US to wage tech war strangling China’s semiconductor industry

A printed circuit board displayed on a stand of Texas Instruments Inc. at the China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai, China on November 8, 2021. / Getty

A circuit board displayed on a stand of Texas Instruments Inc. at the China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai, China on November 8, 2021. / Getty

Editor’s Note: Keith Lamb graduated from the University of Oxford with an MA in Contemporary Chinese Studies. His main research interests are Chinese international relations and “socialism with Chinese characteristics”. The article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of CGTN.

Since 2015, the United States has introduced technology restrictions preventing China from both openly competing in consumer markets and from acquiring technology. The restrictions have focused on the semiconductor industry and related sectors. For example, Chinese chipmaker Semiconductor Manufacturing International (SMIC) was blacklisted in December 2020, and just before that, both US and non-US chipmakers that use US semiconductor technology were forced to comply with US sanctions, which meant they could no longer take orders. companies like Huawei.

The United States justified its actions by citing China’s civil-military integration where semiconductors can be used in advanced weapons. However, even if this is true, given that the US military and the microchip industry have grown in tandem, this cross would not be extraordinary. In any case, it is not the Chinese military that surrounds the United States, nor does China seek to confront the United States which is solidly protected by two oceans and two complacent neighbors.

Another justification for countering the Chinese tech industry is based on spurious allegations of human rights violations. For example, Hikvision, which makes video material, was recently sanctioned for being linked to allegations of Uighur “genocide”. However, these claims, like Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, have turned out to be a despicable hoax. Therefore, the Uighur propaganda on atrocities is part of a “reaction to the problem” ploy where American aggression, such as the semiconductor sanctions, can be camouflaged from the Western public as a reasonable reaction to the problem. a pre-existing problem.

Indeed, since 2015, when the technological war started, in terms of human rights, China has improved. Salaries have increased, cities are getting cleaner, corruption has decreased, well-being has improved, transport is more efficient and extreme poverty no longer persists. This has led the Chinese government system to receive massive support.

However, this begs the question of what are the real reasons why the United States is seeking to engage in a technology war and choke out the Chinese semiconductor industry? The complex but often overlooked answer is world-class analysis where social empowerment requires cutting-edge technology. In the case of China, the blocking of the Chinese semiconductor industry is an attempt to block the construction of socialism.

View of the Yitian 710 ARM fabricated server processor, developed by Alibaba’s T-Head semiconductor internal unit, at the Apsara conference, an annual cloud services technology forum hosted by the Alibaba Group, in Hangzhou, east China’s Zhejiang Province, October 19, 2021. / Getty

View of the Yitian 710 ARM fabricated server processor, developed by Alibaba’s T-Head semiconductor internal unit, at the Apsara conference, an annual cloud services technology forum hosted by the Alibaba Group, in Hangzhou, east China’s Zhejiang Province, October 19, 2021. / Getty

When it comes to socialism and capitalism, China and American capital have long been engaged in a game of chess where technology has been central. For example, market reforms in Deng Xiaoping’s time boosted the profits of Western capital, which entered new markets and extracted a large surplus from Chinese labor. While China was stuck at the bottom of the technological hierarchy, this inequality allowed China to acquire advanced production processes and the very technology needed to build socialism.

It is important to note that the Chinese, with their historical material perspectives, well know that technological advancements lead to epoch-changing realities. China’s goal of building a modern socialist country by 2049 is based on mastering semiconductor technology, which is the keystone of the modern era in innovations such as electric vehicles. autonomous; fully automated AI production systems and possible supercomputers.

Looking at how technology led to previous social transformations, we see that feudal technology limited labor to agriculture where only a fraction of the surplus could support artisans and entrepreneurs. Mechanization transferred labor to the factory, and the increased surplus supported more workers engaged in scientific activities, further accelerating technological progress. Simply put, we make technology, but technology remakes us, which opens more new avenues for social and technological development.

It is not necessary for an Albert Einstein to consider how mastery of semiconductors, in the right hands, can lead to future socialist results. One can very well imagine how driverless and ownerless cars lead to greater efficiency as resources are not duplicated or wasted in unnecessary privatized consumption and maintenance. Fully automatic production frees up industrial labor for creative and inventive labor, thereby further accelerating technological development and fully bringing into play the fundamental resource that is the unalienated human being.

Therefore, for those whose transnational class hegemony rests on upholding the capitalist mode of production, dominating technological heights, the potential socialist success of China, rather than any military prowess or violation of human rights, is the threat. First, it breaks the technological hegemony of capitalism which has so far allowed it to extract a greater surplus from the countries of the South. Second, if the United States no longer monopolizes the pinnacles of weapon technology, the hard American power that has been used, both prolifically and irresponsibly, to subjugate the countries of the South is dulled. Third, China’s socialist example would break the monopoly of Western development ideology by providing an alternative example not only to the countries of the South, but also to the Western working classes who might also demand a socialist future.

Without a doubt, some may be skeptical of my analysis because they have been brainwashed by the historical view that “liberal capitalism” is the umbrella system that ensures optimal technological progress. However, if this is true, the United States does not need to restrain China’s socialist development, as systemic “deficiencies” should lead to failure which can only be rectified by embracing “liberal capitalism”. . However, China, with its historical materialist perspective, which combines technology with social transformation, has already, even before its socialist goal of 2049, achieved amazing successes.

Thus, the failure of liberal ideology and the material success of China, coupled with the American technological war to contain China, prove that the transnational “liberal capital” which controls the United States clearly no longer believes in superiority. innate of their own system. However, like former feudal lords, these elites will nevertheless seek, by dint of hook and crook, to preserve their systemic privileges which are based on the preservation of global technological inequalities.

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About Joaquin Robertson

Joaquin Robertson

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