Posted by: seanmalstrom | July 11, 2019

New World Disorder

Ring the bell, reader! Ring the bell!

Above: Reader rings the bell.

I want to read to you a letter written together by the three console companies.

“Who are they?” asks the dubious reader.

Silly reader! They are Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo. They have gotten together and written a letter. Let us read it together.

Ahem…

Dear Mr. Barloon:

Microsoft Corporation (“Microsoft”), Nintendo of America Inc. (“Nintendo”), and Sony Interactive Entertainment LLC (“SIE”) respectfully submit these joint written comments in response to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative’s (“USTR”) request for public comments regarding products imported from China that could be subject to tariffs pursuant to USTR’s Section 301 investigation of China’s acts, policies, and practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property (“IP”), and innovation.1

At the outset, we note that we support the Entertainment Software Association’s (“ESA”) submission requesting removal of a broader range of videogaming-related Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (“HTSUS”) subheadings from the final tariff list. As leading video game console manufacturers, we submit this separate submission to highlight the enormous impact and undue economic harm that proposed tariffs on video game consoles would have on the entire video game ecosystem.

In particular, tariffs on video game consoles would:

• Injure consumers, video game developers, retailers and console manufacturers;
• Put thousands of high-value, rewarding U.S. jobs at risk; and
• Stifle innovation in our industry and beyond.

This story isn’t new, but I wanted to put it here to place it in proper context. Oh noes, they don’t like the tariffs. Will people please think of the video game companies? Ba ha ha ha ha ha. The public, even gamers, don’t care about the game companies. They simply aren’t essential.

Since there are people in the game industry that do read this site, perhaps this will put a clue as to what the FUTURE will be (everyone wants to know the future because that is where we are all going to go!).

Let us look at the ‘reasons’ why these console companies oppose tariffs.

  1. Our Companies and the Video Game Industry Drive U.S. Economic Growth and
    Technological Innovation

Technological innovation? Ha ha ha. Making new Halos and Mario games is such ‘technological breakthroughs’ hahahaha. The console companies sound stupid here. Their numbers of ‘growth’ will be ignored because of the correlation factor. A Trump official would simply reply, “You’ve got it backward. You are not driving America’s growth, it is America that is driving your economic growth.” And that would be exactly right.

II. Video Game Consoles Are Highly Specialized Products With Complex Supply Chains

They’re just dumbed down computers. What a joke. The early consoles were entirely manufactured in the United States (e.g. Atari).  This letter really shows how arrogant these console companies think they are to suggest their console is something other than an elaborate toy.

III. Beyond Video Game Console Makers, U.S. Consumers, and U.S. Retailers, the Proposed Tariffs Would Asymmetrically Harm Small and Medium-Sized Software Developers Across America

Since when do software developers manufacture anything? Everything they do is digital. They don’t even make physical games anymore.

The only way additional console costs would hurt consumers is if these console companies pass the buck to the consumers. With how much money all three console companies are making, they can easily absorb that cost and not pass the buck to the consumer. If helping developers is soooo important, they would do this.

But it is not about that. It is about keeping that large profit margin with Chinese slave-like labor.

IV. Tariffs Could Hinder or Delay Technological Innovation in a Broad Range of Applications Beyond Gaming

This is so weak. Tariffs may hinder ‘future tech leaps and discoveries’ of gaming. You might as well say that tariffs will cause whales from the sky.

Many countries have tariffs, even with China. But the United States is the largest market which is the largest profit pipeline for these countries.

V. Imposing Tariffs on Video Game Consoles Would Not Be “Practicable or Effective to Obtain the Elimination” of China’s Problematic IP Practices

That is not the goal you dumbasses.

The joint letter is signed by three vice presidents of the companies which I find interesting. They are also all female which I did not expect. The Nintendo one is Vice President of Business Affairs Devon Pritchard. Here is her official photo:

Devon Pritchard

Above: No, I am not making this up. This is her official profile photo on her Twitter.

OK, I am going to explain the future to not so much these console companies but these ladies who apparently are so ‘woke’ to write this ‘very important letter’.

“Is this why you are making me ring the bell?” asks the reader.

