"Every perception is to some degree an act of creation, and every act of memory is to some degree an act of imagination."
-- Gerald Edelman, Second Nature: Brain Science and Human Knowledge
3 The Technology War5 The Technology WarThe Technology WarChapter 7: US-China Relations and Wars2020-10-18Journal
Regarding the stealing of technologies, while it is generally agreed to be a big threat (1 in 5 North America-based companies in a 2019 CNBC Global CFO Council survey claimed to have had intellectual property stolen by Chinese companies\[3\]), it does not fully explain actions taken against Chinese tech companies. If a company is breaking a law within a country (e.g., Huawei in the US) one would expect to see that crime prosecuted legally so one could see the evidence that shows the spying devices embedded within the technologies. We aren’t seeing this. Fear of growing competitiveness is as large or larger a motivator of the attacks on Chinese technology companies, but one can’t expect policy makers to say that. American leaders can’t admit that the competitiveness of US technology is slipping and can’t argue against allowing free competition to the American people, who for ages have been taught to believe that competition is both fair and the best process for producing the best results. As a practical matter stealing intellectual property has been going on for as long as there is recorded history and has always been difficult to prevent. As we saw in earlier chapters the British did it to the Dutch and the Americans did it to the British to make themselves more competitive. “Stealing” implies breaking a law. When the war is between countries there are no laws, judges, or juries to resolve disputes and the real reasons decisions are made aren’t always disclosed by those who are making them. I don’t mean to imply that the reasons behind the United States’ aggressive actions are not good ones; I don’t know if they are. I’m just saying that they might not be exactly as stated. Protectionist policies have long existed to protect companies from foreign competition. Huawei’s technology is certainly threatening because it’s better than American technology. Look at Alibaba and Tencent and compare them with American equivalents. Americans might ask why these companies are not competing in the US. It is mostly for the same reasons that Amazon and a number of other American tech companies aren’t freely competing in China. In any case, there is a tech decoupling going on that is part of the greater decoupling of China and the US, which will have a huge impact on what the world will look like in five years.