When can companies force change by standing up to foreign governments

From Jason Miklian, John E. Katsos, Benedicte Bull:

It’s easy to condemn firms for meek apologies — and to criticize the NBA and others as willing tools of the Chinese regime, “submitting to authoritarianism” to make a buck. However, our research suggests even when companies want to support global democracy and human rights, they find it much harder than anticipated and trap themselves in unenviable choices…

Our research has shown, time and again, how companies fail to live up to these lofty expectations [improving liberties and human rights]. It’s not for lack of trying. Instead, companies find the problems governments want them to solve are incredibly hard — and companies themselves suffer the political fallout when they can’t get things right.

And this:

Companies are most likely to deliver benefits when the measures they take are concrete, focused on specific goals and build on existing corporate expertise. These measures are more likely to affect change when companies join in collective actions by the business community that complement international political campaigns.

There is much more at the link, including discussions of China and South Africa.

Comments

"It’s easy to condemn firms for meek apologies — and to criticize the Google and Hollywood as willing tools of the Obama regime, “submitting to authoritarianism” to make a buck. However, our research suggests even when companies want to support domestic democracy and human rights, they find it much harder than anticipated and trap themselves in unenviable choices…"

So true.

2010 called. It wants its nonsensical, off-topic Obama conspiracy theories back.

Merci d'avoir partager ces écrits avec nous

They so loved Obama, they would have done it gratis.

The NBA is now playing a losing game. China owns them. Their choice is to gradually shift away from the China market even if it means losing some of their profits and becoming their "own man" or to accept their slavery to China.

NBA is winning. China started rebroadcasting games and cracked down on anti NBA protests in the mainland. Strange that capitalist Westerners hate profits. Are you socialists or social justice warriors?

"NBA is winning"? OK, if you think so but that is the second of the two choices. They are "winning" by accepting slavery to China. They can never again tweet, say or write anything in any way critical of China. Would this be considered "winning" if it was in 1941 to Hitler???

Here is the problem. Sooner or later this is going to blow up in the face of the NBA. Either one of the owners will one day be honest and speak up or one of the players or one of the sportscasters or someone in the media or on You tube or a blogger... And when that happens all of this will blow up again. And again in order to "win" the NBA will have to bow and kiss China's ass and publicly display anti-American malice. From this day forward THAT is what is required to "win" China now owns the NBA.

Winning is making money and big profits. If that offends you, then move to socialist Venezuela. You might like it there. We are capitalists. We make money, we don't whine about social justice.

Denial or naivete.

Bienvenidos a Venezuela, comrade!

Those who choose profits over liberty deserve neither!

Benjamin Franklin-ish

Boycott the NBA, Blizzard and Apple. They hate freedom of speech more than China.

Who knows what evil lurks in the mind of man?

Possibly, they do not love liberty less. They love money more. Which is why they are in business.

The NBA should be celebrated. They recognized that freedom of speech is more than a restriction on government action. It is an important principle that businesses should stand behind. I hope they apply this principle consistently and that they serve as an example for other companies, who are too often craven.

Trump once again has said nothing on this issue. But he is quick to help out ISIS and betray our Kurdish allies to their deaths on the battlefield.

Support for the Saudi monarchy is probably a more direct parallel.

The two situations are nothing alike. Our government is not providing military aid to China like it is to Saudi Arabia. There is merely some private sector commerce going on with China.

Um. We don't *just* provide military aid to Saudi Arabia. We have traditionally found ways to integrate our business, diplomatic, and military relations with "a story" about human rights.

I don't know what is going on now.

We literally send troops on the same day that another part of our government announces that the Saudi ruler did indeed order the murder and dismemberment of a US citizen.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2019/10/14/saudi-money-talks-louder-than-murder-jamal-khashoggi-editorials-debates/3899801002/

Corporations can't have it both ways...either they focus on profit making enterprise or promoting human rights and/or democracy...any CEO worth a damn focuses on the former and engages in PR on the latter...

