Tales from the Edict 29 - America Prepares
Updated: Apr 30, 2021
By 2028 those in the US administration were reading the signs correctly. America and the world would suffer the consequences of two decades of financial profligacy. It was no longer a question of if, but when. The Federal Reserve met privately with the President, appraising her of the situation. A small task force was set up, charged with putting together a plan to survive the coming financial storm. Information was kept buttoned down as a second team began gaming the situation using modified corporation simulations overseen by the secretive RAND Corporation. Accounts of those simulations recall no acceptable outcome could be divined from the immense data inflows. But it still gave the US an edge. No other major country or trading bloc could or would act on what was coming down the line and this lack of preparedness worked for the US. (Editor’s note: The information was shared among the Five Eyes (FVEY) and was later revealed to have enabled discrete contingency planning by the other members).
In 2029 Elon Musk sold his stake in SpaceX. By now, SpaceX was the principal contractor to NASA and the United States government for space launches and much more. Strategic ownership of such an asset was vital for the US post-depression planning. Readers are reminded that the economic downturn of 2030 proved to be significantly deeper than 2008 or the 1930s financial depression before. At the time no one could understand why he would sell, or why America would buy, but now with hindsight it was a clever move. It is almost certain that Musk was made aware of the economic simulations that were being run, and the detail of the deal has never been disclosed. In August of that year the US took over a significant stake in SpaceX and the voting rights along with it. SpaceX operations continued as before though several significant management changes occurred. Acquiring SpaceX was only one part of the plan the US was pursuing.
In October 2029 the boutique hedge fund Lovers & Co. agreed the purchase of 5.5% of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, Limited (TSMC). The company value jumped 40% on the announcement and eight days later another 13.85% of the company traded hands at the elevated price. Finally, in November it was announced that the company had become majority owned by USGIA, a little-known acronym for an unheard-of organisation run by CEO Rory O'More. Within the month, key technology transfers complete and unannounced, a repatriation program began to bring as much of the manufacturing facilities back to the US along with key workers and their families was underway.
Over 35,000 key staff and families relocated to the United States in the final quarter of 2029 in what has been described as the largest evacuation of foreign nationals since the fall of Saigon in 1975. China reacted to this with understandable fury and immediately seized the TSMC assets in China including factory Fab 10 (Shanghai) and Fab 16 (Nanjing). However, the night before the seizure, a mysterious virus attack on both facilities wiped the entire manufacturing systems software clean.
Records now show that the US managed to buy and repatriate 16 of 21 identified key corporations in those countries where such an operation might be mounted successfully. Cited as the Marshall plan in reverse, America was buying every identified critical technology company it could lay its hands on, regardless of cost. After all, money was about to get worth a whole lot less.
Somehow, despite the provocation, a Chinese military reaction was avoided. The US and China presidents held a private video conference around that time about which neither side has revealed. In his bestseller book on the subject MM Cunningham postulated two scenarios as most likely to explain what stayed China’s hand. Firstly, the US, for so long the recipient of cyber-attacks, demonstrated it capabilities behind the Chinese firewall with the Fab10/Fab16 wipes and used this to warn of the Chinese. Secondly, and perhaps more frightening, they traded ownership of TSMC for some future settlement. If the latter were the case, only one trade comes to mind that would assuage Beijing...
And the US was shorting the odds on the elephant in the room to solve a problem sometime in the future. In late January 2030, the world slid into recession. Six months later it was declared a depression. It would deepen for the next thirteen months.