Chip War: The Fight for the World's Most Critical Technology (Hardcover)
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An epic account of the decades-long battle to control what has emerged as the world’s most critical resource—microchip technology—with the United States and China increasingly in conflict.
You may be surprised to learn that microchips are the new oil—the scarce resource on which the modern world depends. Today, military, economic, and geopolitical power are built on a foundation of computer chips. Virtually everything—from missiles to microwaves—runs on chips, including cars, smartphones, the stock market, even the electric grid. Until recently, America designed and built the fastest chips and maintained its lead as the #1 superpower, but America’s edge is in danger of slipping, undermined by players in Taiwan, Korea, and Europe taking over manufacturing. Now, as Chip War reveals, China, which spends more on chips than any other product, is pouring billions into a chip-building initiative to catch up to the US. At stake is America’s military superiority and economic prosperity.
Economic historian Chris Miller explains how the technology works and why it’s so important, recounting the fascinating events that led to the United States perfecting the chip design, and to America’s victory in the Cold War by using faster chips to render the Soviet Union’s arsenal of precision-guided weapons obsolete. But lately, America has let key components of the chip-building process slip out of its grasp, leading to a worldwide chip shortage and a new war brewing with a superpower adversary that is desperate to bridge the gap.
Illuminating, timely, and fascinating, Chip War shows that, to make sense of the current state of politics, economics, and technology, we must first understand the vital role played by chips.
About the Author
Chris Miller is Assistant Professor of International History at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He also serves as Jeane Kirkpatrick Visiting Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, Eurasia Director at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, and as a Director at Greenmantle, a New York and London-based macroeconomic and geopolitical consultancy. He is the author of three previous books—Putinomics, The Struggle to Save the Soviet Economy, and We Shall Be Masters—and he frequently writes for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The American Interest, and other outlets. He received a PhD in history from Yale University and an AB in history from Harvard University. Currently, he resides in Belmont, Massachusetts. Visit his website at ChristopherMiller.net and follow him on Twitter @CRMiller1.
“An important wake-up call with solid historical context…America’s tech lead is shrinking, so the time has come to develop policies to ensure that the secret machinery of the digital era continues to operate smoothly…Miller’s implicit message to U.S. policymakers is to recognize the danger and act accordingly.”
"Remarkable…An eye-popping work, a unique combination of economic and technological—and strategic—analysis."
—Paul Kennedy, bestselling author of The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers
"Miller's brain works like the computer chip he writes about. It is packed with dizzying, complex circuitry that results in sparkling clarity. He has written not only an amazing story, but also one of overwhelming importance that is both taut in style and epic in scope."
—Robert D. Kaplan, New York Times bestselling author of The Revenge of Geography and Asia’s Cauldron
“Terrific…With extraordinary breadth and absorbing storytelling, Chris Miller traces the global history of the chips that rule the world. A timely tale of how we got to now and the high-stakes politics that will determine what’s next.”
—Margaret O’Mara, author of The Code: Silicon Valley and the Remaking of America
"Essential for understanding our modern world. With a sweeping narrative...Chris Miller tells how our chip-powered world has been shaped by constant battles—among innovators and technologies, among companies, among countries, and now, of critical importance, in the great power competition between the United States and China.”
—Daniel Yergin, Pulitzer-prize winning author of The Prize, The Quest, and The New Map
“The future of humanity hinges on the ‘chip war’ between two ecosystems vying to design and make the most advanced micro-processors. Chip War provides just the historical perspective we need as the Sino-American rivalry intensifies. An indispensable book.”
—Niall Ferguson, Milbank Family Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford, and author of Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe
"Captures the essence of the most critical and strategic element of the 21st century geostrategic competition. Brilliantly and entertainingly written, deeply convincing, and grounded in both history and technology. A tour de force!"
—Admiral James Stavridis, USN (Ret); Vice Chair, Global Affairs, The Carlyle Group; 16th Supreme Allied Commander of NATO; and author of 2034: A Novel of the Next World War
"One of the most important books I've read in years —engrossing, beautifully written. Miller shows that, for all its manifest flaws and failures, the American capitalist system has repeatedly outperformed other systems and in the process has done much to bolster the security of democracy."
—Robert Kagan, Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution, Columnist for The Washington Post, and author of The Jungle Grows Back: America and Our Imperiled World
"If you care about technology, or America’s future prosperity, or its continuing security, this is a book you have to read.”
—Lawrence H. Summers, 71st U.S. Secretary of the Treasury and Charles W. Eliot University Professor at Harvard University
"Outstanding. Miller's history of the chip covers all angles: technological, financial, and especially political….The go-to reference on one of the most important industries today."
—Dan Wang, Technology Analyst at Gavekal Dragonomics