It isn't always so cut and dry. The former CEO of Cathay Pacific resigned when he was forced by the communist government to make a list of employees that took part in the HK protest. He's not a human rights activist, mind you, but you don't have to be one to prevent a repeat of IBM or Swiss banks aiding Nazi Germany.

https://news.yahoo.com/cathay-pacific-ceo-resigns-beijing-094429595.html

Exactly. Fine line between simply refraining from political activism and collaborating with tyrants. The criticism of the NBA is not that they haven't taken an anti-China or anti-CCP stance as league policy. It's that they were collaborating with the CCP to suppress free speech of executives, fans, players, and coaches in their capacities as private citizens. One might say that the NBA colluded with a foreign government in a quid pro quo (better access to Chinese market in exchange for blacklisting or threatening to blacklist people) to interfere with the free exercise of political rights in America.

Notice, the NBA made no effort to suppress the speech of the anti-interventionist side, the side that says the situation in Hong Kong is very complicated or the side that agrees with the CCP's position that Hong Kong is an internal matter that no one outside of the CCP should comment on.

>either they focus on profit making enterprise or promoting human rights and/or democracy

I'd settle for strict neutrality.

My complaint with the NBA, Blizzard, etc are helping the Chinese government, as well as helping install a social credit-like system in the U.S.

Betsey DeVos's brother Erik Prince runs a company called Frontier Services Group which builds bases in Xinjiang and aids China's One Belt One Road. Where are all the anti-NBA and anti-Blizzard social justice warriors clamoring against our corrupt US elites clearly aiding a totalitarian country like China?

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-xinjiang-idUSKCN1PP169

Mostly on the left. Right-leaning folks I know generally get concerned, but then figure out who he is and fall back to shrugging.

The NBA and Blizzard doing business in China isn't the issue. These companies taking the side of the authoritarian government over the side of people fighting for Rights is the issue.

"It’s not for lack of trying"....
And, in this case, it most certainly is for a lack of trying.
I mean, like seriously.. how successful would the wicked witch of the west had been if they had simply surrendered Dorothy???

Companies proactively fire employees who make public statements that are controversial domestically. So they don't really have a free-speech leg to stand on when it comes to statements that are controversial overseas.

Fire the James Damores and eventually China won't take no for an answer when it wants you to fire the Daryl Moreys. Not on this occasion, but over time they will push the envelope and boil the frog.

Companies also face pressure from courts overstepping their geographical jurisdiction. For example, European courts insisting that the "right to be forgotten" applies worldwide and not just for searches originating in Europe. So what happens when China makes similar demands?

Everyone is talking about the threat of antitrust breakup of big companies into different business lines, and that may yet happen, but the larger looming threat is breakup of global companies along geographical lines.

Companies can't serve multiple masters making conflicting demands. When the inevitable happens, people will look back and say it was obvious in hindsight. Once upon a time, old-style conglomerates broke themselves up and spun off unrelated business lines. In the 2020s we'll see global corporations deglobalize and spin off their operations in incompatible jurisdictions.

The European Court of Justice ruled the contrary iirc.

And by "human rights" we mean "GloboHomo"

I think there is a moral question here that cannot be removed. Obviously any individual or company can feel happy about doing business in a country that is considered good, moral and virtuous. But we also accept that no one should do business with countries that are truly terrible, with Nazi Germany as the archetype.

There is an unavoidable grayscale in-between.

In a particular case of China, hasn't the narrative shifted from "it is good to do business in an opening and more democratic China?"

To what?

It might make a great deal of difference whether this is just a bit of backsliding on China's road to democracy, or if companies are asked to side with a permanent totalitarian regime.

"or if companies are asked to side with a permanent totalitarian regime."

+1, this is what it's become. And moving towards corporations enabling a totalitarian regime.

>To what?

I'll nominate "OMG, they are importing their values to *us*"

Odd (well, only for the credulous and willfully ignorant) how one of the more successful attempts to change a repressive government is ignored here - 'The 1980s anti-apartheid movement in South Africa is a good example. The business community played a key — but subsidiary — role in ending apartheid. Businesses avoided direct criticism by joining a broader campaign, rather than by organizing their own activities.'

someone reads the article before commenting, bravo =)

On the other hand, the US sanctions on Cuba since 1960 have achieved little beyond making some resentful expats happy. The current US administration is no different https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/05/03/trumps-cuba-sanctions-are-a-mistake/

Apartheid was doomed simply because the black majority vastly outnumbered the white ruling class and would have fallen even without any foreign intervention. Every single white minority government in Africa ultimately fell (in some cases despite European military support) so it’s no surprise that apartheid did too.

