Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Mind bending experiment in China

This article from MIT Technology Review discusses the Great Chinese experiment of instituting the scientific mindset onto its research community in a top-down manner. Much of the funding is mandated by the bureaucrats in the Communist party. Big brother is always watching what the scientists say to foreigners. And cultivating the ethos, the discipline of science, faces challenges from two deep-rooted cultural problems: the Confucian problem and the plagiarism problem. Harmony, consensus and respect for authority or elders, broadly the Confucian mindset, goes against the most fundamental aspect of modern science where the senior-most professor can be challenged by the youngest of students. The other problem is the complete ignorance or disrespect of intellectual property rights, trademarks and the stealing or the widespread practice of incorporating ideas without attribution.

This article from Newsweek talks about Chinese industrial and governmental espionage (including some in India) in its drive to acquire high-technology at any cost.

Goes to show that you can beg, borrow or steal, but none of it can help you create mind bending miracles, like inculcating the spirit of scientific enquiry. (What are they going to think of next? Introducing democracy by decree?)


Prashant Kothari said...

Great point...

China (and India) are rising but its going to be a long time before either country can replicate the innovatiness or the quality of research emanating from American univs or its cutting-edge firms...

As I've said earlier, the "America is declining" crowd are way off base


Anonymous said...

Patents as used today are hardly a tool for encouraging creativity. They are more like a land grab. Zipper ? POST IT notes ? Such ultra-genius ideas that no one else would have thought of it a nd has to pay the original inventors forever ? gimme a break!


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