Americans design, the Chinese produce. That has been the decades long partnership sold under the idea that just like individuals, countries too have to specialize.
America teaches, China makes. The west is a knowledge economy. China is the world’s workshop.
A fine partnership were the two friends, but growing nationalism in China and a clash in values as they require the liberal west submits to authoritarianism if they want access to their market, has increased an understanding of the need to both produce and design at home.
Tony Blair, who everyone likes to blame for everything, takes the blame for this too as he was the architect of a very different west where good intentions may have led to not great outcomes.
He told us all that we need to go to university, and take huge burdens of debt, slashing apprenticeships and much decades long knowledge in regards to production.
Nothing was off limit, to the point a Canadian was appointed the governor of the Bank of England.
The Queen is German afterall, and she is the Queen of Canada too, but UK was so close to having a Chinese company run its internet.
No Limits For Them, No Freedom For Us
The dogma of the new world order had a simple premise. History had ended, they arrogantly proclaimed. Go West became Go East. With a book on hand, we shall teach them how to do things our way.
When some saw that as colonialism and took arms at the beginning of this century, our response was a war on tactics, because they hate our freedoms which the architects were keen to themselves take away.
A defeat, was the outcome of that, as the strategy of the Arab nationalists did eventually work though at a great cost.
They were fighting for their freedoms, not to deny us ours, which we willingly denied to ourself.
And so then the nationalism of Russia and China which too see the well intentioned expansion into their economies as a colonialism of sorts.
Neither was so foolish or naive as to have foreigners run their central bank, even if that was very much from a great ally nation.
Instead they looked to take the money and the knowledge, while keeping proprietary rights over both. While we preached openness to their closed walls.
The Great Mistake
While kids went to university to watch movies under the guise of media studies, producers and capital went to China, taking our toys and giving it to them.
In tech especially the error of this uprooting is something we warned about as far back as 2017 because its offshoring cost is not visible.
What is visible is the factories and the made in China label, but what is not visible is the toys and the knowledge fathers bring to their children from these factories, children that become familiar with inner details of things. Some of them might think how it is done is stupid, and it can better be done some other way, and so you get innovation.
Home production therefore is very much necessary to create an environment for innovation because if some of our elected are stupid donkeys that want to do stupid things like ban the blockchain or incentives upon which blockchain innovation rests, then we can shout at them and eventually hopefully we get heard.
While if China bans French cheese, there’s nothing we can do about it. Or if it bans potential experimentation with hardware automatic digital assets payments, well it bans it and that’s that.
If we continue importing more than selling, then you can expect continued slow growth because among many things others would move in innovating more on those things they are selling, while we would keep innovating too but with less resources because we are sending less out than taking in from others.
Globalism however is not necessarily at an end, but what might be at an end is unfettered globalism where we don’t consider even simple things like an authoritarian government might just lock us out.
China produces some 90% of anti-biotics. In an emergency we can produce them ourself but that might take time in setting up the production lines while for China for example all is ready to go already.
So this is more the beginning of a return to what always was the case, the west and the rest.
It’s about time you might say because in the 70s just before China was welcomed, the west was far richer and its middle class kept getting better and better.
Ever since production was moved, wages in the west have been stagnant, with things improving but not quite somewhat fundamentally.
It has taken forever for example for UK to build a train line that connects London with Scotland and the cost is apparently so big that they might not build it at all.
Compare that to the building of the London underground, or the laying of the railroads, or plenty of other endeavors when we were the ones producing.
Chinese trains now go way faster than ours because they are constantly building trains, and during that doing process they are constantly innovating.
While we don’t care about keeping or developing such skills, outsourcing everything except for media studies that seemingly have led only to the same story line being repeated and repeated as the priests give the same guidelines without bothering to stop and think whether they are still relevant and useful for our time.