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Schmidt, Daughter Talk About North Korea Trip

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the best-korea dept.

Google 187

Eric Schmidt attracted headlines when he visited North Korea, but until now he has said little about the trip. Today he broke his silence with a Google+ post. He says in part: "As the world becomes increasingly connected, the North Korean decision to be virtually isolated is very much going to affect their physical world and their economic growth. It will make it harder for them to catch up economically. We made that alternative very, very clear. Once the internet starts in any country, citizens in that country can certainly build on top of it, but the government has to do one thing: open up the Internet first. They have to make it possible for people to use the Internet, which the government of North Korea has not yet done. It is their choice now, and in my view, it’s time for them to start, or they will remain behind." His daughter had some interesting things to say as well, "The best description we could come up with: it's like The Truman Show, at country scale."

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Where is the profit (4, Funny)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 2 years ago | (#42642661)

Eric Schmidt visits a farm and tells the farmer than his cows would be far better off with internet access. The farmer looks at him like he is fucking stupid. Where is the benefit for him in doing that?

Re:Where is the profit (2, Insightful)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 2 years ago | (#42642711)

Thank you so much for that terrible analogy.

Re:Where is the profit (2)

Cryacin (657549) | about 2 years ago | (#42642815)

You should have used a car analogy instead.

Re:Where is the profit (2)

jimmyfrank (1106681) | about 2 years ago | (#42642721)

Farmers in NK with cows?

My freelance gig in front of Windows 8 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42642731)

Having used Windows 8 extensively over the past month, I can now say with confidence that not only is the new UI a disaster, but all the people who said that it's faster or technically superior to Windows 7 are dirty fat liars, too.

Re:Where is the profit (5, Informative)

k-run (74865) | about 2 years ago | (#42642767)

Farmers in India can get weather and crop pricing information via SMS on their basic 'feature' phones. It is progress, even if it seems painfully slow to those of us who live in the west.

mod parent up (1)

funkboy (71672) | about 2 years ago | (#42643045)

This is the kind of stuff that they need. Even Iran- or China-level internet access (open by default but filter the crap out of everything & spy on the rest) would be a massive improvement for NK 'net users, which could be more aptly referred to as the "Kimternet". If it ain't on the NK propaganda network, they don't have access to it.

Not that I'm advocating that model of course, but it'd be an improvement over what they have now.

Re:Where is the profit (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42642789)

derp de herp

Re:Where is the profit (5, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 2 years ago | (#42642871)

Eric Schmidt visits a farm and tells the farmer than his cows would be far better off with internet access. The farmer looks at him like he is fucking stupid. Where is the benefit for him in doing that?

You are so right on.

Most people here have never been to Korea and can't really understand the dynamics of what is going on in both South and North Korea.

There is very little chance that Eric Schmidt or any of his "people" saw anything that the North did not want them to see... Which is most of North Korea, which is in a state of extreme poverty on levels that most American, most Westerners simply can not understand.

This was a PR trip for the North Koreans, a way to leverage media in the West to believe that things are not as bad in the North as they really are.

As the US Government said, this was not a "useful" trip, it was a PR trip for the North Koreans, who continue to develop Nuclear Weapons at the cost of feeding their people.

Re:Where is the profit (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42643091)

it was a PR trip for the North Koreans, who continue to develop Nuclear Weapons at the cost of feeding their people.

Like America? Ten aircraft carriers and crippling poverty in some parts of the country. Why would any government want their people to suffer?

Re:Where is the profit (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42643251)

A navy that secures shipping routes for every trading nation on Earth vs nuclear weapons that do nothing except keep the Kim family in power. The more you "butwhataboutAmerica" posters bring up America, the more absurd you appear in the eyes of ordinary people.

Re:Where is the profit (1)

mug funky (910186) | about 2 years ago | (#42643949)

of course. they're exactly the same. EXACTLY the same.

if read another freaking north korean tweet about some first world problem they're having, honestly i'm going to unsubscribe.

Re:Where is the profit (4, Interesting)

maugle (1369813) | about 2 years ago | (#42643105)

I'm pretty sure they didn't mean for them to see the power outage in the subway system, and especially not all the NK citizens automatically pulling out their flashlights (indicating "yeah, this happens all the time").

Re:Where is the profit (2)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about 2 years ago | (#42643249)

Where is the benefit for him in doing that?

In order to stay wealthy, enjoy trappings, and stay in power, dictators need to placate people below them, and the people below them, and so forth. To do that takes money, and without an economy you don't have money - So the benefit is it helps give NK an economy, which helps keep the elite rich.

Re:Where is the profit (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 2 years ago | (#42643309)

Where is the benefit for him in doing that?

In order to stay wealthy, enjoy trappings, and stay in power, dictators need to placate people below them, and the people below them, and so forth. To do that takes money, and without an economy you don't have money - So the benefit is it helps give NK an economy, which helps keep the elite rich.

The problem I see for the NK government is that expectations would rise faster than the economic benefit of openness, with the result that the government would try ways to selectively open the economy but in the process blow holes in their hold on power. It would be nice to think that this would lead to a cascading collapse but I personally think the government will keep the lid firmly on their country.

