China or the United States, or… What Nation will Lead the 4th Industrial Revolution?
U.S.-China Trade War and the Fourth Industrial Revolution
Selected notes ~
+ The first industrial revolution, which commenced in the second half of the 18th century, was driven in large part by technological innovation — the steam engine. It was a prelude to the “machine age” which unfurled the rule of capitalism, driven by Britain, to the whole world. A century later, the second industrial revolution began. The late 19th century marked the beginning of the “electronic age,” during which the old capitalist countries entered a stage of imperialism. The era witnessed later the fall of Britain and the rise of the United States. The third industrial revolution started after World War II and significantly led human society into the “information age” with computing technology, biotechnology, and information technology. The United States has been an almost unchallenged world leader in both technological innovation and political, economic, and military predominance since.
These, plus with China’s political and policy coherence and consistency, its infrastructure-building capacity, and its huge consumer market, all are part of the inherent advantages that Beijing holds as it participates in the ongoing fourth revolutionary industrial competition among major powers. Yet, China is still far behind developed countries such as the United States in terms of industrial structure, capacity efficiency, and particularly core technologies and key components.
+ These industrial revolutions profoundly changed the political and economic landscapes of the world several times by significantly altering the productivity and production relations in and among countries, be they close or far to the core of the revolution. Out of all the impacts and consequences brought by the previous industrial revolutions, there were, of course, large-scale wars among major powers, be they hot or cold. These industrial revolutions ultimately changed the way we perceive, live, and act.
+ That may partially explain why the U.S. trade war with China began with a preemptive and targeted strike on China’s high-tech industry. In fact, China has made surprising quantitative achievements and a number of limited qualitative ones as well (like technological achievements by Huawei and other leading Chinese high-tech companies) in its grand national industrial rise. This, however, might have been a strategically alarming issue for the United States. If China continues to realize more qualitative achievements as it indeed has been trying to do so, then who will be the true leader in the fourth industrial revolution that may once again fundamentally change the political, economic, and social landscape of the world?
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