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Opinion | Dealing With China Isn’t Worth the Moral Cost
Oct. 9, 2019 | The New York Times | By Farhad Manjoo.

We thought economic growth and technology would liberate China. Instead, it corrupted us.

The People’s Republic of China is the largest, most powerful and arguably most brutal totalitarian state in the world. It denies basic human rights to all of its nearly 1.4 billion citizens. There is no freedom of speech, thought, assembly, religion, movement or any semblance of political liberty in China. Under Xi Jinping, “president for life,” the CCP has built the most technologically sophisticated repression machine the world has ever seen. In Xinjiang, in Western China, the government is using technology to mount a cultural genocide against the Muslim Uighur minority that is even more total than the one it carried out in Tibet. Human rights experts say that more than a million people are being held in detention camps in Xinjiang, two million more are in forced “re-education,” and everyone else is invasively surveilled via ubiquitous cameras, artificial intelligence and other high-tech means.

None of this is a secret. Under Xi, China has grown markedly more Orwellian;......Why do we give China a pass? In a word: capitalism. Because for 40 years, the West’s relationship with China has been governed by a strategic error the dimensions of which are only now coming into horrific view.......A parade of American presidents on the left and the right argued that by cultivating China as a market — hastening its economic growth and technological sophistication while bringing our own companies a billion new workers and customers — we would inevitably loosen the regime’s hold on its people....the West’s entire political theory about China has been spectacularly wrong. China has engineered ferocious economic growth in the past half century, lifting hundreds of millions of its citizens out of miserable poverty. But China’s growth did not come at any cost to the regime’s political chokehold....It is also now routinely corrupting the rest of us outside of China......the N.B.A.’s hasty and embarrassing apology this week after Daryl Morey, the Houston Rockets’ general manager, tweeted — and quickly deleted — a message in support of Hong Kong’s protesters......The N.B.A. is far from the first American institution to accede to China’s limits on liberty. Hollywood, large tech companies and a variety of consumer brands — from Delta to Zara — have been more than willing to play ball. The submission is spreading: .....This sort of corporate capitulation is hardly surprising. For Western companies, China is simply too big and too rich a market to ignore, let alone to pressure or to police. .....it will only get worse from here, and we are fools to play this game. There is a school of thought that says America should not think of China as an enemy. With its far larger population, China’s economy will inevitably come to eclipse ours, but that is hardly a mortal threat. In climate change, the world faces a huge collective-action problem that will require global cooperation. According to this view, treating China like an adversary will only frustrate our own long-term goals......this perspective leaves out the threat that greater economic and technological integration with China poses to everyone outside of China. It ignores the ever-steeper capitulation that China requires of its partners. And it overlooks the most important new factor in the Chinese regime’s longevity: the seductive efficiency that technology offers to effect a breathtaking new level of control over its population......Through online surveillance, facial recognition, artificial intelligence and the propagandistic gold mine of social media, China has mobilized a set of tools that allow it to invisibly, routinely repress its citizens and shape political opinion by manipulating their feelings and grievances on just about any controversy.....Chinese-style tech-abetted surveillance authoritarianism could become a template for how much of the world works.
adversaries  artificial_intelligence  authoritarianism  brands  capitalism  capitulation  China  China_rising  Chinese_Communist_Party  climate_change  collective_action  cultural_genocide  decoupling  despots  errors  facial_recognition  Farhad_Manjoo  freedom  Hollywood  Hong_Kong  human_rights  influence  NBA  op-ed  Orwell  propaganda  repression  self-corruption  surveillance  surveillance_authoritarianism  technology  threats  Tibet  totalitarianism  tyranny  Uyghurs  unintended_consequences  values  Xi_Jinping 
5 days ago by jerryking
Opinion | Netflix Is Shrinking the World - The New York Times
Netflix, which has become the internet’s most invaluable and intoxicating portal to the parts of planet Earth that aren’t America......A win by “Roma” would be a fitting testament to Netflix’s ambitions. Virtually alone among tech and media companies, Netflix intends to ride a new kind of open-border digital cosmopolitanism to the bank.......Netflix, which has 139 million paying members around the world, has lately become something more than a licenser of other countries’ escapist television.

In 2016, the company expanded to 190 countries, and last year, for the first time, a majority of its subscribers and most of its revenue came from outside the United States. To serve this audience, Netflix now commissions and licenses hundreds of shows meant to echo life in every one of its markets and, in some cases, to blend languages and sensibilities across its markets......Netflix has discovered something startling: Despite a supposed surge in nationalism across the globe, many people like to watch movies and TV shows from other countries. ....Hollywood and Silicon Valley have long pursued expansion internationally. But Netflix's strategy is fundamentally different. Instead of trying to sell American ideas to a foreign audience, it’s aiming to sell international ideas to a global audience.....a crucial difference between Netflix and other tech giants: Netflix makes money from subscriptions, not advertising.....This simple difference flips all of its incentives. It means that Netflix has a reason to satisfy every new customer, not just the ones in the most prosperous markets. Each new title carries subtitles in 26 languages, and the company is creating high-quality, properly lip-synced audio dubbing in 10 languages. For years, Netflix has roiled the film and TV business in Hollywood with its billions. Now it’s taking its money — the company spent $12 billion on content in 2018 and is projected to spend $15 billion this year — to film and TV producers in France, Spain, Brazil, India, South Korea and the Middle East, among other places.