Information bubble in the USA too? (3, Insightful)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | about 2 years ago | (#42643483)

From the article: "Ordinary North Koreans [US Citizens?] live in a near-total information bubble, without any true frame of reference. I can't think of any reaction to that except absolute sympathy. My understanding is that North Koreans [US Americans?] are taught to believe they are lucky to be in North Korea [the USA?], so why would they ever want to leave? They're hostages in their own country, without any real consciousness of it. And the opacity of the country's inner workings--down to the basics of its economy--further serves to reinforce the state's control. The best description we could come up with: it's like The Truman Show, at country scale. "

How true is that for the USA? I still hear people talking about how the USA has the best health care in the world, the healthiest population, the most upward mobility for its population, the best food supply, the highest level of democracy, the lowest taxes, the best education system, the most productive workers, and so on... And many US Americans still believe that creating artificial scarcity through copyrights, patents, and perpetual warfare is the path to abundance, and that draconian drug laws and draconian computer crime laws are the path to security... And many US Americans think there is little relation between what they eat and how they feel... Most US Americans have been taught to be afraid of sunlight when outdoor workers get less melanomas than indoor office workers... Many US Americans think we should reduce the US government debt when that is (unfortunatley) what creates the US money supply... Etc... Etc...

Contrast with what John Taylor Gatto says about schooling:
http://johntaylorgatto.com/chapters/16a.htm [johntaylorgatto.com]
"As soon as you break free of the orbit of received wisdom you have little trouble figuring out why, in the nature of things, government schools and those private schools which imitate the government model have to make most children dumb, allowing only a few to escape the trap. The problem stems from the structure of our economy and social organization. When you start with such pyramid-shaped givens and then ask yourself what kind of schooling they would require to maintain themselves, any mystery dissipates -- these things are inhuman conspiracies all right, but not conspiracies of people against people, although circumstances make them appear so. School is a conflict pitting the needs of social machinery against the needs of the human spirit. It is a war of mechanism against flesh and blood, self-maintaining social mechanisms that only require human architects to get launched.
    I'll bring this down to earth. Try to see that an intricately subordinated industrial/commercial system has only limited use for hundreds of millions of self-reliant, resourceful readers and critical thinkers. In an egalitarian, entrepreneurially based economy of confederated families like the one the Amish have or the Mondragon folk in the Basque region of Spain, any number of self-reliant people can be accommodated usefully, but not in a concentrated command-type economy like our own. Where on earth would they fit? In a great fanfare of moral fervor some years back, the Ford Motor Company opened the world's most productive auto engine plant in Chihuahua, Mexico. It insisted on hiring employees with 50 percent more school training than the Mexican norm of six years, but as time passed Ford removed its requirements and began to hire school dropouts, training them quite well in four to twelve weeks. The hype that education is essential to robot-like work was quietly abandoned. Our economy has no adequate outlet of expression for its artists, dancers, poets, painters, farmers, filmmakers, wildcat business people, handcraft workers, whiskey makers, intellectuals, or a thousand other useful human enterprises -- no outlet except corporate work or fringe slots on the periphery of things. Unless you do "creative" work the company way, you run afoul of a host of laws and regulations put on the books to control the dangerous products of imagination which can never be safely tolerated by a centralized command system.
    Before you can reach a point of effectiveness in defending your own children or your principles against the assault of blind social machinery, you have to stop conspiring against yourself by attempting to negotiate with a set of abstract principles and rules which, by its nature, cannot respond. Under all its disguises, that is what institutional schooling is, an abstraction which has escaped its handlers. Nobody can reform it. First you have to realize that human values are the stuff of madness to a system; in systems-logic the schools we have are already the schools the system needs; the only way they could be much improved is to have kids eat, sleep, live, and die there."

Just a different sort of bubble? Sometimes I wonder if the Earth itself is still embaroged from the rest of the galactic civilization based on respecting some crazy decisions made by our ancestors untold millenia ago? :-)

Re:Information bubble in the USA too? (2)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 2 years ago | (#42643645)

I personally know several US families who have travelled to my country and chosen to stay here. They have plenty of freedom to learn about other countries.

Re:Information bubble in the USA too? (1)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | about 2 years ago | (#42643745)

Some North Koreans have escaped that bubble too: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Korean_defectors [wikipedia.org]

What does that prove? Getting beyond a pervasive cultural way of thinking is also something other than learning a few tidbits of information... And most ex-pats will never have the quality of life abroad that native born citizens will in there host countries (with natives embedded in family and community and stories for generations, and with expats facing security risks if anti-Americanism rises). An extreme example of that (Michael Ruppert):
http://www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/110706_mcr_evolution.shtml [fromthewilderness.com]

Re:Information bubble in the USA too? (0)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 2 years ago | (#42643883)

North Korea is a prison camp, not a pervasive cultural way of thinking. Your analogy is invalid.

"oh come on dad" (5, Funny)

bitt3n (941736) | about 2 years ago | (#42642703)

"do I have to post this on google+? I wanted my friends to see it."

Re:"oh come on dad" (5, Funny)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 2 years ago | (#42642757)

You've hit on the real news behind this story - someone actually posted something on Google+!

Re:"oh come on dad" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42642903)

Actually, it's on google sites... and she complains about how shitty it is

> blame Google Sites (and this two-column structure idea of mine) for limited functionality.

