During the Trump administration, it was discovered that the Obama administration had let Chinese efforts to manipulate US academics go unchecked while highlighting that the Russian government was funding domestic environmental groups in order to subvert US national gas and agriculture - energy and food being Russia's chief exports to Europe.

Sure enough, once Russia had blocked out the US - science bad in Europe, solar good - they turned the screws in Ukraine knowing France and Germany were too reliant on "organic" food and conventional energy from their eastern neighbor to do anything more than send ambulances for Ukrainian fighters. China, meanwhile, was crippled by blowback to its coronavirus research. Though they quickly deleted their entire database of over 15,0000 coronavirus samples and gutted the Wuhan labs after COVID-19 erupted from there, they found during the lockdown that they had become just as reliant on the west as the west had on them.(1)

That is why globalization is here to stay, finds a new paper. I never understood the resentment of it. It seemed to be the cause of protest by young white people on the coasts, but since they were the same demographic who hated vaccines, normal food, and natural gas, it was just assumed they possessed little critical thinking, like the goofballs wearing Che Guevara shirts while buying $5 coffees in Starbucks. In reality, globalization was providing better lives for people in developing countries who would otherwise be starving farmers. Yes, there are flaws - ruining Myanmar so rich elites can have electric cars they believe run on magic is bad - but free markets remain better than controlled ones. In the US, we have again seen what happens when dirigiste is the fashion among White House staffers and give $2 trillion to government union employees to save the world. Disaster.

Yet some claim because it happened that globalization is dead. It's not, and a Chinese spy balloon won't make a bit of difference in that.(2)

Australia, for example, imports a lot from the US, but look at their exports to China. That is a whole lot of Breville espresso machines. As people get wealthier, they want better stuff, and China does not want their better quality of life to subside.

The claim that China will overtake the US in creative ways is also overstated, the paper finds. For decades, we have heard that China would vault past America in science using sheer numbers and before that we were told that we had to subsidize Silicon Valley or Japan would take over.(3) If you want something that exists to be repackaged with other things that exist and sold cheaper, China is great, but as we saw with SARS-CoV-2, when they try to do anything original it may be disastrous. With 5% of the population, America leads the world in science and technology by a lot. We have the highest adult science literacy in the world. We lead in Nobel prizes.

That is due to globalization. When we couldn't turn more Americans into scientists, we turned more scientists into Americans. Yes, it has made spying possible, as China infesting various universities has shown, but if they need to pay American academics millions to recruit their friends for China it is because no one would move their otherwise. 

What won't be possible is the world devolving into two camps again, like the USSR and the US during the Cold War. The USSR was a spectacular failure because it tried to stop globalization, no differently than Europe is now worried because so much of their food and energy is outsourced to Russia.

China wants to move away from a planned economy because globalization has been good for them, the way free markets are always good for the poor and the rich.

It is here to stay, in both science and consumer goods, and that is a very good thing.


(1) "We must let the market play the fundamental role in the allocation of resources, and let the government play a better role. Some people say China will go for the planned economy. That’s by no means possible” -  VP Liu He saying China is no longer a communist dictatorship. Just a regular dictatorship.

(2) We have been spying on China since the 1940s when the communists won there and everyone who didn't like it moved to Taiwan. You can bet there isn't a lot of hand-wringing in China about shooting down a balloon the way it is here. Now China will send a hundred of them and watch the Biden administration try to claim they are all UFOs and giggle about it in Beijing.

(3) President Clinton even made H1B visas difficult for foreign workers using "Yellow Peril" inference, claiming they would move here and undercut real American workers. Despite that being against the law. It satisfied 1990s Democratic party beliefs that corporations were evil and only unions would prevent takeover by underpaid immigrants.