Copying trade secrets and catching up

From Ed Crooks in The Financial Times (register to get past paywall)

US charges Sinovel with trade secret theft

The US government has charged Sinovel, one of the largest Chinese wind turbine manufacturers, with stealing trade secrets from one of its US suppliers, alleging the offence amounted to “attempted corporate homicide”.

If we skip over the fact that this brings the personification of the corporation to a new and, well, corporeal level (I’ll leave that matter to Yves Smith), here’s your Rorschach: is Sinovel the hero and AMSC the villain, or vice versa? Continue reading

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Insourcing?

GE Hybrid Electric Water Heaters Appliance Park, Kentucky

James Fallows, in The Atlantic, reminds us that one of the problems with Boeing’s Dreamliner has been excessive outsourcing. And he directs us to Charles Fishman‘s story, in the same publication, about some insourcing in General Electric’s household appliance manufacturing.

Fishman’s story is really two stories.
Continue reading

Ma Jian’s Odyssey

Red Dust (2002) is marketed as a travel book, and I picked it up because travel books are appreciated in my household – any interesting one is a good present to bring home. And it is a great travel book, an account of Ma’s wanderings around China in the mid-1980s, with the travel book requisites of an outsider’s empathetic but detached and wry observations about people and places we don’t know ourselves. The sense of the separation between places – especially in the countryside, where the country’s big cities, or any city at all, seem to have mythical status – is vividly conveyed, as are the institutions of party and state, which bind together and control even the most remote parts. Poverty and emerging wealth, material progress and pollution, cruelty and kindness are all delivered economically, showing rather than telling, mostly in sketches of people Ma meets and of their circumstances. Whether for understanding people, or the country in a particular period, the book is well worthwhile.

But if Red Dust is a travel book, then Homer’s Odyssey is a travel book. Continue reading