Re:"oh come on dad" (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | about 2 years ago | (#42643129)

I would hope that Schmit's kid would know about Ctrl-C Ctrl-V.

Make his daughter the ambassador (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42643197)

Eric Schmidt's daughter's post is great. 'Pity that the old man doesn't have a similar level of insight. I cringe at his every public statement. He seriously needs an adviser living on no more than $40k a year and working on a farm to bring him slightly towards reality.

Most billionaires don't seem as totally disconnected from real life as Schmidt, so oblivious to the importance of privacy. It's a shame, especially if he'd doing "ambassadorial" trips like this.

2013 - Year Of Linux On The North Korea (4, Funny)

History's Coming To (1059484) | about 2 years ago | (#42642705)

They also demonstrated their software and technology based on open source (mostly Linux)

Re:2013 - Year Of Linux On The North Korea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42642741)

Showing once and for all that Linux is for communists.

Time to upgrade to good old capitalist Windows!

Re:2013 - Year Of Linux On The North Korea (4, Funny)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 2 years ago | (#42642753)

Free is just another word for socialist!

Re:2013 - Year Of Linux On The North Korea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42643333)

> Free is just another word for socialist!

Not always. Apologize to the atmosphere.

Re:2013 - Year Of Linux On The North Korea (1)

mug funky (910186) | about 2 years ago | (#42644033)

i would like to assure you and your viewers that there's no air shortage whatsoever!

"Oh that's just great" (1)

ultranaut (727657) | about 2 years ago | (#42642751)

"Why didn't somebody tell us sooner?"

Wow! (5, Insightful)

Mullen (14656) | about 2 years ago | (#42642775)

Eric Schmidt from Google goes to North Korea and tells them the path to prosperity is open up to the Internet? Are you fucking serious? Uh, Eric, you know what you should have told them the path to prosperity was; the North Korean government should completely and radically change from a multi-generational dictatorship to a representative Democracy and Capitalistic System, with the intent of reunification with their southern brothers. Close the Concentration Camps (Yes, I said Concentration Camps), get rid of the failed centralized economy, stop starving your citizens and stop trying to cling to power and accept that the citizens of NK probably would be much better off without the current NK government. Opening up to the Internet is probably about 15th on the list of things they should do.

Flying to NK and trying to convenience them to use Android Smart Phones or Google Applications for Dictatorships is pretty naive and well, fucking selfish. People are really starving and dying and giving them a couple of pointers on how to use the Internet is, well, dumb.

Re:Wow! (5, Interesting)

Iamthecheese (1264298) | about 2 years ago | (#42642803)

"open up the internet" is something they will listen to. "stop being isolationist" isn't. The best advice, ignored, is just noise.

Re:Wow! (2)

Trepidity (597) | about 2 years ago | (#42642823)

"Open up the internet" certainly isn't something they're going to listen to.

Re:Wow! (4, Insightful)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 2 years ago | (#42642861)

No, it's not something they will listen to.

North Korea is having an ongoing national psychotic episode. Not much anybody can do. That 'anybody' is mostly China BTW, but they let N. Korea continue for their own reasons.

Re:Wow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42643369)

North Korea is having an ongoing national psychotic episode.

What do you mean? N. Koreans have single payer healthcare. They're aren't wrecking the planet with their industry. They give everyone a state funded education. They don't have mass killings in their schools. They aren't invading any middle east nations. They rank among the lowest in per capita carbon emissions of all nations. Their media is devoid of all that disgusting marketing. There aren't any fat N. Koreans below Kim Jong-un because being in the 1% means eating almost regularly. Fair and healthy at the same time.

About as sane as can be given contemporary Western sensibilities.

Re:Wow! (2, Insightful)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about 2 years ago | (#42643407)

They're aren't wrecking the planet with their industry.

What industry?

There aren't any fat N. Koreans below Kim Jong-un because being in the 1% means eating almost regularly. Fair and healthy at the same time.

It's pretty easy to be skinny when there's so little food that families are often reduced to eating grass to stay alive, and have children dying of starvation a regular occurence.

Re:Wow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42643629)

North Korea is having an ongoing national psychotic episode.

What do you mean? N. Koreans have single payer healthcare. They're aren't wrecking the planet with their industry. They give everyone a state funded education. They don't have mass killings in their schools. They aren't invading any middle east nations. They rank among the lowest in per capita carbon emissions of all nations. Their media is devoid of all that disgusting marketing. There aren't any fat N. Koreans below Kim Jong-un because being in the 1% means eating almost regularly. Fair and healthy at the same time.

About as sane as can be given contemporary Western sensibilities.

Your comments are like saying "well at least grandma's nasty cough stopped." And maintaining this is a good thing even though grandma isn't breathing anymore.

Re:Wow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42643441)

North Korea is having an ongoing national psychotic episode.

Agreed. Trying to tell them that is as pointless as telling the just-as-mentally-ill Americans nation the same thing.
The problem with reality distortion bubbles is, that from inside of them, you can't tell you're in a reality distortion bubble.
Just look at religious schizophrenics and their “god states".

All you can do, is be nice, show them the advantages and beauty of the real world, and hope that attracts them enough, that they just don't need their delusions anymore. (PROTIP: Hatred will make it even worse. But somehow nobody ever fuckin' gets that. EVER. EVER.)

