Xiaohe, Lu. “Ethical Issues in the Globalization of the Knowledge Economy.” Business Ethics: A European Review 10 2 (2001): 113-19. Print.

In this article Xiaohe considers China’s relationship to knowledge economies and globalization.  Because Xiaohe sees China’s economy as already globalized, it follows that – despite being primarily composed of manufacture and industrial applications – China’s economy is also becoming converted to a knowledge economy on the scale of the US or Germany.  Because China is moving toward a knowledge economy it is currently facing some difficult questions about the role of intellectual property rights in the formation of its economic future.

Xiaohe concentrates on a couple of different facets of intellectual property rights in this piece.  The author first considers knowledge ownership and provides two understandings of fair-use doctrine currently being bandied about by Chinese lawyers.  First, in the “extra-normal world level” position, all software copyright infringement is wrong.  Second, in the “normal world level” position, unauthorized use might be legal for families and individual users if their uses are within a “reasonable scope” (114).  The author then considers how Chinese knowledge workers play a role in the “plundering of knowledge” by Western technology firms by using Chinese developers to create high-tech products which are then packaged by Western nations and sold back to the Chinese at higher costs.  Finally, the author investigates how wage-based brain-drain and if protectionism will provide a middle-way that values Chinese creativity and disallows cheaper foreign imports.

Going forward, Xiaohe recommends a couple of different ethical guidelines for China’s entry into the globalized knowledge economy: 1)  balance the protection of intellectual property and of public interests; 2)  balance market rules and national interests and; 3) balance the protection of intellectual property and of developing countries’ cultural achievements (116-8).

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