Yes. It is a New Age. Not a New World Order but a New World DISORDER. (Many analysts are pointing to this, most famous one is Peter Zelhan.)

After World War 2, nearly every economy was crushed except for the United States. Had a European power been the last one standing, either Allied or Axis, their reaction would be to create colonies or set up legions. The United States, being a very different type of country, did something completely remarkable: they rebuilt other countries.

Not only did the US rebuild other countries, such as Japan, Germany, and such, the US even protected their trade routes FOR FREE. Why did the US do this? They wanted one thing in return from the country: do not fall to Communism and do not ally with the Soviet Union. In the era of the Cold War, this was the US Foreign Policy. Many ‘wars’ and tons of money was spent executing this policy. This was all to contain the Soviet Union and destroy it.

(Everything I have said so far is already historical fact and is not subject to debate. But without knowing this, we cannot know what is to come…)

The Soviet Union did fall in one way or another. The Cold War is officially over. This occurred during the first Bush administration (meaning the fall of the Berlin wall). Each presidential election after has in common the winning candidate insisting on changing the status quo of American foreign policy.

Let me repeat that as it flew by the reader. Every presidential election after Bush I was the winning candidate insisting on change to the status quo of American foreign policy. This is not to say such a change was preferred, it is to say the change was valued over the status quo of the Cold War.

Americans of all political stripes do agree on one thing: they despise foreign aid. They hate it. They can’t stand it. They do not like it for different reasons. Liberals would prefer to see foreign aid money spent on citizens at home. Conservatives see foreign aid as propping up tyranny in other parts of the world. The point is, it is politically the new third rail (touch it, you’re dead).

Various administrations have put out new reasons for foreign policy of continuing protection of other countries’ shipping lanes and keeping US military stationed overseas. Bill Clinton said it was to protect ‘labor’ and ‘the environment’. Bush II said it was to ‘nation build’ the Middle East. While the American public preferred change to the status quo, none of these options are satisfactory. Foreign political apathy ensued outside the events of 9/11.

There is only one viable political reason to ensure the US protect the shipping lanes of other countries: oil. This is the only thing the public would grudgingly accept to spend money and human lives. They didn’t like it, but it is what it is.

Then a technological breakthrough happened. It has changed everything. It will change the world more than the invention of the computer, more than the invention of the Internet.

The reader is excited. “Tell me, Malstrom. What is it? What is it!?

It is the Shale Revolution. The Shale Revolution has not only given the United States a practically infinite supply of natural gas, it has given the United States its own source of oil bigger than Saudi Arabia’s. As I write this, Saudi Arabia is hurriedly trying to diversify their economy because they know their big oil days are over.

This energy revolution doesn’t end there. It leads to cheaper manufacturing costs. This is what is allowing a renaissance in American manufacturing, not Trump. Trump is simply getting on board and trying to hurry it.

Most important of all, the Shale Revolution is revolutionizing United States foreign policy. The last remaining reason for protecting other countries’ trade routes is gone. Since the United States can provide its own energy needs, there is no reason to be in the Middle East, no reason to police the world.

Changes happen glacially, but they do happen. Manufacturing is pulling back to the US. Coupled with newer advances, say 3d printing, the future of manufacturing is going to be local.

There is no political capital to protect China’s shipping lanes. There is no political capital to protect the shithole countries of the Middle East.

The future is America rising and… becoming absent on the world stage. Other countries will become more desperate and the next cycle of wars will start as they always do in history.

The issue isn’t about tariffs. The issue is that the US is pulling out of protecting other’s shipping lanes. Aside from the tariffs, these companies will eventually manufacture locally over time. It will become the cheapest and safest option.

Ring the bell, reader. It is the New World Disorder. These console company ‘vice presidents’ are absurd and do not seem to understand the big tectonic shift going on beneath their feet. Nintendo, wisely, has already moved some of their manufacturing from China to Southeast Asia. China is going to go down hard. But ten to twenty years from now, there will likely be pressure within the US to withdraw even further. Expect tariffs even on the Southeastern Asia countries eventually.

I can’t wait to see Nintendo consoles manufactured in the US. It’ll happen sooner than you think.


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