Title It is unhelpful to call Chinese overseas development ‘colonialist’ Media name/outlet Financial Times Media type Web Country/Territory United Kingdom Date 21/09/18 Description With reference to Jamil Anderlini’s column, “ China is at risk of becoming a colonialist power” (September 20), the Belt and Road Initiative will enable many infrastructure projects with a high level of uncertainty as to whether they will or will not be sources of long-term, broad value creation. Alas, that is always the case with infrastructure development (just think of High Speed 2 in the UK).
BRI projects are the outcome of political judgments and commercial deals, and there is a great deal of risk incurred by the recipients of funds as there is by the lenders and the contractors. It is therefore unhelpful to call Chinese investors “colonialists” when it is widely acknowledged in the development sector that infrastructure is a basic pillar of economic competitiveness and sustainable growth — side by side with robust institutions.
Indeed today’s insistence of western democracies on institution-building first, capital investment second in order to meet western “good” governance ideals has arguably become a drag on the socio-economic development of their former colonies — others could very much read this as the west just trying, inconspicuously, to perpetuate the “good old days” for them. This would be unfair, but so it is to suggest BRI is an immoral foreign policy. It will lead us nowhere.
Let us rather frame the problem in terms of a duality by design of two desirable objectives — building infrastructure and building institutions. History suggests that the two are organisationally incompatible because their underlying design attributes are too hard to reconcile. And so today we have two groups of actors each choosing to focus on one of the poles of the duality. Fair enough. Let’s be optimistic this new global order will enable us all to lift
many more millions of people out of poverty.
URL https://www.ft.com/content/6c628cb6-6e40-11e8-92d3-6c13e5c92914?FTCamp=engage/CAPI/webapp/Channel_Moreover//B2B&gator_td=L72V9i%2fKA59gWwuHzxTIKFUhKDwwHfuAvgSss%2b5JLboE5lCz6ahmNdwGfJw41UKzi49pLXMz9vDzO31b%2b9R9mBF6ZoV%2bSY631kJu24pI4dnHXZQuokWvONCrFMYZxtQpEYZAwiLEGT8jMFEHk6jm6CJ0zAR23Xv7XEW0PTTQGrU%3d Persons Nuno Gil
Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms
- Global inequalities
- international development
- Belt and Road Initiative