Anyone got a spare Irony meter?
China's thirst for social networks will help the country's citizens smash through its rigid state control, Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt has claimed. He said during a conference in London on Monday that popular sites such as Weibo and WeChat would help to liberalise the People's Republic. Schmidt spoke of a meeting …
History seems to differ with Schmidt, that totalitarian regimes can indeed imprison (intimidate, beat up, or murder) enough people to keep the proles in order.
Perhaps Serco and G4S could try and monetise opression by offering Opression As A Service (OaaS), which they could represent to shareholoders as international growth markets? Google could muscle in by allowing their all seeing eye systems to either notify the authorities of potential future trouble makers (Minority Report style), or simply flash scary state advertising at any freedom seeking troublemakers.
Schmitt has never heard of "divide and conquer" then!
You don't need lock everyone up to make them fear you, you simply pick off a few key people or simply make a small number of husbands or main wage earners disappear on dark, stormy nights. A ruler's real power comes from instilling fear in the populace.
How can a guy in a position in commerce that is high enough to have him talking to world leaders be such a naive arse?
If Schmidtt takes a look at China's history since WW II it should be clear to him that terrorising the population with a re-introduction of the Red Guard and a few well placed disappearances and executions will be enough to start cowing the population.
There is a great deal of terror and horror in China's recent history that makes it clear that such things are likely not too far under the current surface, imprisoning people is expensive and inefficient for controlling a population, killing them either 'legally' via execution or with the fervour of fanatics like the Red Guard works better than prison as does simply taking them to the other end of the country to a work camp and denying them any contact with their families.
These are thing China has done well in the past and could easily again.
He can dream about social networking and using that data as a commodity in China but holding his breath while waiting for it to happen may not be a good thing as it may never happen in his lifetime.
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