Vaclav Smil has already written about how foundational technologies like steel, concrete, plastics, and fertilizers underpin our civilization; without these, we would regress thousands of years. Add microchips to this list, a sector marked by a winner-takes-all dynamic, as explained by Chris Miller.
Taiwan Semiconductor is the leading chip foundry, while the Dutch company, ASML, monopolizes EUV technology, vital for future chip generations. In this era of global superpower rivalry, control over these chips could be a deciding factor in conflict outcomes.
Whoever controls this technology, the supply chains and manufacturing facilities may influence the course of global history. Will the world continue to be led by the free and the brave, or will it succumb to the rule of authoritarians, leading to a survival-of-the-fittest society? A big part of the answer depends on the unfolding story of the semiconductor.
Miller’s book explores the history and highlights what’s at stake, making Chip Wars an essential read for our time.