Because it is spending so much on shows from everywhere, Netflix has an incentive to get the biggest bang for its buck by pushing them widely across its user base. Its algorithms are tuned toward expanding your interests rather than narrowing them. As a result, many of Netflix’s shows are watched widely beyond their local markets......Netflix does seem to be pushing cultural boundaries and sparking new conversations all over the world....It’s legitimate to ask how long Netflix will be able to keep up this cross-border conversation — whether, as it keeps growing, it will have to make legal or moral compromises with local censors or other would-be cultural arbiters.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Matt
Michigan2h ago
Farhad, I totally enjoyed your extrospection of Netflix as a global epoch-maker and change agent. This is globalization at its best. Netflix is outsourcing (crowdsourcing), outspending, and outwitting the Hollywood (s) of this world. Its recipe is simple yet profound: telling the stories of people, everywhere in this world, to themselves in their down-to-earth languages and customs. And technology has everything to do with it. Netflix would not have been where it is today if it was not for streaming technology. The assertion is true: technology is bring the world closer together.

By Farhad Manjoo
Opinion Columnist

Feb. 22, 2019
content_creators  cosmopolitan  cross-cultural  entertainment  Farhad_Manjoo  globalization  Hollywood  international_expansion  internationalization  international_diversity  Netflix  original_programming  streaming  user_bases 
february 2019 by jerryking
Opinion | Abolish Billionaires - The New York Times
By Farhad Manjoo
Opinion Columnist

Feb. 6, 2019

A radical idea is gaining adherents on the left. It’s the perfect way to blunt tech-driven inequality.
Alexandria_Ocasio-Cortez  Anand_Giridharadas  artificial_intelligence  capital_accumulation  digital_economy  Farhad_Manjoo  income_distribution  income_inequality  moguls  network_effects  rhetoric  software  superstars  winner-take-all 
february 2019 by jerryking
How to Survive the Next Era of Tech (Slow Down and Be Mindful)
Nov. 28, 2018 | The New York Times | By Farhad Manjoo.
We live in unpredictable times. The unlikely happens. Be careful. Go slow. Three new maxims for surviving the next era of tech. I hope you heed them; the world rides on your choices.

(1) Don’t just look at the product. Look at the business model.
(2) Avoid feeding the giants. Manjoo's point that the lack of competition is curbing innovation.
(3) Adopt late. Slow down. Slow your roll--be a late adopter (slow to adopt shiny, new things).
Farhad_Manjoo  howto  mindfulness  Slow_Movement  technology  turbulence  late_adopters  rules_of_the_game  business_models  corporate_concentration  FAANG  platforms 
november 2018 by jerryking
Why Jeff Bezos Should Push for Nobody to Get as Rich as Jeff Bezos
Sept. 19, 2018 | The New York Times | By Farhad Manjoo.

Why does Jeff Bezos have so much money in the first place? What does his fortune tell us about the economic structure and impact of the tech industry, the engine behind his billions? And, most important, what responsibility comes with his wealth — and is it any business of ours what he does with it?.........Bezos’ extreme wealth is not only a product of his own ingenuity. It is also a function of several grand forces shaping the global economy...the unequal impact of digital technology..... direct economic benefits have accrued to a small number of superstar companies and their largest shareholders.....the most important thing Bezos can do with his money is to become a traitor to his class,” said Anand Giridharadas, author of a new book, “Winners Take All.”.....Giridharadas argues that the efforts of the super-wealthy to change the world through philanthropy are often a distraction from the planet’s actual problems. To truly fix the world, Mr. Bezos ought to push for policy changes that would create a more equal distribution of the winnings ......there are fans of Amazon who will dispute the notion that Bezos’ wealth represents a problem or a responsibility....He acquired his wealth legally and in the most quintessentially American way: He had a wacky idea, took a stab at it, stuck with it through thick and thin, and, through patient, deliberate, farsighted risk-taking,.......Tech-powered businesses are often driven by an economic concept known as network effects, in which the very popularity of a service sparks even greater popularity. Amazon, for instance, keeps attracting more third-party businesses to sell goods in its store — which in turn makes it a better store for customers, which attracts more suppliers, improving the customer experience, and so on in an endless virtuous cycle........Mr. Bezos’ most attractive quality, as a businessman, is his capacity for patience and surprise. “This is guy who was willing to buck what everyone else thought for so long,” Mr. Giridharadas said. “If he brings that same irreverence to the question of how to give, he has the potential to interrogate himself about why it is that we need so many billionaires to save us in the first place
Amazon  Anand_Giridharadas  books  economic_policy  economies_of_scale  Erik_Brynjolfsson  Farhad_Manjoo  Jeff_Bezos  third-party  high_net_worth  human_ingenuity  ingenuity  moguls  network_effects  philanthropy  superstars  virtuous_cycles  winner-take-all 
september 2018 by jerryking
What the Tax Bill Fails to Address: Technology’s Tsunami -
DEC. 20, 2017 | The New York Times | Farhad Manjoo.

