco, or the great depression, the free market fundies are quick to remind us it's not 'real captialism' or 'the market is working'. To these people they are not seen somehow as failures of capitalism or free markets. I think the problem is that people backwards rationalize a reason why their ideals are superior to others, through prejudice and personal preference rather then 'reason' there is not one human nature, there are many, and the steretype "thats human nature" one could say the of slavery "slavery will never end, thats human nature" or "fuedalism will never end thats human nature", history has again and again shown idealogues to be wrong nad I would expect the same with both capitalist, socialist and communist models since these are mere words that do not describe reality as it is and the problems people face.

    And this is the reason why I am non-idealogical, since the world is more complex then any idealogy, since the real world is about geometry and the configuraiton of matter and energy, most idealogy is merely prejudice wrapped in bluster with criticisms (some valid, some not) of alternative ways of arranging and living.
  • by jandersen (462034) on Monday June 02, 2008 @04:32AM (#23624365)
    And I'm amazed that anybody takes this crap serious enough to give it the time it takes to read the headline. Of course it's a joke - it's called "propaganda" and it's a game to see just how far one can string along a bunch of gullible teenagers.

    China is a huge country with a huge population, and implementing something like what Ms Klein describes would require just over 3 persons to watch every ordinary Chinese; it can't be done, not even in the US, certainly not in a country that still hasn't quite got all the resources it needs for just the basic needs.

    But I can see from your comments that you obviously think this is true; have you even thought about how Ms Klein can know exactly what the Chinese government is going to do and what they intend? Is she an insider? Does she take part in planning meetings without them noticing? This has nothing to do with the real world, let alone Communism, but Ms Klein has realised that her stories sell for a better price if they are spiced with this kind of nonsensical prejudice that everybody knows can't be verified, but everyone wants to believe in.

    Apart from that - seeing that you probably don't see yourself as a communist - why would you expect the state to feed the poor? Isn't your philosophy that they are poor simply because they are lazy and stupid, and that they don't deserve any better?
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Monday June 02, 2008 @04:44AM (#23624441)
    From a purely economic point of view, the borders between fascism (of which national socialism is a variant, mixed in with some chauvinism) and capitalism are blurry. Or rather, capitalism as we know it.

    In a fascist economy, everything is secondary to industrial growth. It's an "ask what you can do for your country" world. You better not ask what your country can do for you, since you don't count. The strength of your country and its economy does. This goes hand in hand with laws that prefer the interests of industry and commerce, while ignoring the needs of the people.

    Bluntly, this is closer to what China is like today than any socialist or communist model. And thinking about it, we're moving there, too.
  • Re:Bla bla bla (Score:2, Insightful)

    by arstchnca (887141) <arst3chnica@gmail.com> on Monday June 02, 2008 @05:45AM (#23624719)
    As it's "in vogue" in this country to throw those terms around (bias, etc.), you've revealed your identity as an American citizen.

    gg

    did you read a single thing in Davemania's post? I can't believe you're replying to what he said, with what you said.

    I want to mod you funny, but I'd rather get this out there.
    BR What happened to critical analysis. indeed.
  • Re:Bla bla bla (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cduffy (652) <charles+slashdot@dyfis.net> on Monday June 02, 2008 @05:52AM (#23624755)
    Yes, but what you're doing to the article here is called ad hominem, and it's a fallacy. If you want to ignore it on account of the publisher, feel free to do so -- but if you're going to speak regarding the article's merits, it behooves you to read it first.

    It's a heckuvalot more informative than your post, and raises legitimate issues (ie. mechanisms in use to circumvent laws specifically forbidding export of law enforcement equipment to China) even should you choose to ignore the editorializing.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 02, 2008 @06:26AM (#23624913)
    But we have a constitutional right to bear arms, so if it gets too bad... well, you know. We'll fix it. Those founding fathers were brilliant.

    Yeah. Let us know how you get on with your hand-guns and rifles against the US army's tanks, rocket launchers, (insert list of virtually all modern weapons systems) etc. Good luck!
  • Re:Bla bla bla (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cjsm (804001) on Monday June 02, 2008 @06:53AM (#23625011)
    You think Time Magazine has a political leftist agenda? You must be to the right of Bush to see Time magazine as leftist. On international politics it is right wing.

    The mainstream American Press as a whole is very right wing. The publishers are right wing. If a news source prints .00001% of the crimes the U.S. Government does in the world, the Right Wing accuse it of being leftist.

    That's why such a large percentage of the American people are so ignorant. They've been fed propaganda all their lives about how America is some goody two shoes trying to help the world. The millions of innocent people killed directly and indirectly by the U.S. Government around the world since WW II is not reported on.

