Hi! Welcome to the 17th edition of The Kush, our newsletter written specifically for Mondays and Tuesdays. If you’re reading this for the first time, then welcome. Today, we’re going to talk only about one thing: Power. Or rather, try to trip on understanding the nature of Power and then start blazing up in a bid to find out the multiple Power narratives blazing across the world of ours today. We aren’t talking about Power, as electricity, but real Power, the power to do things, rather the power to take actions that will impact millions if not billions across the world of ours today.
Let’s start blazing.
The Power of Semiconductors
The men and women who own the technology to produce semiconductors definitely shape the world. We’re not kidding. Here’s Eurasia Group from their beautiful report.
“The personal computer revolution of the 1980s, the internet revolution of the 1990s, and the smartphone and social media revolutions of the early 2000s were all built on silicon. The next generation of potentially game-changing consumer and industrial applications built on top of 5G networks will likewise depend on improvements in performance and computing power supplied by cutting-edge chips. Access to cutting-edge semiconductors is likewise critical to the balance of global military power, owing to their use in high-performance computing and artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things applications, as well as their essential role in modern and next-generation weapons platforms.”
Screw the fragile egos of men and women in the political and military domains all over the world. To our dear readers, as far as we are concerned, let us not be sucked into arguments blazing on popular Indian media that border on ‘he said, she said’, ‘this god, that god’, ‘religious sentiments’ and what not, for they serve no sense of purpose whatsoever for all our collective futures. What our readers ought to do, is to figure out their own role in the world as soon as possible and rise above such shoddy topics being peddled in popular media.
“At present, only two companies—South Korea’s Samsung and Taiwan’s TSMC—are manufacturing semiconductors in volume at the most advanced process nodes. These industry leaders are currently producing in commercial quantities at the 7-nanometer (nm) process node, while racing to transition to 5 nm, and then eventually to 3 nm by the mid-2020s. US integrated chip manufacturer Intel is also racing to produce in volume at 7 nm, but it has encountered challenges in meeting ambitious targets for the program, announcing in July that production of its next-generation chips would be delayed until 2022”
Never underestimate the South Koreans. Never underestimate the Taiwanese. For all you know, though they project a lack of military heft, do we really know what else they could be working on? We don’t. The US-China ‘cold war’ is not about military heft, dear readers. It is about controlling the economics of semiconductors. Why is Huawei dragged into it? Because it’s Chinese and because it uses semiconductor chips made in Taiwan to power its 5G networks.
Let’s keep blazing.
The Power of ‘Big’ Tech
“Today’s big tech companies have too much power — too much power over our economy, our society, and our democracy. They’ve bulldozed competition, used our private information for profit, and tilted the playing field against everyone else. And in the process, they have hurt small businesses and stifled innovation” – Elizabeth Warren, US Senator in March, 2019.
Sometime this month or the next (we’ve no idea actually, because the US Election is in November), the US government is going to file an antitrust case against Google, charging the company with things like ‘stifling innovation’, ‘monopolistic practices’ and ‘hurting small and medium businesses’ amongst other things. It’s a tricky case this one, let’s see how it goes.
The US regulators seek to understand the full nature of the digital economy and come up with new terms and definitions in order to really get to the bottom of the so-called ‘harm’ that big tech companies like Amazon, Facebook, Google and Apple are going to be charged with, starting with Google. Maybe, Google first because it’s the most visible among all of the others owing to its iconic search box. A search box that probably heralded the beginning of one’s internet usage for millions if not billions.
Governments all over the world are in the thrall of technology and business. They’ve no choice.
Governments need to control. Because they’re too used to the Power lying with them. They cannot accept the fact that today, more and more people have begun to trust technology more than their governments (except during unemployment claims in the US – such unemployment claims do not exist in India yet)
Let’s keep blazing.
The Power of the Government
We must remember that the government is neither a taxpayer nor a producer. It is an enabler, or an enforcer.
Throughout history, empires needed to protect the welfare of their citizens, their food sources primarily and make sure that opposing cultures and empires did not destroy them, the result being that kings and queens started collecting tax from their citizens in exchange for protecting them via the military. Therefore, the primary role of the government was that of protection. It needed to make sure that all its citizens were well-fed and prosperous, and took upon the onus of issuing currency in the king or queens’ name while the citizens’ earnings fed the army and the tax collectors.
Today, the scene is very different.
There are many people in the world today, who openly call for the boycott of their governments.
Because today, millions of people in the world no longer depend on the government for food (a private company provides it) or drink (another private company provides it) or entertainment (private company again) or any of the basic survival needs. All these people want is that the government should fund an efficient and autonomous police and justice system (and then step back) so that disputes do not spill over into violence, because violence after all does not serve any purpose.
The Modern government’s rule is to ensure that private companies in whatever field they may compete in, have a set of rules and regulations to compete (many private companies usually band up and set the rules themselves – this will obviously happen soon), while the police and justice system ensures that criminals are brought to book. Of course that being said, not all countries are the same. Take India for instance.
A massive amount of people in India still depend on the government machinery for their basic survival needs, while on the other hand capitalists soar to newer heights, supported by a middle-class free of India’s notorious caste system and full of aspirations to make progress in their lives to earn more money. It is fitting that we end today’s newsletter with India’s caste system. Such a caste system, given sanction in the Hindu scriptures belongs to another time (2000 years ago) and is not compatible with the aspirations and lifestyles of a young nation like India where approximately 50% of the population lies under 25.
We predict that this mass of youngsters are going to revolt and overthrow the caste system sooner or later. It cannot survive and today, it is only being kept up because of power-hungry people who are afraid to lose their psychological power over other people. They will not survive. After all, the caste system exists in the minds, and not in the real world. Its the conclusions of the caste system that spills over into reality.
Let’s keep blazing.
Have a great day 🙂