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Thursday, December 16, 2004
Intellectual property bad for long-term corporate profits?Philip Greenspun writes that Checking the top 10 out of the Fortune 500 companies, for example, we find Walmart right on top, followed by Exxon Mobil. Except for IBM none of the companies feels like one based on intellectual property and even IBM these days gets most of its revenue from services. Certainly it is tough to see how an insurance company such as AIG (#10) and a bank such as Citigroup (#8) are living large from patents.Perhaps intellectual property for a corporation is like oil for a Third World nation. The government of an Arab or African country need not worry about being efficient nor about the education of its subjects as long as it can just dig a hole and money comes out of the ground. Which gets us back to the question of... what kind of business should one start given that one already has a person on the ground in Shanghai.
Philip argues that those few who succeed in the Asian/Chinese educational system seem to lack creativity because the competitive atmosphere requires students to focus intensely on giving teachers the unoriginal-but-correct answers if they are to get that rare access.In the right environment, others around them can learn to appreciate creativity. And if you want to motivate those others to learn faster, why not use the same motivator that has pushed them through years of difficult schooling? However,nationals that I've worked with from China,Singapore,Japan and several other Asian countries are not non-creative because they are so focussed on being correct. They are non-creative because their system have actively discouraged originality, regardless of whether it is correct or not. As with the professional roles they will later encounter, the educational systems and scial strcutures are by and large relegiously hierarchical; those lower in the hierarchy (students, laborers, young professionals) owe much more respect and deference to those higher (teachers, managers, executives) than are seen in the western world.Growing Asian economies would somedya require tonnes of creativity, which would cascase down to their citizens-- the inevitable effect of globalisation - But Asia shall adapt to this - adapatation is the priciple driver of asian growth and prosperity. |
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