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Andrey Martyanov on US vs China in industry and technology

@Thulean Friend

10 years ago they could have strangled China. Not now.

A matter for debate–in a larger scheme of things, especially after blatant support for Saakashvili and his eventual humiliation in the war of 080808, it became patently clear that “Empire” was not ready to face any peer (or near peer) competition. China learned that fast and after that it wouldn’t matter anyway since American deindustrialization by then was in irreversible mode, while Russia’s role as energy and strategic backup for China was already being implemented. Attempts to sabotage China’s ascent may have created some difficulties and slow down it a bit but no strangling was possible at that point. Chinese saw and lived through hardships Americans can not even grasp. By 2009 the US was also clearly bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan.

BTW, 5G is pretty overrated.

Maybe it is true but industrial economy is not and that’s the whole point. One of the last American crown jewels of micro-electronics is fast losing its shine. Other than that, what else can US possibly offer China what the rest of the world can not? Aircraft? For now–sure. What happens when CR 929 hits the market? Airbus is also happy to oblige any minute. The real game of the free trade–an American shtick for last decades–is not selling some crappy financial concoction invented at the Wall Street by Goldman Sachs’ boys–one must have goods which everyone needs to sell. Fashioning air and snake oil as a viable product doesn’t work anymore.

I knew things were not rosy for the US but then I learned that commercial shipbuilding in US is non-existent and, most likely, non-revivable, then came this:

Inadequate U.S. Skilled Labor Supply
The U.S. machine tools sector lacks assured access to a sufficiently large pool of skilled labor.
Many skilled workers are exiting the workforce due to age, and there are too few technical
educational programs to train those who could take their place. Without concerted action
that provides both a ready workforce and a continuously-charged pipeline of new employees,
the U.S. will not be able to maintain the large, vibrant, and diverse machine tools sector
needed to produce the required number and types of products when needed.

from here:


I deal with this problem on a daily basis. The hell is coming–courtesy of the pseudo-economists and other “sociologists” who preached this imbecilic gospel of post-industrialism. I am not sure that, seeing how Trump is sabotaged left-and-right, anything could be done to seriously address this issue. Most youth (75%) doesn’t see itself on manufacturing floor or in any STEM related position. Long story…

• Replies: @Icy Blast@Anonymous

Some anonymous (almost certainly) Soviet on US vs USSR in industry and technology, particularly in microelectronics

Anonymous[375] • Disclaimer says:

One of the last American crown jewels of micro-electronics is fast losing its shine.

This is an important point. One of the few technological areas the US had a clear lead over the Soviets in was microelectronics, specifically mass produced microelectronics and thus increased transistor density which leads to the higher clockspeed of computers, signal processing capabilities, avionics, and stuff like adaptive optics (microcomputers are also directly applied in NC machine tools in industry). The Soviets made up for this one area by a much broader spectrum of high technology. The Soviets also could always batch produce small quantities of the very best microelectronics, since their expertise (in physics, chemistry, materials science) was higher. It was just a question of perfecting the mass production of it (the particular kind of precision tooling, clean rooms, quality control practices) to such a degree of uniformity so as to mass produce it cheaply – that was something American industry perfected in the period from WWII to the Apollo program. Also, due to economic problems Soviets did not build enough production plants for microelectronics, so there was a production bottleneck on top of it. But the “technology” was in fact developed (just that actual components were in short supply).

Basically, since the Bell Labs system was destroyed in the 70s/80s, the US has “invented” nothing comparable. No interesting mechanisms (like the advances in WWII electro-mechanical fire control systems, servomechanisms and automatic control), no fundamentally new devices, no really new materials, etc. The US decided to just completely exploit an existing area (microelectronics – in one of those rare situations in which tiny advances in one narrow area automatically lead to “revolutionary” capabilities elsewhere (towards lower weight and power consumption) just because they are all related to a common device, the transistor) until now when semiconductors have reached a physical dead end, and on the other hand import Japanese machine tools for producing its own military equipment (e.g., atomic submarines). Soviets were ahead in: the automatic docking of spacecraft, virtually all parts of robotics and electro-mechanical (as opposed to purely solid state electronic) systems, hybrid computers instead of purely digital computers, photodetectors (lead-salt detectors used in military and IRST systems) used in homing devices, portable power plants (like the Pamir-3U device). Fundamentally new device schemes and even whole parts of fundamental science close to technology – nonlinear optics, “chaos in dynamical systems”, sustained thermonuclear fusion (the tokamak fusion trap), and ion (Hall effect) electrostatic thrusters (that are still the key to deep space propulsion), the “synchrotron” method of particle acceleration, were invented by Soviets.

That is to say: the US altered the nature of its technology base around the 1970s. Instead of expanding on a very broad front as in WWII, it relied on a single technology (that of microelectronics) with the belief that this is the most important part of the “technology base”. This it true in some ways: it is the most important base for increasing the economic effectiveness of ordinary (not high-performance) products, and so the most important base for boosting the economy as a whole. It improves the vast majority of the products that circulate in the economy. Production processes get far quicker and more efficient, energy consumption is reduced, etc. It is also crucial for discovering oil prospects (which depends heavily on microelectronics and general information processing) — this is why Russia still inherits this dependence on Exxon (but also why it has no good reasons for continuing to do so).

Thus if the US loses its predominance in microelectronics, it has nothing left.

• Replies: @Counterinsurgency@Old Smokey@Andrei Martyanov

Andrey Martyanov on USSR/Russia vs China


Good post.

Soviets were ahead in: the automatic docking of spacecraft, virtually all parts of robotics and electro-mechanical (as opposed to purely solid state electronic) systems, hybrid computers instead of purely digital computers, photodetectors

Many people still do not know that USSR pioneered satellite television (Orbita-1, 2 etc.) and was almost contemporary with US in activating space-based (satellite) navigation (positioning) systems, such as Parus and Cicada. I omit here fundamental research in materials, from building largest fully titanium-made objects on Earth such as pr. 945 SSGNs (NATO Sierra-class) to new composites. So, the list is long and many people even today can not understand where this whole Russian-made revolution in weapons came from, while anyone who actually studied both USSR and contemporary Russia had no problems anticipating it. As per China, as much as China’s economic success is undeniable and is massively impressive, there is still a “waiting period” for emergence as a true global power, which may come only after full cutting to size of the United States–a task which China currently is not ready (if ever) to undertake due to some purely cultural and technological problems. China certainly tries to do this Den’s thing of the monkey sitting on the tree watching two tigers fight below, but that time is long pass and Russia fights the US very pragmatically. In fact, if to view some results of recent massive Vostok-2018 strategic maneuvers many questions remain about the quality of Chinese military power as to the Chinese claims in other fields–such as aerospace.