Some good points on Taiwan and China

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From Atomic Fungus - a daily read for me:

So the rumor mill is saying that China invades Taiwan on September 25. If that actually happens, the current chip shortage is going to look like days of plenty. Most of the world's really advanced semiconductors are made in Taiwan.

On the other hand, I'm not sure I see that. The United States is not the only country in the world, and even if we're frotting our own buttocks with Afghanistan and the other nonsense, I'm still thinking that the other major powers would not look kindly on China taking Taiwan by force. The real question then becomes, how many of them did China buy off? If China walks in and takes Taiwan, and there's a lot of Sturm und Drang but no real action, then we know that the answer to that question is, "Essentially everyone."

But how true is that? I mean, other than China, who really benefits from Taiwan being absorbed by communist China?

I don't think anyone does. All those countries that rely on the free flow of semiconductors from Taiwan, they then either have to fall in line with China's demands, or they get nothing. Unless they set up their own semiconductor fabs (and it takes half a decade to set one up!) their industry chokes. And China's not going to be evenhanded about it; once they have that leverage, they will use it.

Long-term, that's bad for China, though. Two reasons.

First: China can't innovate its way out of a paper bag. Right now Chinese semiconductor manufacturers lag state-of-the-art so badly that they can only make chips which our guys were producing twenty years ago. That's fine if you're making low-power stuff; FFS we still use the 555 timer and the 741 op amp, and those were invented at the dawn of the integrated circuit. But it's craptastic for building high-powered computers.

So what's going to happen with a Chinese Taiwan? Well, there'll be a hiccough in the world's progression along the Moore Curve, as fabs are built in other countries, but as soon as those fabs are reliably turning out high-zoot stuff and researching higher-zoot stuff, Chinese Taiwan will be left in the dust, the same way mainland China's semiconductor industry was. It takes a decade or two, but all else being equal, China eventually finds itself making 555s and 741s again, while other countries make the Ryzens and the Cores. But there won't be time for that to happen. Why?

Second: if China chokes the US economy, they're the ones who will have trouble breathing first. There don't seem to be very many people in high positions who understand that; they think that China can do its own thing regardless of what happens to America. That might work, to a point; I'm betting that the head commie's plans to eat the rich are meant to hide the fact that everyone in China is going to suffer a rather steep pay cut when they start trying to bring America to heel. But if the American economic engine falters? China starves. I don't think they can import enough food from everywhere else to make up for what America produces.

Having taken Taiwan, China then sits on top of an extremely valuable strategic asset--but you can't eat microchips, and the value of that asset degrades over time. They haven't bought themselves permanent hegemony so much as they've managed to seize control of a depreciating asset, one that will give them power for a while. And if they wield that power to force the United States to knuckle under to them, they kill the goose that lays the golden eggs, while simultaneously cutting off their own food supply.

Depending on how it's handled, I suppose it is just possible for China to keep getting its food from America while otherwise ruining our economy. I know that the shitheads currently running the federal government would not see any problem with feeding China even as they denied us the semiconductors needed by our industry. I could see China making the shipment of chips contingent on the continued movement of food into their country. But that's a very, very tricky line to walk, because if they make a mistake, the US economy flops and the movement of food ceases, and then the commisars have 1.4 billion starving peasants on their asses.

Communists are always confident that they're smart and able enough to manage anything, no matter how precarious; and they're always wrong.

As the sign says:  "Change my mind"

Our cultural elite think that they are so smart, so credentialed.  They are the right people to lead the world.
Unfortunately for them, they live in a very small bubble and are actually clueless.
The bubble will be popping in 3... 2... 1...      Already started in fact.

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This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on August 28, 2021 3:52 PM.

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