'Apartheid was doomed simply because the black majority vastly outnumbered the white ruling class '

Apartheid, sure.

A white minority government falling? The Boers had been doing an excellent job over three centuries being an outnumbered 'ruling class,' without foreign intervention (in the sense of direct military support - and when the British started taking over, they resisted that foreign intervention - to the extent that the British invented the idea of a 'concentration camp,' though these were obviously not extermination camps).

South Africa is a bit different, since the Boers are Africans too, in the same sense that the English settlers in Virginia have become North Americans. Recognizing that this is a simplification, the Boers were settlers, not colonizers, in much the same fashion as happened in Virginia.

So that is it. Solding America out is not only good business but also very patriotic.

Not a lot of meat in the article.

At the end of the day China is extorting corporations. It has done so for decades with a variety of policies. China has been demanding danegeld for decades and corporations have been paying.

Why, exactly, do we expect the equilibrium for paying off extortion to be any different when it is a foreign power doing the extortion rather than a private entity? There is no one time payment and the screws will continue to tighten until the Chinese are no longer have good incentives for extorting corporations.

Can an individual corporation force China to change? Of course not. Walmart has the largest revenue of any corporation on the planet and only has around a half trillion of cash moving through. China has annual GDP that is 24 times larger.

It is time to stop pretending that our corporations are alone in standing against China. If China wishes to impose their policy through trade restrictions, then fine, they should lose MFN status. Frankly, at this point, I still don't understand how China is in the WTO or at least not being sanctioned every single day.

We keep trying to placate China, China keeps escalating its demands, does paying off extortion ever work in the long run? Is having a monopolist place drag on all intellectual property and all of the liberal values that we are told give rise to prosperity really worth it for a few percent off manufactured goods? It is time to stop paying the danegeld.

Which is the "dangeld," the lower material and energy costs? The lower labor costs? The lower environmental standards? The higher savings rate? This recent carping about free speech? Or the things that are more clearly illegal, like computer intrusions and data theft?

The problem with "China is bad" arguments is that they don't actually reward what is good, like greater internal freedom and democracy.

You can't have a carrot and stick argument without a carrot.

In such a better world, Hong Kong would not be off the table until "trade deals" were resolved. It would be central.

'In such a better world, Hong Kong would not be off the table until "trade deals" were resolved. It would be central.'

But the British are desperate for a trade deal with the U.S., and making Trump feel that they are in any way not 100% on board with whatever he wishes would be a real obstacle.

Oh wait, you were not talking about the former rulers of Hong Kong, were you?

Than a dumb guy who think's he's smart

Curios.

Lower material costs happen how exactly? China is a net-importer of materials from many places like Australia. Our costs for materials from Australia are in direct competition with China so China, if anything increases the price of materials in the US. This is particularly bad as China is building infrastructure that will, at best, pay out in decades so massive amounts of material (e.g. cement, steel, glass) are going into China in a manner which will not benefit anyone for some time. Copper, coal, iron, and oil are all among China's top imports and the material cost for those are all rising from China's decade long rapid infrastructure build out.

Or perhaps we should consider energy. China's average industrial cost for electricity is 8.4 cents per KwH. Shockingly, this is neither high nor low in the global context. And this is with China belching massive amounts of dirty coal into the atmosphere which just so happens to pollute the air all the way to California.

China has lower wages and was historically a place with reliable enough rules to make it work for international commerce. If the CCP wishes to abrogate the latter, say by violating contracts with an organization that publicly disavowed comments by a private individual, then they are left with only the former. They are far from the only place in the world that can cheaply supply manufacturing labor and we should not be willing to abandon our society just so some stock holders can make a buck at the expense of others.

