"Wars know how they start, but not how they end". This is one of those phrases from the repertoire of popular wisdom that are shown again and again more than true. And many times he does it at the stroke of an obus. But the phrase is not only applicable to conventional wars, likewise we can say the same of a modern commercial war as the one that the Trump administration has declared to China.
This war started on a battlefield that United States, and may end up moving to other completely different fields and full of mud. In fact, in part it has already done it, but the most viscous mud that can end up fighting China and the US is if the war ends up bypassing the technology sector. And the damage caused would be for the two fighters who are now frolicking in the mud puddle, but could also affect significantly all the economies of the rest of the planet .
The commercial war more large scale that could occur
The United States is the first economy on the planet. China is the second. If we look in the equation of possible commercial wars between two countries on a large scale, obviously the biggest trade war we could witness is precisely between the two largest economies in the world. And it has happened.
Some see this commercial war from a distance, curious to see the outcome and if President Trump gets his way, and others see it even with the passion of someone who attends an entertaining show armed with a good portion of popcorn. But those of us who follow this unarmed conflict between the two major superpowers from the most economic prism, can not but feel a deep concern .
The reasons for risk for the other economies of the planet
Really, the impact of the steel war for Europe is a lesser evil if we start to analyze a little the potential risk to which a conflict like the one that is being opened might lead us. The possible additional battle fronts that can be opened between the American giant and the red giant are multiple, including some the use of "unconventional weapons". With this, the final scenario that may end up bringing these risks is quite unpredictable. And no, the consequences are not few nor are they only collateral damages. Quite the opposite: could be structural damage affecting the United Nations building itself (because of globalization) .
But there is one of those possible fronts of new battles that is especially dangerous for the rest of the world. world, and also for the two big ones of the world economy. It is the technological sector, commercial battle horse in a non-bellicose plane for years for its strategic nature in the face of the socioeconomy of the future, and which could now become a workhorse of conflict "by the brave." Effectively until now players tried to conquer the world by making a hole in the disruptive technological landscape, and now can move to use the technology sector as a weapon of war more .
The case is that the The technological sector has been one of the most intense (and even leading) has embraced globalization, and through the communicating vessels established by this sector, the socioeconomies of the planet have ended up being deeply imbricated with each other. China and the US are not an exception, and their economic ties in the world of technology are many and very narrow. The great American technologists buy countless Chinese components, manufacture and assemble their final products there, sell in their colossal market, etc. Passing the commercial war to the technological level could be very harmful for all, but especially for the US and China .
There are many voices in the United States that show off their technological capacity and their business domination in the Nasdaq domains. They are absolutely sure that, if the commercial war with China passes to the technological terrain, it will be only the Chinese who will be greatly affected. This a priori belief is well founded, since the technological balance between the two powers seems to show that there are many American technology companies that have their production relocated to China. And we must not forget that the president Trump has already openly stated to the technological world the need to repatriate jobs from the sector to the American soil .
And neither can it be forgotten that a few taxes recently imposed by Trump, in the first anti-aircraft battles of the beginning of the commercial war with China, fell directly on products from technologies such as robotics, electronics, computers, telecommunications and aerospace. Some of the first attacks were ballistic attacks of intercontinental scope, and with clearly technological objectives. But they were not conceived of free will; rather, quite the contrary, they were strategically designed by the Trump administration with a computer algorithm to inflict the maximum possible damage on Chinese exports but designed at the same time to try to make the damage very limited for the US consumers.
But everything that shines is not American, and China is also a great leader in technology
But by much algorithm that they have designed in the USA, by a lot of American leadership that has in technology, by much GAFA giant (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon) that is "Made in US A ", the fact is that globalization has woven an indecipherable tangle of economic relations, including mainly the technological sector. The reality is that measuring the full impact of any commercial attack to the ultimate consequences has certainly become impossible. The socio-economic relations between the US and China (and the rest of the world) have become so complex that the technological battlefield is as unpredictable as the hidden board of a game of the classic minesweeper game . Contrary to what some think, and partly leading the opposite to the previous link of the CNBC, the technological battlefield in which China and the US can fight is not limited to a scenario with a United States technological leader which is limited to outsourcing production and assembly of electronics at low cost to a dependent China. Nothing is further from reality. The truth is that China and its citizens are very advanced technologically, and in many planes even give several returns to the developed countries.
From the previous link to the analysis of PIMCO, some data about it that draw attention show how, for example , China monopolizes the overwhelming figure of accounting for more than 40% of all e-commerce transactions worldwide; A decade ago his piece of this cake was less than 1%. Also in 2016 the digital economy of the red giant stood at a specific weight of 30% of the national GDP to reach some 3.4 trillion dollars, with which China ranks as the second digital economy in the world by importance only by behind that of the United States .
Other significant technological indicators reveal how the total value of all mobile transactions in China is 11 times higher than that of the US, how Chinese citizens totalize 49 monthly hours of use of smartphones compared to 45 of the Americans, or how 19% of Chinese Internet users are exclusively mobile users compared to 5% of the North American country. This is not to mention the positioning that they are adopting from the "dictapitalist" country in disruptive and future technologies such as Artificial Intelligence or Big Data, which can only end up giving them even more revenues of technological leadership and … ultimately also socioeconomic. All this shows how China is not merely a supplier of technological products, but it is also a colossal IT market which changes the tides of technological war in a diametrically opposite direction.
Well, how the battle in the technological arena is not as unbalanced in favor of the US as a priori one might think. In fact, the reality is that it is fairly balanced, and the damage can be huge and mutually inflicted between both opponents alike. In the technological field, China can not live (at least without unbearable damage) without the United States, but I am afraid that, like the United States, it can not live without China . That is not to mention the impact that a technological war between both countries could imply for the rest of the world: imagine for a moment what would happen globally if Apple stopped being able to put smartphones on the market, or worse if Amazon Web Services suffered a disruption in the provisioning of servers for their ubiquitous cloud services. Come on, a full-fledged Armageddon techie. And do not consider the scenario of a technological conflict as unlikely, it is rather the opposite: in fact already there are beginning to be scattered skirmishes in the sector, which at any moment can escalate to a general technological conflict.
In a plan that is more exclusively political, there are Trump strategies that (apparently) are paying off, as for example with North Korea, which is currently living the best moment in relations with its sister South Korea and with its own United States for many decades. We'll see what happens with Iran. And we'll see with Russia. And with China with more reason for today's analysis.
Viewed from a more general perspective, in the turbulent world of our days, more than a trade conflict limited only to the US and China, the global panorama seems like a war of guerrillas shouting "All against one and one against all." Or we should almost say, from an even broader prism, that the thing has already passed even to "All against all" (or maybe … even to "Save yourself who can") .
Really bring the commercial war to the technological terrain does not interest in good logic any of the two superpowers, but once entered into a violent spiral of aggression-reaction, Who has said that in wars logic always prevails? It would not be the first time we see someone put into practice that of "dying killing."
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