October 15, 2007: A war with China, over Taiwan¬ís
continued independence, would have some interesting economic and political side
effects. Basically, the loss (even temporary) of Taiwan production will not be
the end of the world. We got a taste of that when there was a fire, a few years
back, at factory there that made a key electronic component. There would be
some shortages at the consumer level, but the industry plans for such
interruptions, and sees planning for those events as a competitive opportunity.
That is, the companies that are most prepared (via stockpiles, alternative
components or suppliers) are going to gain market share. The unprepared are
going to suffer. Taking out all of Taiwan is a major interruption, but some
companies have planned for that eventuality.
The Chinese have a bigger problem, in that
interruption of their seaborne trade would have immediate, and serious economic
and political impact. Over a hundred million people would be put out of work.
The main thing that keeps the Chinese Communist Party in power has been
economic growth. Without it, China would have gone the way of the Communist
dictatorships in Eastern Europe.
Look at it this way, a protracted war against
Taiwan, including interruption of commercial shipping, would do far more damage
to China, than to the Western nations that trade with China. While journalists
can quickly whip up nightmare scenarios about Americans unable to cope with the
loss of Chinese goods, the American companies have been using risk management
techniques for decades to plan for these eventualities, and deal with them.
This goes largely unnoticed by the general public, but it would be a major
"weapon" in any future war with China.
The Chinese are aware of risk management, and many
of the Chinese grad students in the U.S. learn all about. These Chinese MBEs
return home and scare the hell out of the Chinese leadership by describing in
chilling detail just how behind the curve China is in this department. As a
result, China appears to have shifted to a strategy of subverting political
parties on Taiwan, and terrorizing others, in order to eventually carry out a
voluntary merger with the mainland.