Re:Wow! (2)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 2 years ago | (#42642879)

Pointless advice ("open up the internet"), that they're going to ignore as well... isn't much better.

Seriously, I'm with the OP here. Schmidt comes off as *seriously* clueless in this post.

Re:Wow! (1)

Mullen (14656) | about 2 years ago | (#42643055)

> Schmidt comes off as *seriously* clueless in this post.

Totally agree and his daughter does not sound any better. I was not expecting any results from his visit, but I have to admit, I was pretty floored at how clueless he came off as. This guy runs Google.

Re:Wow! (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 2 years ago | (#42643493)

I actually only just now read his daughter's post.... wow. Just, *wow*. Seriously disconnected from reality.

Re:Wow! (1)

nick357 (108909) | about 2 years ago | (#42643089)

When your only tool is a hammer, all problems begin to look like nails...

Re:Wow! (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 2 years ago | (#42643169)

I agree. I hate those damn idealists, always trying to make things better.

Re:Wow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42642813)

Convince, autocorrect.

Re:Wow! (1)

jonbryce (703250) | about 2 years ago | (#42642821)

Things like Alibaba help China massively with the capitalist reforms, and other internet services could help them become more democratic in the future.

Re:Wow! (4, Insightful)

prehistoricman5 (1539099) | about 2 years ago | (#42642845)

So what will happen if NK truly opens themselves up to the internet (not like China) and gives its citizens unfettered access?

The illusion will be shattered for the citizens of NK, they will begin to demand more from their government and openess will come.

Re:Wow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42643115)

Which is exactly why the NK dictatorship hasn't given their citizens access to the truth, irrespective of the medium (printed matter or internet access).

I don't understand what Schmidt thinks he can accomplish, because the implications of his proposal are completely obvious, and not in the best interest of a tyrannical regime.

Re:Wow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42643125)

Indeed. Opening up would be good for the country, but would be very, very bad for the people in power.

Re:Wow! (4, Informative)

ScentCone (795499) | about 2 years ago | (#42643163)

The illusion will be shattered for the citizens of NK, they will begin to demand more from their government and openess will come.

Actually, they will begin to demand less from their government. Like less defense from an imaginary pending attack from South Korea. Less in the way of starvation labor camps. Less in the way of grotesque mass-parade theater showing love for their various iterations of Great Leader, Dear Leader, etc.

What they'll want more of is a chance for people outside of that hellish place to be able to invest money, material, and people into growing some actual businesses. Or they will want that, as soon as they realize that's what generates actual prosperity.

Re:Wow! (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about 2 years ago | (#42642847)

And opening up the internet will move the country towards those goals.

Re:Wow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42642849)

You don't think an open Internet would quickly turn into that long awaited change of leadership?

Re:Wow! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42642875)

Do you "bronies" realize that you are a disgrace to humanity? Your mere existence is worse than Hitler, the Soviets, Native American Genocide, and all suffering and death to come combined. Know why? Because your predecessors survived through it, and you spend your days wishing that you could have sex with a horse. How would your medieval ancestors, breaking their backs in fields just to have their towns pillaged and raped feel about you slobbering over this shit? You are literally the lowest of the low, the scum of the earth.

Re:Wow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42642897)

Eric Schmidt was invited on a US diplomatic visit. It wan't his idea and he didn't just go to north Korea out of the blue.

Re:Wow! (2)

Marxdot (2699183) | about 2 years ago | (#42643307)

Lovely separation of Google and State.

Re:Wow! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42642907)

(modding) -

Eric Schmidt from Google goes to North Korea and tells them the path to prosperity is open up to the Internet? Are you fucking serious?

Sure. Granting access to the world is a sure way of changing oligarchies and dictatorships. He probably didn't say that as it's a characteristic of state internet access and not the prime reason.
The other point raised is the priority. The NK plebs want food first and internet 15th. Knowledge really is power in this case. Just imagine a few mobile/cell phone towers dotted around the place and people with smartphones! How long can a repressive dictatorship survive under those conditions? Also Kim Jong was educated in Switzerland. He is more than aware of the stakes at risk for him and the government.

Re:Wow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42642919)

I think opening up the internet could be an important first step in enabling exactly the transition you described. If the people have no knowledge of the outside world nothing is going to change, give the citizens information and such changes will come about on their own.

Re:Wow! (2)

ffflala (793437) | about 2 years ago | (#42643185)

you should have told them the path to prosperity was; the North Korean government should completely and radically change from a multi-generational dictatorship to a representative Democracy and Capitalistic System, with the intent of reunification with their southern brothers. Close the Concentration Camps (Yes, I said Concentration Camps), get rid of the failed centralized economy, stop starving your citizens and stop trying to cling to power and accept that the citizens of NK probably would be much better off without the current NK government.

...because that totally would have worked. Just telling them that would have caused them to have a change of heart and divest themselves of power they've spent lifetimes accumulating.

However accurate your statements about what needs to happen might be (I think they are on the mark, if anything not comprehensive enough), who has ever responded positively to this kind of demand? To work with those who are both power-hungry and indisputably in charge of their domain, you need to appeal to their self-interest, not from your own sense of righteousness.

Re:Wow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42643293)

the path to prosperity ... [a] Capitalistic System

Are you having a fucking laugh?

