ChinaTalk: Global Standards: What's the Deal?

By Jordan Schneider
Friday, April 29, 2022, 3:21 PM

Standards. Who has them? From shipping containers to screws to tech gadgets, how is it that something made in China can have certain attributes identical to another product made by another company half a world away? And why does it matter?

MIT professor of business and history JoAnne Yates and Wellesley professor of political science Craig Murphy are the authors of Engineering Rules: Global Standard Setting since 1880. Together with co-host Jacob Feldgoise, a fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, we talk about how international standards were established and the impact this had on China’s development.

We also discuss:

  • How standardized shipping containers made China’s rise possible

  • Why Tim Berners Lee is a benevolent overlord

  • Who has the most influence in setting international standards

  • Why Europe might be more annoying than China from a US standards perspective

Click here to listen to ChinaTalk in your favorite podcast app.

Outro music: Gonna Be An Engineer by Peggy Seeger


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