Selective Regulation

china flagThis morning’s Times article on dangerously high levels of pollution in China presents an¬†interesting¬†contrast with much of the country’s other, hands-on policies. By virtue of being a Communist state, China owns – outright or in part – and regulates virtually every major national sector. China Mobile? State owned. Phone maker ZTE? Formed from the ribs of state organizations. PertroChina? You betcha. What these degrees of ownership and oversight mean is that, obviously, Beijing plays favorites with homegrown enterprises, and will squeeze or sanction any foreign firms that don’t play by its rules. The Party knows that it has a large consumer base, and it uses that fact as a fulcrum in ensuring that corporations like Disney don’t depict subversive content, Google filters its search results, and Apple provides upgraded customer service. In fact, the latest Apple charge seems strongly government-instigated, demonstrating that if you can’t join ’em (at least in a venture), you might as well beat ’em. Continue reading “Selective Regulation”