Re:Wow! (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 2 years ago | (#42643427)

Uh, Eric, you know what you should have told them the path to prosperity was; the North Korean government should completely and radically change from a multi-generational dictatorship to a representative Democracy and Capitalistic System,

Uh, Mullen, most of the Capitalistic Systems in the world have been in a state of massive crisis for the last few years.
A crisis that was self-inflicted, has been self-inflicted before and, because proper regulation never seems to last, will undoubtedly be self-inflicted again.

The USA has just wrangled an agreement from China to allow the UN Security Council to expand existing sanctions. [indiatimes.com]
The international sanctions might have something to do with the lack of prosperity in North Korea.

Re:Wow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42643859)

Yes, and even if our collective GDP crashed by 70% or more, we would still be better off than North Korea. I guess if you are dirt poor its impossible to have a downturn.

Re:Wow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42643479)

> from a multi-generational dictatorship to a representative Democracy and Capitalistic System,

That's not a good idea either. China would never allow a truly democratic state with their standing agreements. Worse still, a capitalistic system isn't so stable (see Europe and the US). Capitalism has proven to be poisonous to democracy, as many predicted. You're trading an economic system that fails in decades to one that inevitably fails in centuries. How about the adults stop with the free market nonsense where the rich get richer (then simply stop participating) and try a different approach.

Re:Wow! (3, Funny)

OhANameWhatName (2688401) | about 2 years ago | (#42643565)

the North Korean government should completely and radically change from a multi-generational dictatorship to a representative Democracy and Capitalistic System, with the intent of reunification with their southern brothers

NK: We don't want a representative democracy
US: What if we meet you half way?

Re:Wow! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42643665)

I see where you got confused there, people seem to have trouble with this... You see, when Eric Schmidt says he wants to "open up the Internet," what he means is "open up your wallet and personal lives on the Internet, to us, so that we can monetize it by hiding off your private lives to advertisers."

Re:Wow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42643851)

Close the Concentration Camps (Yes, I said Concentration Camps), get rid of the failed centralized economy, stop starving your citizens and stop trying to cling to power and accept that the citizens of NK probably would be much better off without the current NK government. Opening up to the Internet is probably about 15th on the list of things they should do.

As there was this talk about the Truman Show on a scale of the whole country, perhaps they could start by installing numerous web cams to every monument, village, city and street corner to let the world see the country's finest. One way opening to the Internet is an opening.

wtf? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42642797)

Is Schmidt really so far out of touch with reality that he seriously thinks the rulers of the North Korean Orwellian police state give even the slightest shit that their pleebs don't have Internet access? Seriously?

open internet not necessary for economic success (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42642799)

For example, China.

Re:open internet not necessary for economic succes (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 2 years ago | (#42643685)

At least they can use it, most of it.

"WTF were they thinking?" (5, Interesting)

malloc (30902) | about 2 years ago | (#42642839)

In that (quite interesting) post the author frequently wonders "WTF were they thinking?". E.g. did they think we would not notice that the screens on all the computers on both floors were identical? My wife is from China where not so long ago everthing was identical, down to the progaganda art on the wall. Her immediate answer when I asked her was "duh, they don't care what the delegates thought, the whole exercise is to show pictures to the local NK population about how the great foreign technical leaders liked the NK technical office". I think we tend to forget that: it isn't the delegates that Pyongyang is afraid of, its their own people.

Well I dunno (5, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 2 years ago | (#42642913)

They seem to go out of the way to try and impress foreigners with how awesome shit is, they just fail badly. I think it may be a case that they've been drinking their own kool aid for so long they forget the outside world doesn't buy the bullshit. They are used to their propaganda defining their reality, they don't have a good understanding of places where it doesn't.

Re:Well I dunno (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42643147)

See also: Saddam trying to look the genial uncle by putting a frightened European kid on his knee.
Vladimir Putin trying the same by blowing a raspberry against a random kids belly.

Wait ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42643477)

which country are you talking about ?

Another "do no evil violated"? (0)

Rick Zeman (15628) | about 2 years ago | (#42642899)

Couldn't Schmidt's trip be construed as a violation of the Logan Act [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:Another "do no evil violated"? (4, Informative)

mpoulton (689851) | about 2 years ago | (#42642917)

Couldn't Schmidt's trip be construed as a violation of the Logan Act [wikipedia.org] ?

I don't see how. He didn't engage in any sort of negotiation with the DPRK administration. Of course everyone he was in contact with while in-country was effectively a representative of the regime, but he didn't represent himself as an agent of the United States and attempt to engage in diplomatic negotiation. He just visited, smiled, and nodded.

He went as a business representative (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42643071)

He made a media spectacle about it being a business related trip.

So explain to us, how you can have a business trip without engaging in any sort of negotiation? Even if all you do is talk ... that is considered negotiation.

He went as a representative of himself (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42643377)

This is Schmidt we're talking about. He didn't go as a business representative. He went as a representative of the clueless.

If Schmidt were considered a representative of US business ... well, let's not go there. You really really really don't want that.

Hint: Read Schmidt's public writings over the last few years. It's like a chicken farmer talking about his chickens. You really don't want this man representing you, unless you accept that your destiny is in chicken pie.

Re:He went as a business representative (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42643491)

I'm communicating with you and there's no negotiation. Wtf is wrong with you? Hint: I don't care.

