Cultural Differences in Regulating the Corporations

March 10th, 2010 by | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments »

Today, I came across an article on CNN.com speaking about how Europeans will have the right to choose which internet browser to use on their Windows computers rather than Microsoft’s very own Internet Explorer.  This article reminds me of one of the major cultural differences in Europe and the US – corporations in the US are all about “ME! ME! ME! ME!” and the government allow the corporations to control too much.  One of the problems in the US is that corporations come up with strategies that we have to be LOCKED to their company.  For example, music downloaded from iTunes will not work on any mp3 players except for iPod. We cannot use any cell phones except for the ones provided by the company.  In fact, some corporations in the US see that unlocking phones is an act of criminal!

In many countries in Europe, there is a greater freedom in choosing products and services.  Government in many countries in Europe regulates the corporations much better than the U.S. government.  For instance, according to an article in PC World, companies in France are forbidden to bundle a cell phone to their own specific network.  Thus, the iPhones in France are unlocked!  In Denmark, cell phones can be locked for only up to six months according to another source.  There are regulations in Finland, Netherlands, and Italy too.  While some countries such as Denmark and Netherlands do lock the phones for some time, but at least consumers can eventually unlock them.  Even if there aren’t any laws in some countries such as Germany and Spain, many companies will still VOLUNTARILY unlock the phones!

The French government imposed a law in 2006 that music from iTunes must be able to play on other mp3 players.

What’s ironic is that one of the U.S.’s motto is FREEDOM and yet, we do NOT have the freedom to use ANY cell phones with ANY companies, and we can’t choose any mp3 players if we choose to purchase music from iTunes.  This goes along with the values of the health care as the corporations decide for us on which treatments we can get and which ones we cannot get.  Corporations in the US can control the health care as much as they want just like the fact that corporations can control how the consumers can use their electronics!

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5 Comments

March 10, 2010 at 6:28 pm

Since I live in EU ( OK , Greece , but why quibble ? ) , I never met a locked phone , or phones that are for a specific cell company or locked for any specific contract.Think also that – once my dad had an phone that worked well for my HA.so , we traded phones – and we were in different cell companies (I am in one that gets me low rates for being deaf and it’s the only one in greece that ACTUALLY keeps its word for it ) – if we were at the US that wouldn’t been POSSIBLE even.Here , we traded them as we trade a lot of other things.

And the iPod ? why spend money we don’t have when there are cheaper mp3 players?Is the iTunes incentive enough for people to shell out bucks for an iPod?Maybe there ARE people that want to buy from iTunes – but they can’t afford an iPod and that makes the iTunes non-affordable too in retrospect..( If the iPod WAS cheaper, or if it got the slightly older models to be affordable maybe it would make sense.Or Not.)

As for internet explorer – I’ve always installed other options on my own – if you really want to get away from an certain kind , you can do it if you look hard enough – still , the option is one that should have been MADE a long time ago, but better later than never , right?

The irony on US motto is something I’ve thought too , seeming the over regulation of things – I recently read an article for a teen in US that got arrested for WRITING on her schooldesk.Yes , it’s school property.But here , we’d get a strong reprimand , from the principal , and made to clean our own mess.Also , it helps to feel creative.And useful.I remember writing on my desk to communicate with my classmate that sat beside me – lessons , play hangman , ask abt something teacher said.What I want to say is….line between freedom and control is thin.Too much freedom is anarchy.Too much control is oppressive.

Health Care : It’s sad you have to be approved for every little thing.Guess what though , here we have to be approved for quite a few things , especially if it’s long term.It’s a good canon that can get overabused.Heck , we have faults ourselves.

Corporationalism isn’t new : it’s the ultimate America dream for quite a lot of people – get rich and fast.But money doesn’t give you fairness , or happiness.Or ability to really enjoy your life.But it IS taking over – bc it’s like the duck with the golden egg.But that leaves us , middle and low income people to try and live.

