The Tesla Problem

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Tesla is flying high in China. It produced about 930 thousand models in 2021 with at least half made in Shanghai.

Now it decided to open a showroom in Urumqi, in Xinjiang province, where Uyghurs and Turkic Muslims are being forced to assimilate by Chinese authorities in what has been described as an act of genocide. Chinese authorities dismiss all responsibility.

Tesla has a problem though it chooses to dismiss it.

The problem is that it doesn’t give a damn about the forced assimilation going on in Xinjiang.

The problem is that, by its actions, it says to the public, ‘so long as we make money, we don’t care. We will certainly not upset the Chinese authorities because then our bottom line will be much affected. So there. We believe in freedom, absolutely, the freedom to make a buck wherever there’s a buck to me made. And as far as the present American administration, get off it, stop being so puritanical, let people make money, that’s the heart of the matter, don’t interfere with that or any of us in the company will not support you in the next election.’

Oh, the all mighty dollar, how its shiny light blinds the morals of some folks.

Here’s a smart, effective businessman, failing to see the big picture. Dismissing the humanitarian concerns of so many as mere pieties. An intelligent man blinded by his fast accumulating billions.

But it won’t do.

The world cannot give a free pass to China in its continuous human rights abuses.

China’s bellicosity is growing by the day, and to further its progress needs the assistance of western companies, banks and industrial concerns, willing to say ‘Yes! We want the money!’ as they bow to the angry and demanding dragon.

And in exchange, the mighty Chinese will treat them well, maybe grant them special rights in Taiwan once they invade the island, or wherever else they to choose to expand.

The Chinese government’s abuse of people in their own land is a precursor of things to come. Let it happen now and before you know it they will come for you, too.

The history of the world has taught us that lesson again and again but still we don’t get it.

We humans are fond of doing the ostrich number and burying our head in the sand.

Mr Musk, as leader of Tesla and Space X, has made important contributions to the world and to our nation. We thank him for them.

But maybe it is time he stepped aside.

Moral blindness is a detriment to leadership. And eventually to profits.

Take a break, Mr Musk. Broaden your views. You might surprise us all with your new insights.

Good luck.

PS – By the way, now and then, when you exult in your greatness, take a moment to mention the thousands of engineers working for you that make it all possible. They deserve it.

Oscar Valdes.  also available in, apple, google podcasts and buzzsprout.

US Technology versus China. How Much Should We Make Available for Them to Buy?

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Nothing that they cannot now produce themselves. 

China’s behavior has made it clear, through their aggressive behavior in the South China Sea and their policy of economic conquest implicit in the Belt and Road initiative, that they are set on a path to become the dominant power in the world. 

They have enormous technological capacity, a strong commitment to further it and are equal to us in drive and inventiveness. 

But they still don’t have America’s edge in many fields. 

Given that China has shown its colors, why assist them in their quest for dominance?

China’s push is much determined by the bargain they have made with their people. ‘In exchange for our quick rise,’ they have said to their citizens, ‘you will give up free speech and consent to the Communist Party’s detailed surveillance of your behavior.’

The party knows that those restrictions cannot last forever and feels compelled to show results to justify the repression. That is the pressure they’re under.

Why should America assist them with their plans?

It is reasonable to assume, that China will develop what it needs technologically on their own but that will take time. 

Time that we need to further our own advantages. 

Time to repair the social and economic infrastructure that has kept us from providing equal opportunities to our citizens. 

We need whatever edge we now have in the various fields to make our citizens stronger and better educated. 

Competition with China will last decades. We need sharp minds and able bodies who are convinced that our system is fair, respectful of human rights and worth fighting for. 

We need time to make clear what the American edge is.

As we produce better citizens we will likely keep that edge over China and dissuade the rest of the world from moving to their side. 

There is no guarantee that will happen, so we must work hard for it. 

The present administration, with its commitment to comprehensive infrastructure building, understands this need. 

There will be those, however, who in the interest of profits, will make the case for accommodating with China, that is to supply them with what they wish. But those interests are shortsighted, will undermine our resolve and give China the advantage.

Competition with China is here to stay and it can help us become a better nation. 

For that we’ll need inspiring leadership, bipartisan support and lots of gumption.

Oscar Valdes