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Peter Zeihan has been in my periphery for about 6 months but hasn’t made it onto my Top 50 list until this week. I’m sure I have watched somebody else’s produced YouTubes with him on voiceover talking about China, and I’m saying duh that’s stock footage of Shibuya you retard. But now that I’ve heard him on Sam Harris, purchased his book, The End of the World is Just the Beginning, and gotten in a chapter or two, I think he’s onto something. I should also say that I’ve gotten a little bit bored by The Age of AI by Kissinger, Schmidt and Huttenlocher, but I reckon I’ll finish it with Zeihan in mind.
The primary gut hunch I’ve been nursing for many years is that China is more likely to implode on itself long before it explodes all over the world. Much of this owes to my vague understanding of the long-term effects of its One Child Policy, and the market for infant girls it generated with Scandinavian countries that I’ve known about since my days of the ‘China Deal’ I pursued with my business partner back in ‘03-’04. Some of that is recounted here, especially regarding the rich boy ballers and Helen Wang. The short of it is that the CCP runs roughshod over the hundreds of millions of Chinese and their spoiled brat single sons with their Lambos, gold chains and satphones are one of the ridiculous results even first time visitors to Beijing can see. That is when they can see anything through the smog.
Zeihan’s bombshell in a nutshell is that China is going to undego a world historical population collapse in our lifetimes. That is going to redraw the global map. This connects with two other geopolitical pundits I’m familiar with. The first and foremost of which is Thomas P.M. Barnett, who became one of the first to open source his research (Stratfor) and then join a prediction market. At least that’s what I recall. Maybe Stratfor itself originated its operations as an internal prediction market. The second pundit was a one-trick pony by the name of Mark Steyn who went on and on with dire warnings about the Muslim ‘population bomb’ in the UK and globally. I haven’t paid either of these chaps much mind since I discovered them way back when; Barnett in early 2007 and Steyn around 2009.
Barnett is the author of The Pentagon’s New Map, which I thought to be bloody genius. I had never heard before that the nature of the ‘global cop’ role of the USA was primarily a function of our naval power as the full defense against piracy on the high seas. We rather take it for granted that Disney makes supersized cruise ships with waterparks built on them that take Bourgeois Florida Man and his issue on inanely carefree pleasure excursions. It ain’t the Coast Guard that’s keeping them safe. We also take it for granted that we can get Japanese or German autos whenever we feel like it as well as other foreign goods by the container shipload. Of course oil. It isn’t Her Majesty’s Royal Navy that’s keeping the globe pink. It’s our sailors and pilots. Yeah sorry to bore you with that old news. But I hadn’t thought of it that way much before 2007.
Zeihan picks up the ball from those two and their betters, I reckon, and puts it down simply that China’s failure will come alongside the failure of the deeper world order established by Bretton Woods. Supply chains will shrink and disappear and all other sorts of low hanging fruit will dry up. Generally when we Americans talk about the loss of the good old days we like to include US Steel in that narrative. It’s way beyond steel. It’s down to PPE we have been shown.
What is surprisingly delightful about Zeihan is the way he deadpans all of this without sounding like a prepper, but yeah shit’s going to get real. I can remember pleading with my wife at one time in 2004 or so, that it simply doesn’t get better than this. It did, and I’m grateful, but I’m definitely playing the barbell strategy. Secondarily, as I have been saying America is exceptional because of its built up environment for industrial success (and postmodern virality) Zeihan also resonates on similar octaves.
So keeping all this short and sweet, Zeihan is not to be ignored. He predicts the end of globalization as we know it and (I’m guessing) a more feudal and fortress America in the future. That’s one reason why you should subscribe here, because as I attach to the future of a zero-growth American economy, I’ll keep all of you in the loop for the private clubs I will belong to. It may not be all about decentralization after all. It may be all about the proper centralization of a new regime, but it definitely will not be coming from over the horizon. Also, yay Mexico, yay Canada. North America will rule.