Alvin Toffler, the famous futurist, ended his exploration into the technological realm of new developments with what he called the “Third Wave” of technology. These new computerized systems, he said, would be transferred to the Asian powers, mainly China.
Now, in 2018, we have seen that transfer of technological power. It has been so successful, in fact, that an American “outsider,” Donald Trump, was elected on the jingoistic isolationist slogan of “Make America Great Again!” He promised to “bring those jobs home” from China and the other countries that had allegedly “stolen them.”
Most experts say that China will overtake the United States by 2029, and China, in fact, already leads the U.S. in purchasing power. Whereas the U.S. has been investing in the Military Industrial Complex (with its military in over 140 different nations), China has been seeking expansion through the direct economic development of other nations. This not only adds to China’s world-leading purchasing power (they make loans to these countries in exchange for using their natural resources and other industrial growth resources China needs), it also provides them with future allies.
Whereas the U. S. has been intervening in other countries militarily and making a “quick money killing through regime change,” China has not taken that road. Instead, they have been joining with the industrialists in other countries to constructively improve their economies and assist them in a more progressive agenda of stabilization.
Examples? Well, one merely has to look at the state of the Middle East, especially Iraq, to see how the United States has been wasting money and resources. Certainly, some cherry-picked corporation, such as Haliburton, made out like literal bandits, but nothing in Iraq has been improved overall after the fall of Saddam Hussein. The Iraqis are in the same predicament, economically speaking, as they were when Saddam ruled the country. In fact, some would argue, they were better off under Hussein.
The Gallup Poll of 2011 showed that the citizens of Iraq have become increasingly pessimistic about their economy and job outlook. Whereas the United States, under President Barack Obama, failed to investigate the trillions of dollars lost to the fraud of corrupt corporations in Iraq during the war (Obama said it was “water under the bridge”), which, in my opinion, was one of the worst failures of his two terms in office.
However, what is happening now, under the Republicans and Donald Trump, is far more dangerous than trying to close the barn after the corporate wartime profit horses have escaped. We are now in the imminent path to fulfilling the unilateralist goals of the Neocon Movement in the United States. This means an even faster movement toward reliance on the MIC for economic progress than has ever been seen in the history of the modern republic. This “progress” will come in the form of (once again) regime changes.
The Trump Administration is, step-by-step, breaking down the safety net of systems established to protect its citizens from banking corruption, food pollution, and environmental devastation. Over in China, on the other hand, there is an international economic expansion going on that defies everything going on over in the U.S. In fact, the China Development Bank (CDB) recently overtook the World Bank in the number of loans to other countries in 2011.
In addition, instead of propping up losing corporations, the way the U.S. did after the economic crisis of 2018, China is now shutting down corrupt corporations and even imprisoning its executives for a long time. This was the most recent case in the Anbang Insurance Company scandal. It seems that if you’re corrupt in the U. S. you get a raise, and in China you get a jail cell.
Of course, China also spends quite a bit less on its military infrastructure compared to the United States. In fact, the Trump Administration is expanding its nuclear arsenal and hardware in the coming years. This graph shows how fantastically more reckless the United States has become in military spending. The U.S. spends over 100 billion dollars more than all the major industrialized countries (including China) combined!
At this point, I want to bring in my hypothesis for these developments. If both major players (China and U.S.) continue development in their current ways, it could erupt into a stand-off of devastating proportions. I will first turn to the alliance between China and the theocratic nation of Iran.
Iran has been established as a military and economic “enabler” to many Israel and the United States foes in the Middle East, including Syria’s dictator Assad, the Hezbollah, the Palestinian Hamas, and many others. In addition, Iran is mostly behind the rebel support in the current proxy war against the Houthi rebels in Yemen. Iran is supporting the rebels with both hardware and manpower against Saudi Arabia and the U.S. interests.
Will China play a direct part in this war in Yemen if it gets too bad? Russia intervened on behalf of its economic partner, dictator Bashar al-Assad, and the rebels in Syria are certainly suffering for it. Why can’t this happen in Yemen? Perhaps it already is, indirectly. However, it’s not playing out the way one would expect. Beijing is already supporting the Saudi government by giving the Saudi-backed government in Yemen millions in economic aide. How much of that aide will reach the people caught in the middle is, of course, another question. But, because China has military aspirations of its own in the Middle East, it is willing to risk its alliance with Iran and pay both ends against the middle for the time being.
The Fourth Wave will be a confrontation between the world’s Military Industrial Complex and the world’s Progressive Industrial Complex. As it stands right now, in 2018, I believe China is winning that confrontation. Of course, as it did in World War Two, the United States may be willing to “risk it all” by playing its military might against world opinion. But, whereas we had the world behind us after World War Two because of our lend-lease program in Germany and our direct assistance to Japan’s reconstruction, we no longer have that international “safety net” to allow the United States to have a “get out of jail free card” in the event of a world war. Let’s face it. If Trump uses nukes on Iran, North Korea, Russia or China, the game will be over. Carl Sagan and his “Nuclear Winter” warning will have come to pass, and poor Carl will be spinning in his grave (and so will most of the world’s population).
Stop the Computers, I Want to Get Off
The Fourth Wave of Technology is the increasing reliance on computers in the form of artificial intelligence. Elon Musk and the late Stephen Hawking had grave fears about AI and its inevitable power getting into the wrong hands. Vladimir Putin, as that other hand, believes that the nation who controls AI can control the world, and he thinks that’s a good thing.
We have already seen AI’s perniciousness in the form of the Wall Street “flash crashes,” near-miss nuclear missile assaults, and the encroaching development of robotic and technological speed for profit, over safety for quality assurance. Unless these developments in artificial intelligence are controlled in order to protect human consumers, they will line the pockets of the owners, but they will endanger the lives of the population.
I propose that our world should have a meeting of scientists and not a meeting of politicians. Give these world-renowned scientists some political power in order to discover the ways in which we can cooperate in a “non-nation” and “non-political” way, in order to improve the human condition instead of separating humans for profiteering interests. Unless this occurs, almost immediately, we will be headed toward a military confrontation of historically mammoth and dangerous proportions.