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  • Law, Policy -- and IT?

    Tracy Mitrano explores the intersection where higher education, the Internet and the world meet (and sometimes collide).

Comment on "Quero"
July 14, 2011 - 8:15am

[I have wonderful students in the course I am teaching this summer! This student has commented on Quero, the project that E.U. brought to counteract the perceived U.S. cultural bias of Google. The project died, which the student notes, with this conclusion: "It must be that the Free Market in the US and the more relaxed regulation better favors innovation and success. It might be that Europe is better at regulating Internet and new Technology but it seems it might be the case that there would not be much to regulate without the innovative market from the US."

My comment to her observation is below:]

Wonderful analysis with an eye for the world outside the U.S.! And your conclusion is keen.

The French, it seems to me, are caught in the weaknesses of their strength: “culture,” including language, as its own “thing” to worship and glorify. Thus, they can sometimes, in my view, reduce important policy issues to wee matters such as the Quero project. The market responded: U.S. culture, such as it is, has a power all of its own, and is in fact globally dominant, whether the French like it or not. (I am no fan of American popular culture, but never mind.)

My point is to support yours. The issues are much larger than “cultural bias.” As Westerns, the French and the U.S., or the E.U. and the U.S., have so much more in common when you look at our cultures from the perspective of native peoples, traditional African or Asian cultures. What E.U. can instruct the U.S. on is a social policy that supports the middle class in contrast to a direction in the U.S. that is to exacerbate the extremes. Our own cultural blinders, summed up in the notion of “American exceptionalism,” keep us from seeing the options that E.U. offers in stabilizing social relations in the middle instead of the extremes.

We, too, it would seem are caught in the weaknesses of our strengths. Must be something about power that not only corrupts, but blinds.


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