This Google stuff has just gotten so tiring, so all over the place, that I’ve given up on keeping track of it. The piece with giving in to China’s repression of its billion-strong slave labor force is just more than I can handle, or even comment on in an original fashion. But do take a good look at Dean Esmay’s column. Dean isn’t the slyest or the highest-fallutin’ blogger out there, but besides being an early linker to Likelihood of Confusion (of course I was an advertiser there once, too), he knows how to put it out there plain and honest. An excerpt:
Were it not for the special privileges we grant to publicly-traded corporations, Google’s founding partners Larry Page and Sergey Brin would still be the guys running Google. They’d be wealthy, although almost certainly not as wealthy as they are now. They’d also be directly accountable. People could walk up to Sergey and Larry and say, “Hey guys, why the heck are you cooperating in the oppression of a billion people?!?”
We could say that because “Google” wouldn’t be doing anything. Larry and Sergey would be doing it. But it doesn’t work that way in the fictional legal paper world of multinational corporations, does it?
Years ago Sergey said, “We have a mantra: Don’t be evil.” Well guess what Serge? The company you created is now doing evil–and thanks to the legal system, no one can hold you accountable, can they? There are countless thousands of Google stockholders–heck, I might even be one of them through one of my mutual funds–but who holds the corporation accountable? For anything but the bottom line I mean?
Google’s just another multinational corporation. It doesn’t have a face, it has a logo. It doesn’t have a soul, it only has a bottom line. Sure, some(?) of the people working for it have souls, but if they upset the bottom line of the soulless paper entity that they work for they’ll be fired, and everybody knows it.
Here’s the graphic from Dean’s World that is the basis for the joke in my title. (Thank God we can laugh at it on this side of the Google Wall of China):
UPDATE: Karnival-like kollection of Google China stories at Pajamas Media.
UPDATE: A Google boycott?