Professor Chris Miller on Hidden Forces Podcast: The Battle Over Semiconductors & US-China Competition


In Episode 274 of Hidden Forces, Demetri Kofinas speaks with Chris Miller. Chris is Associate Professor of International History at the graduate school of global affairs at Tufts University. He is also the author of Chip War, which chronicles the geopolitical history of a decades-long battle to control the modern world’s most critical resource: the microchip (or semiconductor) and the commercial industry that supports it.

We spend the first hour discussing the technological, commercial, and distributional characteristics of the existing semiconductor supply chain. Chris explains the various steps involved in the production process, the incentives that operate in the industry, the technological imperatives that inform investment decisions, and the role of government subsidies and regulations, all of which explain the globally distributed and highly efficient nature of the semiconductor industry and why it is more vulnerable than ever to geopolitical disruption.

The second hour is where we focus our attention on the geostrategic dimension of chip competition, the steps that are being taken to reorganize the industry, the efforts being made to build resiliency into various parts of the supply chain, and what the main challenges are to doing that successfully for both the US and China.

The goal of this conversation is to bring clarity to a subject that has not only captivated the public interest but which increasingly determines the national security priorities and strategic investment decisions of the United States and without which the modern world would cease to function.

Listen to the episode here.

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