What a stupid thing to say... catch up... (0)

zugedneb (601299) | about 2 years ago | (#42642937)

Catch up? Look at east europe... not even remotely as disconnected as NK, but still they strugle... Look at south europe, spain, italy, portugal... WTF? they also strugle... I hate when semicelebriytic morons make it seem a matter of simple choices to catch up to the top 10 nations...

Re:What a stupid thing to say... catch up... (1)

GumphMaster (772693) | about 2 years ago | (#42643061)

Europeans struggling as the result of neoliberalism (while the top 0.1% do very well for themselves) is a Good Thing(tm), honest ;) ... but if you struggle as a result of the policies of the "Axis of Evil" (while the top 1% do very well for themselves) then that's bad through and through.

The mythology of wealth (1)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | about 2 years ago | (#42643985)

Good point. Or, ten or twenty trillion US$ in paper wealth disappeared as an externality of banking risk that some bankers made billions from and caused suffering for tens of millions of people:
    http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/01/18/the-parable-of-the-frogs/ [counterpunch.org]
"What does it take to produce large-scale social change? Most historians, if you catch them in an honest moment, will admit that the popular levers of social change, such as education or legislation, are bogus; they don't really amount to very much. What does make a difference -- and then only potentially -- is massive systemic breakdown, such as occurred in the United States in the fall of 2008. It was the greatest market crash since 1929, leading to widespread unemployment (something like 18% of the population, in real -- as opposed to official -- statistics*) and the loss of billions of dollars in retirement savings. In fact, the crash wiped out $11.1 trillion in household wealth, and this is not counting the several trillion lost in stock market investments. It had been many decades since the middle class found itself in soup kitchens, and yet there they were. In the face of all this, however, very little seems to have changed. Americans are still committed to the dream of unlimited abundance as a "reasonable" goal, when in reality it is (and always has been) the dream of an addict. President Obama's upwards of $19 trillion bailout and stimulus plan funneled money into the very banking establishment that gave us the disaster; it rescued the wealthy, not those who really needed the money. And while he could have appointed economic advisers such as Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz (both Nobel laureates), who would have attempted to put the nation on a different economic path, he chose instead two traditional neoliberal ideologues, Timothy Geithner and Lawrence Summers, who believe in the very policies that led to the crash. "Change we can believe in" never sounded more hollow."

No doubt some of this is spin, but there is some truth in here:
http://www.infowars.com/100-million-poor-people-in-america-and-39-other-facts-about-poverty-that-will-blow-your-mind/ [infowars.com]

One of the links there goes to:
http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2011/12/15/9461848-dismal-prospects-1-in-2-americans-are-now-poor-or-low-income [nbcnews.com]
"Squeezed by rising living costs, a record number of Americans -- nearly 1 in 2 -- have fallen into poverty or are scraping by on earnings that classify them as low income."

I'm not saying the average US citizen is as bad off as most people in North Korea in material ways -- just that there remains a lot of unnecessary suffering in the USA which is being justified by a crazy ideological bubble. For example, if the USA redistributed half of the US GDP equally as a "basic income", then every citizen would have US$2000 a month, and the other half could be competed over. It's only a cultural mythological bubble that keeps most of the USA from seeing this:
http://web.archive.org/web/20120102011454/http://www.conceptualguerilla.com/?q=node/402 [archive.org]
"That rationalization came in the form of a brand new science known as economics, which included a brand new mythology."

Despite books like this by Moshe Adler:
"Economics for the Rest of Us: Debunking the Science that Makes Life Dismal"
http://www.amazon.com/Economics-Rest-Us-Debunking-Science/dp/B007F7WKV8 [amazon.com]
"Why do contemporary economists consider food subsidies in starving countries, rent control in rich cities, and health insurance everywhere "inefficient"? Why do they feel that corporate executives deserve no less than their multimillion-dollar "compensation" packages and workers no more than their meager wages? Here is a lively and accessible debunking of the two elements that make economics the "science" of the rich: the definition of what is efficient and the theory of how wages are determined. The first is used to justify the cruelest policies, the second grand larceny. Filled with lively examples--from food riots in Indonesia to eminent domain in Connecticut and everyone from Adam Smith to Jeremy Bentham to Larry Summers--Economics for the Rest of Us shows how today's dominant economic theories evolved, how they explicitly favor the rich over the poor, and why they're not the only or best options. Written for anyone with an interest in understanding contemporary economic thinking--and why it is dead wrong--Economics for the Rest of Us offers a foundation for a fundamentally more just economic system."

Or other efforts:
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/04/business/economy/04econ.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 [nytimes.com]
"But in the wake of the recent crisis, a few economists --like Professors Reinhart and Rogoff, and other like-minded colleagues like Barry Eichengreen and Alan Taylor -- have been encouraging others in their field to look beyond hermetically sealed theoretical models and into the historical record.
    "There is so much inbredness in this profession," says Ms. Reinhart. "They all read the same sources. They all use the same data sets. They all talk to the same people. There is endless extrapolation on extrapolation on extrapolation, and for years that is what has been rewarded.""

Or even:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/24/business/economy/24panel.html [nytimes.com]
"But on Thursday, almost three years after stepping down as chairman of the Federal Reserve, a humbled Mr. Greenspan admitted that he had put too much faith in the self-correcting power of free markets and had failed to anticipate the self-destructive power of wanton mortgage lending."

