Taiwanese chipmaker TSMC In a short time it has obtained around 17 billion dollars in donations: the US will donate almost 12 billion dollars to the largest semiconductor producer in the world to build factories. Japan subsidizes the same project in its own country with almost five billion dollars. Mercedes boss at the top: salary ranking of DAX bosses revealed”>Astronomical figures – Mercedes boss at the top: salary ranking of DAX bosses revealed

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According to experts, both countries are wasting their billions. The same applies to the $8.5 billion that American chipmaker Intel and the 15 billion dollars that India uses mainly to support the national Tata group. At least for the 15 billion euros that Germany wants to pay Intel and TSMC. All the money wasted.

The IMF, wasteful showers and costly mistakes

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) criticizes that financing based on the watering can principle has often proven to be a costly mistake in the past. Too little money goes to research and too much goes to established companies. This creates excess capacity, frozen structures and uneconomic factories. The State must continue to support the latter permanently or close it in a few years.

If the experts are right, billions in taxes will largely be wasted to no effect. Because manufacturers produce overpriced chips in their factories, consumers pay twice as much.

Security against economic efficiency and long-term subsidies running into billions

The twist in this story begins with the fact that none of the criticized countries contradict the experts' basic diagnosis: Germany, Japan and the United States are consciously pumping their billions in taxes into factories that would work cheaper and more safely in the future elsewhere.

Just as in agriculture in the Federal Republic, the federal states also know that these industries have no future without subsidies. If Germany wants to build its own chips to protect its carmakers and other companies against foreign blackmail, it has to inject funds. This security is worth billions to politicians.

These are not isolated cases either. In addition to agriculture and the chip industry, billions in taxes around the world also go to weapons. If countries consider industries vital to survival, they provide permanent subsidies. No one can put a price on security. But experts doubt this argument applies to chip factories.

Chip factories are not farms and we need to work together

The experts' criticism of the security thesis goes something like this: if, for example, German factories produce their chips at a higher price than Japanese ones, German companies buy their semiconductors in the Far East. National factories remain stuck in their processors. The State would have to keep mostly useless factories afloat with tax money; only in the extremely unlikely event that the Federal Republic confronts Japan and can no longer buy chips there.

At the same time, the Federal Republic remains dependent on suppliers, especially from Asia, for raw materials for chip production. Even our own factories do not guarantee complete security of supply.

Similar dilemmas threaten all countries. The best they can do to counteract this is with protective tariffs, which make chips so expensive for processing companies that their products also become uneconomical. Since they deprive the entire economy of its competitiveness, no one can want that.

The IMF suggests that the solution to the problem could be an overall Western strategy rather than individual states. No country survives without the innovations of others. Only China is large enough to operate its own chip industry. So that the country from whose dependence the West wants to free itself does not emerge as the smiling winner, the West must work together. The United States, Europe, Japan and South Korea need a common plan instead of one-upmanship. There are enough reasons for this.