Thinks 691

NYTimes: “Chris Miller’s new book, “Chip War”,…chronicles the development, proliferation and strategic deployment of the semiconductor chips that now animate everything from cars to toys to nukes. Miller, who teaches international affairs at Tufts University, brings his expertise in Russian and Chinese history to the global oligopoly that manufactures both the chips and the precise-nearly-to-the-atom tools and foundries that produce them. In the end, “Chip War” makes a whale of a case: that the chip industry now determines both the structure of the global economy and the balance of geopolitical power.”

Samuel Gregg: “Pursuing shareholder value and maximizing profits is how publicly traded businesses create economic value by facilitating choice in goods and services for consumers, providing wages and benefits to their employees, repaying their loans to banks, and paying just taxes. This helps increase the total material wealth in society, something that permits people who have never owned a share in their lives to realize goods ranging from health care to education. Capacious ideas of who and what is a stakeholder – especially when accompanied by social pressures from activist groups and back up by regulations that make ESG [environmental, social, and governance] compliance a requirement of law – compromise the ability of businesses to make its unique contribution to the wider common good.” [via CafeHayek]

Veronique de Rugy (US context): “While industrial policy isn’t the way to go, there is a lot government officials can do to connect more workers to the workforce and connect them with better opportunities, especially in the most affected areas in the United States. Indeed, before policymakers rush to implement industrial policy programs, even modest ones, they should acknowledge that some of the challenges workers face today are often created by existing government programs. The list of potential reforms that would better the lives for those who have been frozen out of the gains enjoyed by most workers is too long for this post. But here are a few nonetheless. Many of these barriers exist at the state level (occupational licensing, zoning and land use regulations, and such). Yet, there are many things the federal government could also do, like removing the Trump tariffs and other trade remedy regulations include tariffs, import taxes, antidumping, countervailing duties, and safeguards. The federal government could also reform the disability insurance program and other programs that at the margin create disincentives to work. It could deregulate the permitting process to allow Americans to build more infrastructure, produce more energy and more drugs.”

Andy Smarick: “There is a reason so much energy was spent over the last several centuries stopping the consolidation of government power. After ages of appalling wars, abuses of authority, and squandering of national treasure and human potential, societies came to understand through experience that centralized might—no matter the glories it promises—is a danger. Wisdom purchased by eons of hardship contributed to the Enlightenment era’s decline of absolute regimes and mercantilism, the re-embrace of classical republicanism and self-government, the rise of liberalism, the development of federalism and separated powers, and the spread of the common law tradition. Unfortunately, such wisdom has a short half-life. We force ourselves to repeatedly relearn the lesson. In every age, some are enticed by the idea that this time success will come about if we just hand more and more power to the right people. In the twentieth century, communism and other forms of totalitarianism vowed to produce national greatness through concentrated muscle but, of course, ended in ruin. Less malign experiments with centralization, like socialism, industrial planning, technocracy, and administrative-statism, routinely failed to deliver the results promised.”

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.