The revolution will be tweeted (4, Insightful)

naroom (1560139) | about 2 years ago | (#42643039)

Given how the whole Arab Spring [wikipedia.org] thing played out, I'm guessing the people in power in NK are not going to be inviting the Internet in any time soon.

What a horrible page layout (0)

mapuche (41699) | about 2 years ago | (#42643049)

I simply couldn't finish to read the text. Text over images, images over text. Two columns, no visible contuinity. No thanks.

Re:What a horrible page layout (1)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | about 2 years ago | (#42643103)

A bad day?

It was designed for Windows 8 (1)

argee (1327877) | about 2 years ago | (#42643521)

What did you expect?

Re:What a horrible page layout (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42643981)

get a monitor that supports higher than 800x600, worked fine for me

Who benefits from this? (3, Insightful)

Kwyj1b0 (2757125) | about 2 years ago | (#42643067)

I wonder who Eric Schmidt is preaching to here. Does he expect the people of North Korea to actually hear his words? (They won't). Are the government officials unaware of the impact of the internet? No. Are the people aware of what they are being denied? I don't think so.

I remember when I was watching the 2010 FIFA world cup. During the NK national anthem, several of their players had tears in their eyes. They were proud to be representing their country. And these people are the relatively "better off" residents of NK. If they don't realize/care what a crazy country they represent, why should the majority of the population? I'm sure many people believe their government is a good entity. The ordinary citizens might have no idea that there is a better way to live. All their life, they have been listening to propaganda. And like most people in every other country, they believe the bullshit they are being fed.

So when Schmidt says that NK should open up, does he really think anyone is going to change their behavior? He needs to show a different argument. Maybe start off by showing how technology can help the government. The only way you are going to make any inroads into NK (without actually using brute force) is via the government. Once people working there see the benefits of technology, it might spread to civilian life.

Re:Who benefits from this? (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about 2 years ago | (#42643273)

During the NK national anthem, several of their players had tears in their eyes

They were probably told to tear up or their parents would be shot. Tears of terror aren't hard to produce.

Re:Who benefits from this? (3, Insightful)

chilvence (1210312) | about 2 years ago | (#42643901)

Actually, I don't think it had anything to do with that. I think it may possibly just be the fact that it is a very strong emotional thing to be charged with representing millions of your countrymen to the world; No matter what you may be thinking deep down about politics, your country is your country, end of. I think people read far too much into what is just one of the highly probable emotional responses when caught in the middle of such a moment.

Re:Who benefits from this? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42644013)

I'm thinking Eric Schmidt was using North Korea as a way of saying : close the Internet and that's what you'll get. Maybe the real target of his message is the US.

anybody feel like... taking over the world today? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42643099)

i think it's pretty bold of google to even allow themselves to be associated with that kind of publicity. any organization -- and especially with size and sophistication of google -- knows the implications of associating themselves with any kind of public affair. so by even ostensibly allowing schmidt to do this while he's is under their employ, they are sending the message that they at the very least, do not mind being associated with politics. but these aren't just any politics. no. these are politics right on the very front edge of the world stage. personally i think it's going to far and these fuckers have no business on that level. but, on top of that, as other people have mentioned, there are far more important things at stake here. at the very least, it cheapens the more important issues by making it look as though google marketing is top priority. okay, granted the internet is becoming an essential modcon. still, why is it google's business to intervene. perhaps they should start their own party? the google party. what ever the real intentions are; it is clear that google are not concerned with peoples' opinion on their or general corporate involvement in politics. it's sick.

is he going to travel to Amish Country next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42643319)

Sometimes, one person's culture is different from another. It doesn't make it wrong.

NK has a bunch of other problems, but Internet access is not one of them. Quite frankly, life can be very good by getting away from the Internet. My Grandfather never used the Internet and he didn't have a bad life.

Linux Desktops!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42643325)

OMG!! A country with 100% Linux desktop deployment rate!

Coming from Germany to the US... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42643405)

...it's also like a combination of the Truman Show and They Live. One massive reality distortion bubble that nobody is aware of.
And the whole discussion, just as the voting choices, always revolves around two options that are only differing in something entirely beside the point, giving the citizens choices for all aspects of their life, except those that aren't meaningless. Everything is condensed down from picking a fuzzy varying area in a multi-dimensional gradient space to a one-dimensional binary choice. With you being called at least "Hitler" for picking the "wrong" one. Let alone trying to think outside that box.
It's ludicrous.

Yes, the USA is in its own bubble... (1)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | about 2 years ago | (#42643701)

"...it's also like a combination of the Truman Show and They Live. One massive reality distortion bubble that nobody is aware of.
And the whole discussion, just as the voting choices, always revolves around two options that are only differing in something entirely beside the point, giving the citizens choices for all aspects of their life, except those that aren't meaningless. Everything is condensed down from picking a fuzzy varying area in a multi-dimensional gradient space to a one-dimensional binary choice. With you being called at least "Hitler" for picking the "wrong" one. Let alone trying to think outside that box.
It's ludicrous."

