Authoritarian Capitalism

Since last summer the assistance of companies like Yahoo and Google in Chinese censorship practices is a much debated issue. Last week Yahoo again has been accused of having played a role in jailing a chinese journalist. Although considerable pressure has been generated neither Yahoo nor Google did change their policies concerning China. I interpret this behavior as strategic, sending a signal to Chinese as well as other authorities worldwide, that these companies can 'play by the rules'.
When looking at the world map one will find that democracies are rather an exeption than the norm. Moreover one will find that authoritarian capitalisms like China currently enjoy unparalleled economic growth. Just take a look at Russia, some African countries and especially the Middle East! And even worse: China's flavor of authoritarian capitalism might be viewed as a model by a number of other countries in the second and third world.

International companies that want to do business in these now prosperous or just emerging markets will be very cautious not to appear as 'political'. Google and Yahoo already made their statements and one should keep an eye on others if they follow.

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