In This Issue
Vol. 27 Issue 6
DISENGAGEMENT: PART IV – Conflicts of Interest, Conflicts of Finance
- Paying for Abuse
- Financing the System
- Disengaging Dollars
“If we command our wealth, we shall be rich and free. If our wealth commands us, we are poor indeed.” – Edmund Burke
“blood money: 1: money obtained at the cost of another’s life [….] The blood money earned by people who profited from the tragedy.” – Merriam-Webster
In “SNS: Part III: Tech at War,” we covered the perils of China’s currency policy, technology theft and transfer, compromise of the US academic system, and other economic warfare policies. The comprehensive package of economic warfare tactics employed by the government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is impressive. Not impressive is that we across the free world are financing it.
There is something uniquely ill-advised about financing one’s enemies.
In 2018, I attended a meeting of investors in which a man (whose name I don’t recall) spoke about business opportunities in China. For an hour over lunch, this individual described the excellent profit margins that could be made exporting surveillance technology to the PRC. On the way out, one of my hosts asked me my impression. I responded that while ostensibly the business arrangements this man was pushing were legal, they shouldn’t be. I noted that those Chinese companies would likely wind up on the Department of Commerce’s Entity List sooner or later, and deservedly so.
I also added that given the nature of the government of China, what this man was doing for a profit was the very definition of evil.
For many of us, there is a category we might call “money we don’t want to earn” – for example, by selling drugs, financing child labor or other human-rights abuses, horrific violations of the natural environment, or committing acts of treason, for starters. Across the investing world, the idea that “capital F” Finance ought to be more responsible for the outcomes generated by its allocations of capital is, today, not unpopular.
Among a certain set, however, it is their bread and butter.
One of the most important ways we can disengage with China is by restricting the avenues through which money in the free world finds itself funding the activities of the Chinese state.