See my comment posted earlier above, or also this by Morris Berman:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/01/18/the-parable-of-the-frogs/ [counterpunch.org]
"In the case of the United States, the imposition of rules and limits on individual behavior to protect the commons is not, at present, a realistic prospect; the population is simply not having it. But how much longer before this freedom of choice is regarded as an impossible luxury? In fact, no crystal ball is required to predict the future here. The tragedy of the commons -- what Hardin called "the remorseless working of things" -- is that a society such as that of the United States won't undertake serious changes even when it is sitting on the edge of an abyss. It has to actually be in the abyss before it will entertain such changes; i.e., it has to be faced with no choice at all. It seems unlikely now, but things are probably moving faster than we realize. In terms of population, energy, food, resources, water, social inequality, public health, and environmental degradation, a crunch of the type I am referring to may be only twenty years away."

By that author:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1118061810/ [amazon.com]
"During the final century of the Roman Empire, it was common for emperors to deny that their civilization was in decline. Only with the perspective of history can we see that the emperors were wrong, that the empire was failing, and that the Roman people were unwilling or unable to change their way of life before it was too late. The same, says Morris Berman, is true of twenty-first century America. The nation and its empire are in decline and nothing can be done to reverse their course. How did this come to be? In Why America Failed, Berman examines the development of American culture from the earliest colonies to the present, shows that the seeds of the nation's "hustler" culture were sown from the very beginning, and reveals how the very tools that enabled the country's expansion have become the instruments of its demise. "

BTW, Germany is a legacy of what the USA used to be:
http://www.salon.com/2010/08/25/german_usa_working_life_ext2010/ [salon.com]
"How did Germany become such a great place to work in the first place?
    The Allies did it. This whole European model came, to some extent, from the New Deal. Our real history and tradition is what we created in Europe. Occupying Germany after WWII, the 1945 European constitutions, the UN Charter of Human Rights all came from Eleanor Roosevelt and the New Dealers. All of it got worked into the constitutions of Europe and helped shape their social democracies. It came from us. The papal encyclicals on labor, it came from the Americans. ..."

Yet we in the USA should not lose hope:
http://www.commondreams.org/views04/1108-21.htm [commondreams.org]
"In this awful world where the efforts of caring people often pale in comparison to what is done by those who have power, how do I manage to stay involved and seemingly happy? I am totally confident not that the world will get better, but that we should not give up the game before all the cards have been played. The metaphor is deliberate; life is a gamble. Not to play is to foreclose any chance of winning.
    To play, to act, is to create at least a possibility of changing the world. There is a tendency to think that what we see in the present moment will continue. We forget how often we have been astonished by the sudden crumbling of institutions, by extraordinary changes in people's thoughts, by unexpected eruptions of rebellion against tyrannies, by the quick collapse of systems of power that seemed invincible. What leaps out from the history of the past hundred years is its utter unpredictability. This confounds us, because we are talking about exactly the period when human beings became so ingenious technologically that they could plan and predict the exact time of someone landing on the moon, or walk down the street talking to someone halfway around the earth."

Re:Yes, the USA is in its own bubble... (1)

russotto (537200) | about 2 years ago | (#42643803)

"In the case of the United States, the imposition of rules and limits on individual behavior to protect the commons is not, at present, a realistic prospect; the population is simply not having it. But how much longer before this freedom of choice is regarded as an impossible luxury?"

And who is Mr. Berman comparing the US unfavorably to here? The social democracies of Europe? No. Actually, it's totalitarian China -- the immediately preceding sentences:
"Of course, authoritarian systems don't have these problems, which is a good indicator of how things will probably develop. Under the name of âoeharmony,â for example, China regulates its citizens for what it perceives to be the common good. Hence the famous one-child policy, introduced in 1979, supposedly prevented more than 300 million births over the next twenty-nine years in a country that was threatened by its own population density. "

Schmidt is THE PROBLEM (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42643509)

Eric Schmidt has become a public embarrassment, a political liability, an ethical and morel black hole, a potential criminal and living joke.

Time for Page et al. to MAN up and dump Schmidt !

Else, Google needs to give US DoJ a few millions to hire a killer from Chicago and do what needs to be done, quick.

Expect push back on stock price until Schmidty leaves to find a nice warm grave.

Top level takeaway (1)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about 2 years ago | (#42643915)

Leave North Korea if you can. It is very, very strange.

FTFY

What Eric Schmidt should have done (-1, Flamebait)

ub3r n3u7r4l1st (1388939) | about 2 years ago | (#42643921)

Start organizing militia on both side of the border (China and South Korea) and plan for an coordinated invasion. A couple billion dollars should do.

Hire all those people with violent gun crime history in the USA to be the frontier foot soldiers. Push them across the border a.k.a. Normandy style.

Setting up a convoy on South Korea should be easy. Setting up another in China may require bribery of local officials.

Annexing North Korea should not require any legitimate U.S. troops, they are so easy to fight.

Completely Normal and Predictable (2)

BaldingByMicrosoft (585534) | about 2 years ago | (#42644001)

Shocking? Not even.

NK hosts a staged visit for a famous US businessperson. It's a prestige move. Cue the Stuart skit from Mad TV -- "Look what I can do!"

US businessperson visits NK. Sees through the eye of his personal reality tunnel, which ignores most everything except how he can profit. What must change so he can profit. How can he use what he's experiencing for PROFIT.

Nothing to see here, move along.

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