And of course you can have pure stick, that was Roman policy in many places for centuries. Heck that was and is Chinese policy for Tibet and East Turkestan. Maybe it won't work, but we have been tossing carrots for two decades and what do we have ... a China which is less free than in the 80s, a China willing to violate treaty obligations, and a China willing to blackmail American corporations over the actions of private individuals. All while China has been building a stronger military, fortifying ludicrous claims in the South China Sea, and of course propping up some of the worst dictators in the world all while running a genocidal program of ethnic cleansing inside its borders.

When have the carrots worked? What do we expect them to change?

As is, our corporations are funding the Chinese state which in turn violates laws to go after other corporations and fund a competing military.

Time to revisit trade normalization. Yeah we got cheaper manufacturing, but the price hardly seems worth it when Vietnam, Cambodia, India, Pakistan, Malaysia, and Indonesia are all out there as potential replacements.

China is the world's largest miner and energy producer. Despite the trade "net" most materials and energy are sourced domestically. In fact domestic consumption makes that "net." You may compare Asian and North American steel prices here, but by math they are roughly 1/3 lower. Yes, China's electricity is commonly quoted at 8 cents per kwh, but that is lower than almost anyone else.

Time to revisit trade normalization. Yeah we got cheaper manufacturing, but the price hardly seems worth it when Vietnam, Cambodia, India, Pakistan, Malaysia, and Indonesia are all out there as potential replacements.

Now *that's* an interesting closing paragraph. It seems to accept an Asian advantage after all.

Danegeld all, perhaps.

Corporations want something from China - cheaper labor costs and lower environmental/compliance costs.

China demands that we pay in a variety of ways - no supporting Hong Kong, not dong anything that might suggest that the Taiwanese have the right to choose independence, and of course let them loot our IP with impunity.

We played nice for literally decades. We employed their labor, gave them far more access to our domestic market than they have given us to theirs, and we have not even done simple things like use the USN to enforce territorial claims of our allies.

And what has all of those various payments gotten us?

A bellicose China which now sees fit to dictate what does and does not warrant freedom of speech. A capricious China which shreds contracts over what one person says on twitter in a language most Chinese citizens cannot read.

At exactly what point is it going to be worth it to stop kowtowing? I mean they already have the whole lets dump ethnic minorities into a concentration camp to suppress their culture thing going. They already execute prisoners for spare parts. They already prop up all manner of horrid regimes overseas without even a fig leaf of anything other than real politik.

When should our government and our corporations say enough is enough? I mean if China demands that Chinese-Americans not criticize China, should we let such racism stand? If they demand someone be "punished" and it just so happens that some employees of an American corporation just so happen get into a physical altercation should we believe that is purely a matter of private individuals?

When do we say that China is extorting corporations, that it is doing so for things highly antithetical to the human rights, as defined formally by China via treaty, and that it is enough?

Frankly, I am willing to pay a small differential in cost to begin moving manufacturing out of China. Yeah I know that cheap wages are enticing, but let's start "nudging" our way towards other cheap labor. Brazil, South Africa, or heck Iran with a less antagonistic leadership would all be other options.

If free speech isn't worth some sacrifices, what is?

"And what has all of those various payments gotten us?"

2.2 billion iPhones?

What we want to do is balance the benefits for trade with promotion of human rights. Going back to a human rights review for most favored trade status is one way to do that.

re. carrots and sticks

Some reminders of Congressional/Presidential arguments on most favored trade status and human rights in the 1990s, here.

In what sense is China a monopolist? The entire Chinese economy is less than 20% of global GDP, and the Chinese government controls only some fraction of that. It is hard to think of how a company with a 20% market share could ever be considered a monopolist.

Nor is it an infringement on free speech for companies to modify their speech to avoid offending a customer. If you ran a consulting company that worked for oil companies, and one of your employees was very publicly criticizing the oil industry for contributing to climate change, you would probably tell that employee to stop. This sort of commercial pressure does not violate free speech because the employee can go work somewhere else. It only violates free speech if you are lobbying the government to ban criticism of oil companies.

In fact, criticism of China is everywhere in the US media, so it is clearly not the case that anti-China views are being censored in the US. If anything, pro-China views are being “censored” through commercial pressure and thus harder to find. Just look at the reaction to LeBron James who did not even support China but merely suggested that he and other players didn’t know enough about the issue to comment.

