Peter Thiel Is Right For Once
Peter Thiel is Right For Once
There is almost nothing Peter Thiel and I would agree on. In fact, I view him as an all-around horrible person.
However, his recent reversal on the subject of Crypto-Currencies is a ray of sunlight coming from an otherwise moral black hole.
Throughout the Trump administration’s time in office, there was almost nothing I could find myself in agreement on. The closest it came to my seeing anything positive about the man and policies was on the subject of China. I thoroughly disagreed with his imposition of tariffs and entirely by-passing use of the WTC. I could even have supported some sort of action/negotiation on a bilateral basis. The problem with China is, however, not just China, it’s the internal policies of the USA that China exacerbates. And I was as much concerned about these as I was about China’s taking advantage of the situation.
Germany exports almost as much to China on a dollar basis as the USA. German imports roughly match their exports to China. The USA imports from China more than 4 times what it exports. This in many ways exemplifies more than a problem with China vis a vis the USA.
Nevertheless, what the USA and the rest of the western liberal democracies have in common is the threat that China poses to the economic and financial infrastructure that most of the world currently uses. China has a very open plan that is well underway to replace this. This might otherwise be a fine thing if China were a democratic system dedicated to the principles of human rights, free expression and free and fair elections of their government. But it is not.
A world economic and financial system that has no component of ethical standards and welcomes tyrannical and corrupt governments as reasonable participants in its system is a genuine problem.
I have great admiration for what China has accomplished since Deng Xiaoping came to power (although never holding CCP General Secretary or President). Much of it was accomplished in rough fashion, but one could make the argument that improving the lives of such a large population would not easily be done through entirely democratic means. And what China has accomplished since truly stands as one of the greatest improvements of basic human needs of any population in history.
It should be time in China for more openness and freedom though. But it is turning away from that direction and is focusing its ambitions on reshaping the world in its own political image: top down and free of notions of right and wrong behavior of its partners.
Its version of the world’s economic arrangement will accept and support some of the worst human rights violators and militaristic threats to western liberal democracies.
Crypto-currencies and the ideology underpinning notions of “decentralized” platforms are a significant component of their strategy to take power from the dollar reserve system and its (albeit imperfect) oversight that includes mechanisms to punish human rights violators and criminals generally.
I have written extensively about the problems of crypto and decentralization. I find it painful that the only voice that is now speaking up and bringing attention to Chinese exploitation of these as potential weapons in service of the above is someone as otherwise abhorrent as Peter Thiel.
But, at this point, the feckless and passive or ignorant inaction of mainstream politicians and business leaders in the West begs for some clear and clear-headed recognition of this problem. China outlaws crypto and the West should too. If a clear head can’t be found among the unsullied and presumed true believers in the western liberal democratic order, I’ll take dirty old Peter.