    This is similar to what happened to the Native Americans. The Presidents slaughtered them and stole their land, but almost none of it makes it into the mainstream histories taught in schools. Of course, people like you would accuse any such accounts of being left wing.

  • by Viol8 (599362) on Monday June 02, 2008 @07:09AM (#23625079)
    You just shoot the first few hundred who try anything then the other 999.9999 million suddenly find that keeping their heads down and tending their crops or working in a sweat shop suddenly seems that whole lot more appealing. Works everywhere in the world - look at Zimbabwe for another example.
  • Re:Bla bla bla (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ATMAvatar (648864) on Monday June 02, 2008 @08:50AM (#23625689) Journal
    Truthfully, the hand-holding reporting when it comes to the U.S. Government from U.S. media is less about right/left bias and more about access. To get the juicy stories out in time to "scoop" or at least keep-up with competitors, a news outlet must fall within the good graces of the government.

    Sure, you can print an article outlining all the gross incompetence and criminal behavior of the current administration, but then you can kiss any hope of being invited to a presidential press conference ever again. And, when you start becoming the last news outlet to print stories about politics, your readers switch to another news station that gets the stories faster, even if the other station consistently has a pro-administration slant.

    The problem with U.S. media isn't one of bias - it's one of business needs trumping journalistic integrity.
  • by Aceticon (140883) on Monday June 02, 2008 @09:04AM (#23625811)
    Actually the sweet spot for Capitalism seems to be when people are not free but believe they are free.

    The right balance between keeping the rift-raft under control and keeping them motivated and working hard = maximum profit.

    This goes a long way to explain why the memes of "America land of the free", "America the greatest country in the world" and "In the US everybody has a chance to make it big-time" are constantly being pushed by US media, even though nowadays they are all false:

    But hey, it's still better than North Korea.

    Signed: One European that has been exposed to one too many ignorant American.

    PS: In my experience, most Americans I've met that actually spent some time living and working in a country other than the US - vacations do not count - are usually much more well informed and realist about the US itself and the rest of the world than most of those who didn't.
  • Re:Bla bla bla (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Captain Splendid (673276) <capsplendid@g m a i l . com> on Monday June 02, 2008 @09:15AM (#23625919) Homepage Journal
    Time magazine leftist? BWAHAHAHA!

    You've been Punk'd.
  • by piemcfly (1232770) on Monday June 02, 2008 @10:20AM (#23626585)
    I agree that Klein is a little over-the-top on a lot of issues, but you're making a few silly assumptions yourself there.

    1 - note that she calls it a prototype of a HIGH TECH police state. that's an important distinction there. wether you agree with her general position or not, this technology is in fact a new thing that makes an old, standard police state high tech. so yes, it would be alright to call it a prototype. If you disagree with her general thesis, that's fine, but if you're going to complain about her phrasing, at least read the phrasing right.

    1b - 'to deal or not deal' with socialist states? The question is not about dealing, the question is about dealing ethically. The embargo on cuba is bad and unethical, punishing a people for its (unelected) dictator, in fact allowing that dude to stay in power. Just like american companies doing dirty jobs for dirty governments is bad and unethical. Also, you can't compare governments and multinationals one-on-one. Here Klein talks about companies doing unethical trade in China. With Cuba, she talks about the US government not allowing any companies to do any trade in/with Cuba. Big difference.

    2 - 'classic affluent socialist families'. Yeah, go ahead and pull that one out of the big magic hat again. Somebody can't be socially concerned and 'affluent' on the same time? A classic ad hominem that never grows old, innit?

    2b - how do you connect capitalism with a police state? Well, very simple. Let's take china. A maoist-communist state in its political sphere, with a capitalist, freemarket economical sphere. She's not linking (economical) communism and capitalism here, she's linking the opressive-totalitarian tendencies of post-communist regimes with capitalism, which really is not all that strange. Ask Deng Xiaoping [wikipedia.org], it's been working out pretty well for his comrades.
    I agree that her article is full of loaded language and silly rethorics, but this comparison really isn't so strange.

    Klein is silly in a lot of aspects, but ignoring the rethorics for a second, it is important to keep pointing out the misconduct of multinational companies. It seems people are entirely ignoring the subject at hand just to complain about Klein, 'socialism' (or at least the misguided american conception of it) and 'those leftwing radicals' here.
  • by demachina (71715) on Monday June 02, 2008 @10:56AM (#23627015)
    "Why does the US foster oppressive regimes?"

    The U.S. fosters repressive regimes just because they are anti communist, anti worker, anti socialism and pro big business and Capitalism.

