Boycott or self-imposed embargo?


Quick post for today. I need to start writing even though, I’m still depressed from LAST sundays election results.

However, I’m keeping myself abreast with all the hate going around, including the latest ‘Buy Chinese Last Movement’ or BCLM. If you don’t know what it is, just Google it and you’ll find out, it’s the latest in a string of racist movements that have spawned since Pru-13, and it probably won’t be the last.

There’s a lot I want to get off my mind, but this so called ‘boycott’ of Chinese products seems to make little sense. It reminds me of the time when Malaysians were encouraged to boycott Israeli goods and services–a lot of good that did us. In fact, I feel that it’s impossible to boycott someone who has better tech than you–because when you boycott a country with better technology than you, that’s not a boycott–it’s a self-imposed embargo.

Think about it, the Arab League has been boycotting Israel since 1948, that’s more than 50 years ago. What impact did the boycott have on Israel? Well take a look for yourself:

Israel GDP per capita vs. Malaysia

The Israeli economy makes the Malaysian ‘Tiger’ economy look like slow poke Rodriguez. Their GDP per capita has increased at a constantly higher rate than Malaysia, I’m not comparing Israel to Malaysia, I’m just putting their economy into context–and remember folks the entire Arab League boycotted Israel since it’s inception.

The Israelis have gone their merry way, becoming a core country for companies like Microsoft, Google and even Intel. There’s basically not a single shred of technology that you can buy today that in some way did not come from somewhere in Israel. My favorite traffic avoiding App, Waze–is an Israeli invention, the technology in the kinect is from Israel and there’s a whole bunch more. So don’t tell me we’re boycotting Israel, the boycott only has political consequences, no economic ones…not for Israel at least.

So we’re back at square one again, a bunch of racist bigots thinking that by somehow not buying specific brands or frequenting certain businesses the Chinese in the country will ‘learn’–not only is this such a childish idea akin to my niece saying ‘let’s not friend them anymore’ the very fact that ALL the data suggest that it wasn’t a Chinese Tsunami, but rather an Urban one makes my blood boil that such people are so ignorant of the evidence. Not just ignorant, but arrogantly ignorant.

Boycotts don’t work–they just send a political message, but almost never achieve their desired economical objective. Add this to the fact, that the country with the most technology wins–and you’ll realize that Malaysia is in no position to boycott anything. We sent a man to space, built the worlds tallest building and even the 4th longest bridge in South East Asia–but we did it all with someone elses technology, whether it was the Russians, Japanese or Koreans. So until we start to develop our own technology–our boycotts will be nothing more than self-imposed embargoes. So the next time you switch on Waze, play with your XBox, or even use any PC with an Intel Inside Chip, just remember how our good (and technologically) superior friends in Israel help make it possible.

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