ASML: The Jewel Of The Empire

The British Empire long dominated international trade and geo-political affairs. It used an immense and effective Navy and supporting infrastructure that became steadily more expensive and complex over time. As steam power came to prominence, coaling stations became strategic points of importance to ensure the facilitation of commerce and fuel for the Navy. While old-power politics was based on the number of a nation’s ships, today what might be more significant is the smallness of their chips!

 India, which would become Britain’s most lucrative colony, and a source of durable advantage, became referred to as the “Jewel of  the Empire.” The sheer vastness of it’s resources and labor pool gave Britain an immense advantage and perpetual market in which to sell it’s goods. The ‘Great Game’ as it used to be called became a shuffle and rush for colonial assets that would give powers advantage over each other in the quest for supremacy. Britain was usually on top because of it’s jewel. While massive ships, packed coaling stations, and the vast expanse of India were where strategies clashed in an analog past, today the focal point of this perpetual geo-political competition has shifted to semi-conductors (microchips) and Rare-Earth Elements. Some may have noticed that after US technology bans on Huawei, President Xi shortly after made a publicized visit to a REE facility, which may highlight his preferred method of retalliation.  

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