    Some of the big historical reasons for U.S. sponsored coups are control of natural resources in countries when the population realizes they are being exploited by foreign multinationals. In the case of Iran the U.S. and Britain ran Operation Ajax to overthrew Mohammed Mosaddeq because he was nationalizing Iran's oil fields because Britain and the U.S. were taking Iran's wealth and giving Iran chump change for it. Certainly the oil companies deserved compensation for their substantial investments to find and develop those oil fields but the deals given the host countries were often bad and still are today. As I recall in the oil fields being developed off the west coast of Africa, the oil companies are still cutting deals that lined the pockets of the corrupt people running the host countries but are largely screwing the people of those countries out of much needed wealth. That Iranian coup installed the Shah of Iran, who was despised by his people en masse and lead to an Islamic revolution we are still dealing with today. The U.S. very much wants to topple Chavez in Venezuela for the same reason today because he nationalized oil fields controlled by the likes of Exxon Mobile.

    The term "Banana Republic" refers to the tendency of the U.S. to send Marines in to Central and South America to protect the interest of United Fruit company(now Dole) which acquired ownership of vast plantations in those countries, manipulated the governments of said countries, and did its best to profit at the expense of the indigenous people in places like Honduras.

    "Simple fact: poor people can't buy shit."

    You do have a point here. There is certainly a big motivation in the mutinationals to get the Chinese and Indians rich enough to buy cars, TV's and all the other things they want to sell, and for which markets have peaked in the west. They want them to get just rich enough to afford these things, but not so rich that they turn in to "expensive" labor though. They are doing quite a good job of it appears since these markets are growing in China and India. Unfortunately its kind of a bad at a point in which there isn't enough oil to run all those cars, and where China in particular is going to burn massive amounts of coal to run all those appliances and global warming is going to snow ball.

    It should be pointed out that Capitalists have divided loyalties. They do want affluent consumers to buy their goods. But they also want dirt cheap poor people to work in their factories for nothing. Globalization has been working perfectly for this because Capitalsts can just move the factories to where all the dirt poor people are and sell to where the affluent are. Unfortunately the affluent U.S. the economy is cratering since it doesn't produce anything of value any more. In China the cheap labor is starting to inflate so its not as desirable a place as it was to off shore.

    Capitalism is all about a delicate balance of stratifying society. It doesn't want everyone to be rich because that results in expensive labor which is pure poison to capitalism. Unregulated it has always created a very wealthy elite because once you have a lot of money its very easy to make a lot more. If you don't have any money its very hard to ever get any. You live from paycheck to paycheck spending everything you make and you fill the role of cheap labor.

    It will be interesting to see how many more iterations of moving the factories to the dirt poor countries can be done before there are no dirt poor third world countries to move to. Its possible by then the U.S. will be the dirt poor third world country and they can start offshoring work from China and India to the U.S.

    If the robber barons of the late 19th century U.S. are any guide I seriously don't Capitalism goal is to enrich everyone. Their goal is to squeeze
  • Re:Bla bla bla (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kismet (13199) <pmccombs AT acm DOT org> on Monday June 02, 2008 @11:46AM (#23627643) Homepage
    Ok, so here we have an article about Big-Brother-style government in China. It seems pretty important, right? This is a big deal.

    But actually, the more interesting thing, in my opinion, is the Slashdot commentary about it:

    An article in Rolling Stone? The pop-culture rag? How important can it be? Why haven't I heard of this before? Can this source be trusted?

    Let's consider the article itself, found on RollingStone.com. There, next to the boring black-and-white text (that you actually have to read) are lovely full-color ads. Meet the Spartans! The all-new VW Tiguan! Caffeinated liquer! Come to the dark side of Toyota! More than 1000 smileys and emoticons... FREE!! Meet sexy singles!

    What am I to make of all this? Does China's all-seeing eye matter? Does it matter as much as sexy singles or sleek new cars? Flashy emoticons? Pop culture? Or is it just another maybe-factoid to file away in my data-bank of useless knowledge?

    At least a handful of Slashdot commentaries don't buy it. But others seem almost frantic: the sky is falling!

    So we'll argue about it. But what does it mean? Is there something to be done? Not likely: we'll forget this bit of news shortly. There are a million other stories ready to inundate us with something new to get momentarily impassioned about.

    So, while we're fretting about Orwellian nightmares, something else equally interesting is happening.

    The social critic, Neil Postman, picked up on it. So did Aldus Huxley and even Ray Bradbury. Their dystopias look very much like Orwell's, except for one critical point: There is no Big Brother, no bogeyman or coercive external agent to suppress information.

    How can people be manipulated to act as cogs in a great machine? Not a communist machine, but as agents of the Invisible Hand? How can we make servants to a mass-production economy?