"it only violates free speech if you are lobbying the government to ban criticism of oil companies."

You are conflating free speech and the First Amendment. Free speech is not limited to the First Amendment. People and corporations can legally restrict free speech. They can also be criticized or shunned for their behavior.

The CCP is a monopolist in the sense that it sells access to the Chinese market and firms have no other supplier of access. You can append the word "regional" to "monopolist" if you must be pedantic, but it is really no different than a the old monopolies of the company towns. You have a captive population, you have no alternative suppliers except via the CCP, and shockingly, they charge non-competitive pricing and expect to get it.

"Nor is it an infringement on free speech for companies to modify their speech to avoid offending a customer."
Actually, it is. This whole line of legal reasoning was done to death during the civil rights era. An employer may not simply fire an employee for speech with which the employer disagrees; you must show that such firings are non-discriminatory. Showing solidarity for individuals of one national origin, like say Hong Kong, would prima facie fit into non-discrimination law.

In any event, China had everything you ask for: the team owner disowned the post, the post was deleted, and the employee stopped speaking. Yet AFTER all that, China decided to blacklist the whole organization. So please, cut the crap and be honest. China wants a head on a pike and it is immaterial if the employee stopped saying "offensive things".

"In fact, criticism of China is everywhere in the US media, so it is clearly not the case that anti-China views are being censored in the US."
Right. Sure. People who make millions of dollars and whose livelihoods are not on line are free to say things ... for now. I mean as long as nobody important gets shot, who cares? It is always disingenuous to talk about free speech issues by looking at the people most protected from retaliation.

If this were about anything close to what you speciously claim China would have taken the disavowal and deletion of the offending remark and called it good. Instead China intends to do more of this crap going forward, and indeed has been doing this in many contexts with many companies, and they intend to send a signal. Great, if one central government is involved, it is time for another to step up to the plate.

China will keep pulling this crap until they are made to stop; better to do so now than later.

Certainly it is within our rights, as American consumers, to hold China, and its affiliated corporations, to the same standards. Their petty tyrannies are offensive to us, I suggest they tell Xi Jinping to apologize before it hurts their bottom line.

That's the definition of a sovereign government, no? It has a monoply on access to a particular territory, which it enforces ultimately with its monopoly on violence.

Why yes, most governments behave at times as monopolists. Some choose to use their monopoly powers frequently, others infrequently. Some choose to do so for things like preventing tampering with medication; China appears to be doing it to punish people who hold opinions it dislikes.

We should simply start treating how they are acting: like an actor bent on achieving domination and indifferent to human suffering of their causing.

To what extent do business firms prefer to do business in authoritarian countries?

Again, the NBA is not being criticized for speaking out against China. It is being criticized for silencing a private citizen making a statement on his private Twitter.

The guy did not include a disclaimer that he was speaking for himself and not for the team or the NBA.

That rule part of the social media policy of most business organizations is regularly enforced on low level employees everyday.

The only issue here is that D. Morey thought he was more than a low level employee.

Holy post-hoc rationalization. If that were the problem, the NBA would have stated so originally.

And wouldn't have simultaneously praised the Chinese government.

Foreign companies *have* changed and increased freedom in China. Chinese people are much more exposed to foreign culture and media, and have much greater choice in what media to view and what products to buy, compared to in 1980.

Also in the news today, it looks like the Vietnamese government is censoring a DreamWorks kid’s movie because it had a map of China that included some disputed territories: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/15/world/asia/abominable-vietnam-china-map.html. This seems to be an identical action to the Chinese government’s censorship—but will we see any outrage over this story?

The 50 Cent Party strikes back.

Do you deny any part of my comment?

Sure. I deny that the Socialist Republic of Vietnam's actions are like the Red Chinese actions at all. You are a liar and a shill.

Vietnam's government and political economy are very similar to China's:

https://nationalinterest.org/feature/vietnams-crackdown-dissidents-isnt-new-33081

The primary difference is scale: China is large, powerful, and independent enough to challenge the US.

People who ignore this about Vietnam or champion Vietnam as an ally against China, like many China hawks do, are ideologically inconsistent. Obviously they're more motivated by realpolitik and a simple national interest and power calculus.