Manjoo posits that the Republican tax bill is the wrong fix for the wrong problem, given how tech is altering society and the economy....The bill (the parachute) does little to address the tech-abetted wave of economic displacement (the tsunami) that may be looming just off the horizon. And it also seems to intensify some of the structural problems in the tech business, including its increasing domination by five giants — Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook and Alphabet, Google’s parent company — which own some of the world’s most important economic platforms.....some in Silicon Valley think the giants misplayed their hand in the legislation. In pursuing short-term tax advantages, they missed a chance to advocate policies that might have more broadly benefited many of their customers — and improved their images, too......This gets back to that looming tsunami. Though many of the economy’s structural problems predate the last decade’s rise of the tech behemoths, the innovations that Silicon Valley has been working on — things like e-commerce, cloud storage, artificial intelligence and the general digitization of everything and everyone around you — are some of the central protagonists in the economic story of our age.

Among other economic concerns, these innovations are implicated in the rise of inequality; the expanding premium on education and skills; the decimation and dislocation of retail jobs; the rising urban-rural divide, and spiking housing costs in cities; and the rise of the “gig” economy of contract workers who drive Ubers and rent out their spare bedrooms on Airbnb....technology is changing work in a few ways. First, it’s altering the type of work that people do — for instance, creating a boom in e-commerce warehouse jobs in large metro areas while reducing opportunities for retail workers in rural areas. Technology has also created more uncertainty around when people work and how much they’ll get paid.
Farhad_Manjoo  preparation  job_loss  job_displacement  Silicon_Valley  tax_codes  corporate_concentration  platforms  income_inequality  short-sightedness  e-commerce  cloud_computing  artificial_intelligence  gig_economy  precarious  automation  uncertainty  universal_basic_income  digitalization  Apple  Amazon  Netflix  Microsoft  Facebook  Alphabet  Google  inconsistent_incomes  Big_Tech  FAANG 
december 2017 by jerryking
Should the Middle Class Invest in Risky Tech Start-Ups? - The New York Times
Farhad Manjoo
STATE OF THE ART SEPT. 27, 2017

Jason Calacanis, a start-up investor who has bet on Uber and others, cuts an unusual figure in Silicon Valley..... Calacanis’s frankness regarding his tech-fueled riches. He states plainly what many in Silicon Valley believe but are too politic to say — and which has lately been dawning on the rest of the world: that the tech industry is decimating the rest of the planet’s wealth and stability.

Its companies — especially the Frightful Five of Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook and Microsoft, which employ a select and privileged few — look poised to systematically gut much of the rest of the economy. And while Silicon Valley’s technologies could vastly improve our lives, we are now learning that they may also destabilize great portions of the social fabric — letting outsiders wreak havoc on our elections, fostering distrust and conspiracy theories in the media, sowing ever-greater levels of inequality, and cementing a level of corporate control over culture and society unseen since the days of the Robber Barons.......Calacanis is offering a much more dismal view of the disruptions caused by tech — and a more radical, if also self-serving, plan for dealing with it. To survive the coming earthquake, he advises, you need to radically re-examine your plan for the future — and you need to learn Silicon Valley’s ways rather than expect to defeat it......“Most of you are screwed,” he writes in “Angel,” arguing that a coming revolution in robotics and artificial intelligence will eliminate millions of jobs and destroy the old ways of getting ahead in America. “The world is becoming controlled by the few, powerful, and clever people who know how to create those robots, or how to design the software and the tablet on which you’re reading this.”....His book is intended as a guide for getting into the business of investing in very young tech companies at their earliest stages, known as “angel investing.” Mr. Calacanis is peddling a kind of populist movement for investing — he wants doctors, lawyers and other wealthy people, and even some in the middle class, to bet on start-ups, which he says is the best way to prepare financially for tech change.
Farhad_Manjoo  middle_class  angels  books  Jason_Calacanis  social_fabric  Apple  Amazon  Google  Facebook  Microsoft  Silicon_Valley  financial_advisors  start_ups  risks 
september 2017 by jerryking

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