    Too much information, it turns out, is just as mind-numbing as too little. Stories of great importance in a pop-culture magazine? How does one discern what matters and what doesn't? What is real, and what is fake? All information is now equal: the ravings of True Believers, the theories of scientists, the saccarin glurge of advertising, the maudlin patriotism of politicians, this post on slashdot... It's all carries the same weight.

    Choose your preferred information opiate and plug in. You'll forget, soon enough, what really matters. It's the non-thought of received ideas now. There is no time to own thoughts anymore. Even the skeptics have their own preferred formulas for labeling things as useful or not. Besides, after 6.5 hours in front of Tivo, GTA IV, iPod and StumbleUpon, who has time sit and think?

    We mostly live, like Dilbert, in 4x6 cloth-covered cubicles, and in small automobile cabs. Our human relationships consist of attaching little machines to our ears and fingertips as we zoom about, alone. Our world-view is shaped by an electronic fire-hose, where everything is made irrelevant by sheer volume.

    How will things be different when we are spied on and brainwashed? Whose dystopia is the preferred one? Maybe that is something to argue about, but it seems silly.
  • Re:Bla bla bla (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cduffy (652) <charles+slashdot@dyfis.net> on Monday June 02, 2008 @12:07PM (#23627917)

    What you're doing is ad latinum - the fallacy of throwing out a fancy latin term and thinking that it refutes a point.
    Using appropriate terms to discuss forms of logical argument and the fallacies which are used in place of them is useful in discussion of whether an argument is valid, just as a discussion on software development would be hampered if people couldn't use acronyms. Whether it's latin or not is moot; the point is that the parent is using a method of argument which is recognized as wrong: Fault on the part of an individual making an argument does not make their argument any less valid.

    If you've found fault with arguments made by an individual or organization in the past, that may legitimately make you less likely to want to spend your time listening to and considering their current argument -- but an argument you're choosing not to listen to is not necessarily bogus, it's merely something you choose not to consider; that distinction is important. Assuming that everyone you don't like is wrong (or that every position espoused by an individual with whom you strongly disagree on some things is wrong) is the kind of mistake that gets wars started; people generally hold positions that make some kind of sense, once you understand their assumptions and perspectives.

    What the GP is doing is no different from watching a few episodes of Mythbusters, noting its decided lack of a love story (well, other than a love for blowing things up), and deciding not to watch the rest of the series.
    But the GP didn't just decide not to watch; rather, the GP publicly attacked a specific segment which other folks (by submitting the article to /. and voting it up to the front page) recommended as having merit, without viewing it himself. If you trust the wisdom of crowds, that may be a good enough reason to RTFA and give this article individual consideration. If you don't, what are you doing here?

    If a colleague continually spouted conspiracy theories to your face, you'd be much less likely to listen to him on another conspiracy-sounding thoery that may actually raise legitimate issues.
    The GP isn't just refusing to listen to the article, but actively criticizing it in public, and encouraging others to avoid giving it their consideration. Without considering the article's merits (or even reviewing its content), taking this kind of public position is irresponsible.
  • by CodeBuster (516420) on Monday June 02, 2008 @03:31PM (#23630261)

    as long as the language doesn't cross the line, i.e., overthrowing the government, nobody cares.
    Nobody cares as long as the person saying it is a nobody and remains obscure. However, it is convenient for those in power to have the ability to go back and dig up dirt on anyone who becomes a "trouble maker" or problem to somebody in power in the future. The fact that governments have these powers is dangerous, whether or not the actually use them, because they *could* use them if they wanted to against their political opponents. The mere suggestion or threat that the powers could be used or abused is enough to create fear and control. In fact, this was part of the original theory behind the Panopticon [wikipedia.org], it was not necessary to actually monitor the prisoners at all times because the prisoners could not tell when they were being monitored or when a previously made recording (once recording and database technology became practical) might be reviewed. The mere threat or possibility of monitoring created fear and control.
  • by CodeBuster (516420) on Monday June 02, 2008 @03:38PM (#23630313)

    One is very safe walking around, even late at night. Try that in Philly, or Miami, or any large American city.
    There are probably very few people who would take the position that a Police State is completely devoid of any possible benefits, fringe or otherwise. However, most of us who live in Europe and the United States are of the opinion that those benefits, which are probably few and far between, are not worth the costs of giving up what we regard as essential rights and freedoms. I for one will take a little crime any day if the alternative is effectively unlimited secret police powers to search, seize, and detain at will. I would rather have my freedoms and take my chances with those other people who might abuse theirs than see everyone stripped of their freedoms in the name of public safety.
  • Re:come on guys... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Paul server guy (1128251) on Monday June 02, 2008 @04:25PM (#23630973) Homepage
    Mod Parent up! The only rights you have are the rights you /think/ you have!

I'd rather just believe that it's done by little elves running around.

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