Either it is inconsistency, or it is results focused. Vietnam is not powerful enough to threaten the harm that China can. Spreading out our investment in cheaper manufacturing to many smaller nations is indeed far less likely to result in detriments to human rights.

I mean I don't real get it. Paying off a bunch of petty dictators makes it much easier to reign any one of them in; paying off your single largest competitor makes it ever harder to reign anyone in as bad actors can more easily seek a patron in China.

Size brings about problems of its own right.

It's not about paying off "petty dictators" to "reign them in". It's about allying with them and forming a coalition that's roughly equal in power to balance the larger adversary. "Reigning them in" would be called imperialism.

The only reason you'd ally and form a coalition with equivalent regimes is if you were motivated not by ideological consistency but by realpolitik and national interest and power.

Reigning them in would be called diminishing human suffering.

For better or worse, the US is the most benevolent hegemon in world history. It would be far better to have the wealth currently flowing to the CCP spread out to a larger number of governments in more areas, even if all those governments were as equally as bad on human rights and any other measure of basic human decency as the CCP. A smaller, non-nuclear regime can be more easily curtailed than a single large one.

I mean we saw this historically. In South America, Brazil had a far worse record on things like slavery than any of the smaller states which could be more easily reigned in by the US even though the rest of South America was more powerful than Brazil alone. Or take the Holy Roman Empire, when Britain and other external actors were sluicing money to a half dozen states, we had few wars and a shocking lack of German conquest. When all the cash was flowing to just one state we had horrific wars and of course the two most deadly conflicts known to man.

And we have seen this domestically. When near monopolists have to divest of assets, they have far better returns when they spread them out over many competitors than just a few.

It would be one thing if China were systemically seeking to destroy the regime that gave the globe prosperity and more peace than it has known in thousands of years. But given that we have a bunch of revanchists in power in Beijing, the world would have just a little bit less death and brutality if the CCP was not being rewarded with easy trade benefits.

At the end of the day, for a long ways, real politik for the US is a pretty good approximation of human flourishing.

1) Not true at all. The Socialist Republic is rebuilding Vietnam after the French, Japanese, American, Chinese aggressions and creating a real free and prosperous society.
2) We already knew Red China censors its own media to suit its oligarchy's interests. We can not allow it to censor America's media as it has done lately.

I can't speak to Vietnam, but I think whether China's exposure to foreign media is freer now than in 1980 is open to debate. In the 1980s there was no effort made to cater media or products specifically to requirements of the CCP, but today, every major film looks at CCP compliance as a bare minimum.

At least the Chinese in 1980 who had exposure to Western media had exposure in a less adulterated form - reading bootleg novels smuggled into the country instead of heavily censored versions produced locally.

I would argue it's worse for freedom to have access to a lot of sanitized media, than scant access to uncensored media. The CCP has to work less hard because Hollywood and the NBA will do a lot of the heavy lifting on their own. This whole episode makes the CCP look stronger and more legitimized in the eyes of the Chinese.

That won't stop companies from saying any engagement is better than no engagement, but they are wrong. It hasn't worked yet and there's no indication it will ever work.

"This seems to be an identical action to the Chinese government’s censorship—but will we see any outrage over this story?"

Both Vietnam's action here and the many actions of a similar nature by China are outrageous and should be condemned. Of course, China's other behaviors in Hong Kong and attempting to seize the Spratly Islands are worse. China is a thuggish, pseudo-Communist authoritarian regime that is massively oppressing it's own citizens. Some of the worst of that oppression include running concentration camps for hundreds of thousands of Uighurs.

"This seems to be an identical action to the Chinese government’s censorship—but will we see any outrage over this story?"

The outrage is that Dreamworks included the map in the first place.

They obviously include the Chinese map to avoid Chinese censorship. Vietnam's market is too small to matter.

Personally, both Vietnam and China are Reds so they both suck.

Huh. It's like business is concerned with making money and doesn't embody some sort of higher principle.

We could take this a couple of steps further and realize that (gasp) economics were made for the society, and not the society for economics. Maybe we shouldn't be enlisting these mercenary institutions in our Whiggish crusades?

