Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Internet & Social Reform in the U.S. & Japan

Joshua Fouts, Kevin Werbach, Toshihiro Yoshihara, Devin Stewart

Above are some of the participants of March 19's luncheon lecture, Obama's Internet Initiative & Social Reform in the U.S. & Japan which was packed.

Kevin Werbach was quoted in a March 10th LA Times Online article about the ongoing tensions between Google and China. He said that though Google's unofficial motto is "Don't be evil," standing for ideals can be difficult when operating a huge multinational business.

"One reason so few companies make statements like 'Don't be evil' is that in reality the world is not black and white. You're going to come into situations where the right ethical answer isn't entirely clear, and the right economic answer isn't tremendously clear either."

Still, Werbach gave Google credit for making a principled stand, whether or not the company had fully anticipated the implications for its business. The article is definitely worth reading. And if the chemistry between the internet and politics and ethics and economics interests you, Joshua Fouts's Dancing Ink Productions hosts a selection of articles on creativity and the virtual world.

Devin Stewart has also written a very long list of insightful pieces about a plethora of topics, from Toyota to human trafficking to climate change to the freedom of the press in the Arab world. But one article that caught my interest was called, Is Japan Giving Up? Stewart explores the national attitude in Japan and the impact of recent trends in behavior, economics, and foreign relations.

"It would be absurd to give up on a country purely on the basis of its national mood. In fact, Japanese manufacturing output has risen, GDP is picking up, exports have grown their fastest in 30 years, and the trends I have described will all be familiar to any Japan watcher. Moreover, Toyota's sales surged 48 percent last month in Japan. But I have never seen the mood bleaker. Let's hope that this new low provides a rock bottom from which Japanese optimism can rebound."

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