Sunday, April 25, 2010

China Understands Cultural Coordination Games

Coordination games occur not just with media and exchange formats but with culture. Language and values are subject to the principles of coordination games as well, and when equilibria shift in coordination games, they do so fast - no one wants to be stuck with all their videos on Betamax, and outcomes like PC vs Mac where more than one hangs on are rare.

So it's interesting to read about how the Chinese government clearly understands this and is funding Mandarin classes in the U.S. I know it's not just in Los Angeles because they're also funding classes in Eastern Pennsylvania.

It's a good idea to learn Mandarin (I plan to develop basic proficiency in the next few years) but I don't know what kinds of controls on course content there will be; since we have little Federal oversight of high school education in the U.S. and chronically broke schools, thinking as a cynical CCP official, this is an excellent Achilles heel. It will be interesting to see if social conservatives become less resistant to Federal school oversight as this educational effort becomes better-known.

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