Therein lies the hypocrisy.
These institutions are like the surgeon's scalpel possessing both the ability to heal and harm.
Yet it is the surgeon wants to change society.
Gillette wants to change men from one state into another. Presumably because men aren't good enough as they exist.
Google/Alphabet wants us to believe it is a mere intermediary in a great global dialogue and yet it works not only to help but even facilitate repression in China with its collaboration into a social scoring system and using its high tech ability to repress free speech.

Let the crusades proceed. They will clog our streets and airwaves soon enough.

"even facilitate repression in China"

Yes, we need to ban US corporations from assisting repressive governments like we ban foreign bribes.

We can start by imposing tariffs and banning student visas, amirite?

Good idea.

Yes.

Stop the "Confucius Institutes" at campuses too.

Good point.

Pounding on these strawmen does nothing to rehabilitate your awful take on this matter, Tyler. No one is criticizing the NBA for not effecting social change in China. They're criticizing the NBA for its avarice and its toadying, getting into bed with China so enthusiastically that it even opened a training camp inside a concentration camp, and then publicly abasing itself and attacking its own fans in order to protect China from the least amount of criticism. It's being criticized for its hypocrisy, crafting a public image as some sort of moral arbiter within the US but then running for cover with embarrassing and insulting excuses when asked to take a moral stance that might actually run the risk that a bunch of really rich people might not keep getting richer at the same rate.

The NBA made political choices in order to make money. Why you think it should be insulated from public criticism of those choices is unfathomable to me.

+1, Well said

That's different, though, because Trump. There is no equivalency between Trump and the authoritarian regime of Beijing. Trump is much worse.

I agree, Tyler. Isn't it sad that people are saying all these mean things about the NBA all of a sudden, and accusing the league of hypocrisy? I've been an emotional basketcase the last two weeks over the sheer injustice of it all.

Maybe one problem with the proffered account: by TC's representation, companies are more apt to affect ("simulate"?) change than to effect ("realize", "instantiate") change.

By the by: what is a good long-term approach for luring an authoritarian state away from state capitalism to a system of well-regulated capitalism not so prone to political interference (not so prone to merely enforcing state control over economic performance and participation)?

The framing is wrong for me. The question is never about corporation driving change in some government's behavior. It is really about just what type of entities they are willing to do business with.

Seems that the focus on can they or can't they drive such change is as much about rationalizing their willingness to engage with governments such as China (Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, South Africa, perhaps dated now, ...) in the pursuit of profits.

It's true that if they choose not to do business in some locations that will cause pain and possibly change but to say corporation should be judged on the outcome of external entities, rather than their internal decisions, seems, well, silly.

Maybe that is why Brazilians are hated so much. While Red China tries to censoe American media, Turkey murders our Kurdish allies and Ukraine plays dirty games to get ahead with Disonest Donald, Brazil's President, Captain Bolsonaro, has ordered a federal investigation on his own party, PSL. Earlier today, federal agents stormed the house of the Party's President, Mr. Bivar, in search of proofs of wrongdoing. Brazil's leader, Mr. Bolsonaro has vowed to get to the bottom of the situation and make sure the guilty parts are sternly punished.

There was a time when Mr. Goldwater could proudly state: "Now, certainly, simple honesty is not too much to demand of men in government. We find it in most. Republicans demand it from everyone. They demand it from everyone no matter how exalted or protected his position might be." Maybe we should take a leaf from the Bolsonaro/Goldwater playbook and make America really great again.

Link to the Reason Podcast on this issue:

https://reason.com/podcast/is-everyone-wrong-about-nba-china-hong-kong-except-south-park-and-ted-cruz/

Some activists and advocates believe believe that some companies care more about their Bottom Lines than Human Rights. Others believe that companies should abandon their quest for profits and stake-holder value and instead devote themselves to promoting political and religious agendas. Still others feel that athletes should care less about to winning games or setting records but instead should concentrate on furthering Social Justice,
Views vary. We should celebrate diversity. Why is no one objecting to the Make America Great campaign? Shouldn't Americans care just as much about making everyone and every country Great?
While Tyler is trolling about Slavery, real people are suffering.

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