Oops , that was too long a comment ? feel free to delete it if it’s not relevant after all.

Hmm

March 11, 2010 at 1:36 am

“What’s ironic is that one of the U.S.’s motto is FREEDOM and yet, we do NOT have the freedom to use ANY cell phones with ANY companies, and we can’t choose any mp3 players if we choose to purchase music from iTunes.”

I don’t think the motto is aimed towards the availability of the customer’s options in the market, but rather on the freedom from government. People that own these businesses are also citizens of the country, and if they aren’t allowed to do what they want with their businesses (as long as it stays within the ethical boundary), then their freedom is taken away as well. If they aren’t making any money, then they’ll be more lenient with their products. But, these said corporations are obviously making money, since people support them, so why change?

As far as Windows and Internet Explorer go, my parents own PCs with Windows on them, yet they can use Safari, Firefox, or whatever else they want. I have a Mac, and I use Firefox, which isn’t owned by Apple. What’s the issue here?

The term “locked” is a bit too strong to describe the relationship between the customer and the corporation. You do have the option of terminating the said contract, so technically, you aren’t “locked”.

March 11, 2010 at 6:15 pm

Hmmm :

Motto certainly applies to everything – I’m all for companies earning their profits , but not abusing the market! Which some companies like Microsoft and Apples do ( with Internet Explorer and iTunes/iPod respectively )

take that for example.I don’t own a credit card.I don’t get a lot of money, so I find the concept of having to get an expensive iPod just to use the iTunes kind of harsh as I can’t afford the former.Also think that – I’ve heard songs in iTunes are affordable , if Rachel’s going to confirm.But because of their stance , they actually kind of ‘encourage’ other mp3 player owners to go in ‘piracy’ sites that have mp3’s so they can listen to songs.Food for thought.:)

As for locked phones – I can’t afford a new phone every few months – sometimes when my contract is up I go to another cell company carrier where I’ll get cheaper rates or something.- but I get to keep my phone.I get a new one every couple of years or so , or if it’s too damaged.

Over the IE debacle : Consider this ,NOT everyone is internet savvy or pc savvy.So they don’t know if there are OTHER options.That way they can be offered everything.

So the viewpoint is very valid , and it’s just a BIG cultural difference , but you should try and see it from OUR view point , when you’ve experienced the differences you really put the things in retrospect.

Rachel

March 11, 2010 at 6:49 pm

Ditto to Vivie. Vivie gave a great view point as someone who is from Europe.

Hmm – it’s great that corporations have a greater freedom from the government, but they can’t abuse it. Unfortunately, they’re abusing their freedom too much as they’re limiting their customers’ rights, even to the point that they’re actually killing their customers (such as when medical insurance companies deny something that a customer truly needs or they would die). The US was founded based on “Individual Rights” and so, it is important for customers to have their rights too. For instance, if I want to buy an iPhone, I HAVE to use AT&T’s cell phone service because iPhone is LOCKED to their company. I do not have the freedom to choose which service. I do not want to be with AT&T at all because they have the crappiest service. So, as a result, I can’t buy an iPhone. If I were living in the UK, I could purchase an iPhone and choose ANY services that meets my needs. By that means, I, as a customer, have the FREEDOM to choose which service. In the US, there is NO freedom to choose which service to use if we buy an iPhone. This is just one of many examples.

As for the internet, yes people do have the option of using any internet and that’s why I didn’t go in details, BUT as Vivie said, not everyone is internet savvy and may not be aware of what internet options exist. Also, in order to download, Firefox, we have to use IE if we have a PC or Safari if we have a mac in order to download it.

Hmm

March 12, 2010 at 1:33 am

From a person’s point of view who’s family is involved in a corporate business, I believe the corporates NOT involved with the healthcare are doing just fine as far as rights go.

The healthcare is a completely different story, and needs to be completely reconstructed, fairly.

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