China, The United States, Big Tech and The Headless Chicken
In 2019, americans are watching two strange things happen with China. The first is a stupid trade war between the U.S. and China. A winner of a trade war is like a winner in a fight between two drunks swinging hammers at one another; no one wins. To quote economist Henry George,
“Free trade consists simply in letting people buy and sell as they want to buy and sell. It is protection that requires force, for it consists in preventing people from doing what they want to do. Protective tariffs are as much applications of force as are blockading squadrons, and their object is the same—to prevent trade. The difference between the two is that blockading squadrons are a means whereby nations seek to prevent their enemies from trading; protective tariffs are a means whereby nations attempt to prevent their own people from trading. What protection teaches us, is to do to ourselves in time of peace what enemies seek to do to us in time of war.“
While we have seen the U.S. government become openly hostile to China we’ve also seen many U.S. companies bend the knee and kiss the ring of the government of China. Why, well as the long running show Southpark put it –”You gotta lower your ideals of freedom if you want to suck on the warm teat of China,”– Suck indeed. Many U.S. firms are really vibing to do the will of the Chinese government and are folding, in some terrible ways.
In 1945, a “headless chicken” named Mike became headless, the headless rooster wouldn’t die until 1947. Mike lived on a mixture of milk and water he was fed through an eyedropper. He had less idea what was going on than a normal rooster. Those of us living in the U.S. acting as consumers are basically a headless farm animal. We could record a movie on our phones, but we have little clue and less control over what is going on between our government, the companies selling us that phone, making our movie and much more, and the government of China.
Over the weekend Trump’s Whitehouse suspended the tariff increases against Chinese goods scheduled to start on October 15th. As Forbes puts it, “thank God for small favors” and a little earlier Apple removed an app called HKmap.live from its App Store, causing many people to criticize Apple for turning its back on them and siding with an authoritarian regime.