Brooks on Cyberwar, Cascading Brutality and Global Cooperation

How cyberattacks descent into a covert tech war–with commensurate wall that stifle trade and interchange–in an insightful perspective from David Brooks on how collective responses (“a Geneva Convention that bans cyberactivity against citizens and private companies”)

Americans and Europeans tend to think it is self-defeating to engage in cyberattacks on private companies in a foreign country. You may learn something, but you destroy the trust that lubricates free exchange. Pretty soon your trade dries up because nobody wants to do business with a pirate. Investors go off in search of more transparent partners.But China’s cybermercantilists regard deceit as a natural tool of warfare.

Cyberattacks make perfect sense. Your competitors have worked hard to acquire intellectual property. Your system is more closed so innovation is not your competitive advantage. It is quicker and cheaper to steal. They will hate you for it, but who cares? They were going to hate you anyway. C’est la guerre.In a brutality cascade the Chinese don’t become more like us as the competition continues. We become more like them. And that is indeed what’s happening. The first thing Western companies do in response to cyberattacks is build up walls. Instead of being open stalls in the global marketplace, they begin to look more like opaque, rigidified castles.

via The Brutality Cascade – NYTimes.com.

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4 thoughts on “Brooks on Cyberwar, Cascading Brutality and Global Cooperation

  1. Taylor Shippen says:

    Resolving this escalating cyberwar seems unlikely as long as the economic status quo remains. Ultimately, we need to focus on finding solutions to the economic incentives that have created the cyberwar in the first place. One of the solutions will be time; in the next couple of decades, it is likely that the Chinese will begin loosing their competitive advantage in manufacturing as the standard of living increases and cheap wage labour begins to dry up. As this occurs, the need for Chinese firms to innovate will increase, thus reducing the need for continual cyber-espionage. In the mean time, a reduction in trade with China seems inevitable if U.S. firms feel they will lose profit by doing so.

  2. robertnishan says:

    Even though China benefits financially from disregarding intellectual property laws, they lose in the long run. Although not perfect, the United States will continue to be an example to the world because of its government and laws. As economies erode and monetary systems depreciate, moral integrity will be as valuable as natural resources.

  3. acpotts says:

    Wow. Never thought of cyberattacks as being a win-win situation. Interesting proposal. Not sure if I agree or disagree. If what Taylor says is true and there is a reduction in trade as a result of these cyber attacks, I imagine China will be hurt more by it than the United States. However, if there is no incentive to reduce these cyber attacks, the US is going to fall far behind China in terms of innovation.

  4. tylersearle91 says:

    China doesn’t care about straining our relationship through cyberattacks because our relationship is strained as it is, and what are we really going to do about it? Correct me if I’m wrong, but they really don’t have any information/technology/etc. that we need or want to steal from them, so we won’t retaliate in that way. Also, would we really decrease trade with them? If they’ve already stolen intellectual property, we might as well sell it to them, and get what we can.

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