Today the world knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is in fact a Silicon-Industrial Complex.
Beginning around the time of Donald Trump’s election, one which was incidentally opposed by the vast majority of oligarchs in Silicon Valley, companies including Facebook and its subsidiaries, Apple, Alphabet (the parent company of Google) and others instigated a campaign of mass censorship against ordinary Americans and other westerners who used online platforms to peacefully advance their political free speech. Although many thousands have complained about these totalitarian and discriminatory practices which in the case of professional commentators using social media are tantamount to economic blackmail, no meaningful action has been taken by any major western government.
Today however it is not ordinary users of social media platforms being censored and economically blackmailed, instead, one of the biggest companies in the world is effectively being “banned” by Google for violating Washington’s hegemonic “global community standards”. Specifically, since Washington issued a blanket order prohibiting the Chinese tech giant Huawei from the US market, Google has announced that it will no longer support its Android operating system and related apps running on Huawei smartphone devices. Later, Intel and Qualcomm also stated that they will no longer sell their chips to Huawei.
What the world has witnessed is the phenomenon of absolute power leading to absolute corruption with economic liberty being the fist victim. The concentration of global power in Washington and the concentration of tech power in Silicon Valley has lead to a draconian development in which a potential age of global technological cooperation in the name of advancing humanity has now led to a full scale hi-tech neo-cold war in which ordinary people will suffer the most. The Frankenstein monster that has consequently arisen ought to be named and shamed by supporters of liberty as the Silicon-Industrial Complex.
While some laughed when free speech advocates decried the monopolistic power of companies like Google, today’s events are no laughing matter. Huawei which is one of the most important companies whose origins are in China – the world’s second largest economy, has just experienced a big stakes version of what thousands of free speech enthusiasts in western countries have long had to endure.
With the connivance of Washington, Silicon Valley is trying to undermine Huawei’s global market share by making it impossible to effectively run the Android operating system and Android apps on Huawei’s forthcoming models. The fact that this has happened months before Huawei rolls out 5G services in some of the world’s biggest markets is clearly no coincidence. This is not a manifestation of a rules based free market. On the contrary, this is a worrying example of the excessive manipulation of global markets. This phenomenon is the antithesis of the pursuit of freedom, let alone a pursuit of human enlightenment.
The result is that while Android was once famed for its user/developer friendly characteristics and near universality, it has now become a weapon of corporate blackmail that is in the short term aimed at Huawei’s ability to fairly compete in the open market place and in the long term is aimed at stifling consumer choice when it comes to ordinary individuals looking for the best products at the best price.
This is not free market capitalism and nor is it socialism. To quote Mussolini, “Fascism should more properly be called corporatism, since it is the merger of state and corporate power“. According to this definition of classical fascism, Google’s actions are nothing short of a fascist endeavour that is antithetical to the letter and spirit of a free trading environment based on the principles of fair play and consumer liberty.
The rules should have been clear from the beginning: if one begins with the correct assumption that absolute power corrupts absolutely, it is the duty of government to gently foster a system of free and fair enterprise but one in which no single or group of corporate entities can monopolise the domestic or global market place. Instead, companies like Google can now coerce the public into self-censorship for fear for economic retribution and now this Frankenstein monster has grown to the point that Google is now working with the US government to stifle normal free and fair international commerce along the lines of classical Italian fascism.
Far from history ending at the conclusion of the 20th century’s Cold War, it is sadly being repeated. An age that should have been defined by technology acting as a beacon of human enlightenment has been refashioned into a tool of cold warfare. Just as the US and USSR could have mutually gained from cooperation during the 20th century, China and the US could serve the entire planet by pooling the innovative strengths of both countries in an atmosphere of cooperative enterprise on a free and voluntary basis.
Instead, the corporate fascism that began as a tool of censorship against Americans exercising their treasured First Amendment rights is now a tool of international hostility as Huawei is been provoked in a completely unnecessary manner by the Silicon-Industrial Complex.
Whether the enemies of freedom call it “community standards” or “national security”, the war against economic and political liberty is very real. Today it has just been internationalised to Cold War proportions. The world has taken a giant leap backward as a result.