This is a possible scenario by ~2040: Centralized China vs International India. Surveillance state vs decentralized digital diaspora. Two rising powers, with very different cultures.

The US may be like the declining British Empire, whose dominance in 1913 was gone by 1945.
The naive version of this thesis is the idea that India will ever match, let alone out-execute China in physical infrastructure.

The sophisticated version is that it’s all going digital, decentralized, diasporic — and in that plane India is more naturally suited than China.
The conventional wisdom is that we are gearing up for a multi-decade conflict between the US and China.

But what if the US gets KO’d in the first round, by military defeat abroad and inflation at home, followed by civil conflict and/or a national divorce?
There’s another 1st round KO possibility, which I mention for the sake of completeness. Garside’s book “China Coup” makes the case that Xi could be felled by his internal enemies (possible!) and that this will lead to democratization (IMO implausible).…
The naive anti-China take is the idea that their navy is or will remain weak, that they’re an economic house of cards, that they’ll fall in a ditch. Cope, IMO.

The smarter version is that there are pressure points around leadership itself. That’s also the Longer Telegram thesis.
As a sci-fi scenario, let’s assume the 1st round US KO happens. The US loses to CCP on Taiwan, then sees a global run on the dollar, along with domestic unrest.

After all, fiat currency is backed by men with guns, so the dollar’s strength is tied to perceived military might.
After the dust settles, the century may then shape up.

The 1st Cold War between the US & Russia was tank against tank, plane against plane. Symmetric.

This 2nd Cold War between China and Indians + world (not India per se) may be centralization vs decentralization. Asymmetric.
The global conflict of capitalism vs communism, US vs USSR, was political and geographic. Who controls what territory?

The global conflict of centralization vs decentralization, China + tributaries vs Indians + allies, may be digital and economic. Who runs what networks?
People aren’t really gaming out how to protect liberal values in a world where the US military loses to CCP & the dollar fails. It’s just assumed this will never happen.

But the strength of the Chinese superstate in that scenario will be immense. Many would bend the knee.
Btw, on a 20 year timeframe, robotics may erode China’s manufacturing advantage, and drones may do the same to China’s military advantage — turning both into software.

Their ban on decentralized backends may even put them behind from a cybersecurity standpoint, in the long-term.

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Balaji Srinivasan

Balaji Srinivasan Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @balajis

16 Nov
Already happening. India’s most important export is the CEO. Their next most important is the globally savvy, English-speaking internet user.

Indeed, as more Indians learn English, the Anglosphere may become the Indosphere.
Just as the UK handed things off to the culturally adjacent US, the dark horse scenario is that democratic India and its diaspora need to become the global champion of liberal values, relative to China, if America descends into anarchy.
The UK relied on the US after they fell. This was a relatively friendly handoff between culturally adjacent, democratic parties.

The Indian diaspora is already fairly prominent in the West in tech and media, on left and right; and more bridges will be built as 1B+ come online.
Read 4 tweets
14 Nov
Ascending class & descending class is a better frame than poor, middle-class, rich.

First, poor Indians in the ascending class are happier than rich people in the descending class.

Second, ascent/descent captures rate of change, shows class isn't static.

Last, all can ascend.
The ascending class and descending class is the microeconomic version of the ascending world and the descending world.

Rather than assume static categories, like developed/developing world or rich/middle-class/poor, it puts the focus on rates of change.
The various versions of the elephant graph show the phenomenon of the ascending and descending class.

Roughly speaking, most of the world along with the global elite has been economically gaining in recent years, while the Western middle class has not.…
Read 6 tweets
14 Nov
Sean McMeekin's latest tour-de-force makes a strong case that Stalin should be thought of as the main actor in WW2 — not Hitler or the US.
One angle he goes into that I hadn't seen elsewhere is that the Soviets *wanted* the Japanese and Americans to fight.

Makes sense, given the Russo-Japanese War of 1905 and the 1939 Soviet/Japanese war in Manchuria! But not that widely discussed.…
He unearths some amazing quotes, which of course make sense, but are a new angle on things.

Even under Lenin, the Soviets *wanted* the Japanese to fight the Americans, and the Euros to fight each other. Then they'd roll in and install communism. Which is kind of what happened...
Read 5 tweets
14 Nov
Almost 75% of billionaires are not American.…
This list has many omissions, of course, but it's directionally accurate. And illustrates a few things.

1) You don't need a US visa to make it anymore.
2) Billionaires will exist no matter what the US government does. Millionaires too.
3) Asia isn't the future, it's the present.
Therefore slogans like "billionaires should not exist" or "every billionaire is a policy failure" actually stem from an outdated American chauvinist view of the world.

No US policy can now stop the founders of the world from finally rising. Because wealth is decentralizing.
Read 6 tweets
12 Nov
Oh, so you think the founder of a huge company might know something? Their success was survivorship bias. Dumb luck! As we all know, Zuck just flipped a coin and this datacenter appeared.
This is in response to the common trope that successful entrepreneurs were just "lucky". There are so many micro-decisions involved in building a company that it'd be quite a trick to simply random walk your way to infinity.
Chance certainly plays a role in many contests, and to a greater degree in investing than entrepreneurship, but to even be in the game in the first place requires some skill.

Put another way: missing one shot is luck, being in the NBA after making many shots is skill.
Read 5 tweets
12 Nov
We are building the ledger of record.

As each assertion goes on-chain, the metadata becomes verifiable.

- Proof-of-who via digital signature
- Proof-of-what via hash
- Proof-of-when via timestamp

Argument from cryptography begins superseding argument from authority.
We're transitioning from fiat information — it's true because this august institution said so! — to cryptoinformation, which is truth anyone can computationally verify.

Cryptocurrency is cryptoinformation on debits and credits. But it can be generalized.…
A recent talk on the ledger of record, with some slides.
Read 7 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!