IBM Selling PC Business, Probably To Chinese Company
Daniel Gross has a column in Slate
today about how IBM is selling its comparatively tiny PC-making business, and how the likely purchaser is a Chinese corporation, Lenovo. The column is pretty glib in tone. After delineating two plausible American reactions-- one that's hyperactively optimistic about globalism and another that's relentlessly nationalistic and negative about "American" titles being owned by foreigners--Gross essentially dismisses both of them:
And hey, we've been through this before. In the 1980s, Japanese investors recycled dollars into American landmark properties like Rockefeller Center—what if they had taken the GE building and the skating rink back to Osaka? Pat Buchanan, call your agent! You too, Michael Crichton! It's time for Another Rising Sun.
I can't begin to address the economic nuances of IBM Thinkpad profits being feeding the value of stocks on the Honk Kong Stock Exchange instead of the NYSE. But I have to wonder if Gross is being a little disingenuous or, at least, overly-glib. Buried in all the wit is the single occurrence of an important phrase: authoritarian central government
. Well, that seems like a mild understatement. There's a big difference between Japan and China: Japan is a democracy with comparatively strong individual rights, a very low-key military, and strong friendship with the United States. So, for that matter, is Germany. The People's Republic of China is not. We really ought to keep that in mind more often.