Globalization China Style One Belt One Road

one belt one roadThere is a lot of strong sentiment about Globalization in the United States and other parts of the western world. The United States and some other European countries are moving away from it but China is moving forward with something called One Belt One Road (OBOR). This creates an interesting situation.

I’m not going to try and convince you of the virtues of such initiatives. That’s your decision and nothing I say will likely change your opinion. What I will talk about is the result of China moving forward while the United States retreats, that’s something it would be wise to understand.

Globalization is largely about economic development through trade. When raw materials are developed in one location, moved to a second location to be processed, shipped to a third location to be assembled, and finally transferred to a market; it becomes cheaper to produce said products. This is undeniable. Any single nation doesn’t have the ability to do all those things as cheaply or efficiently as a group of nations.
In the last decades, China has initiated massive projects around the globe and particular in Asia, designed to speed this process. A massive port in Genoa, highways to connect the biggest markets in Asia, railways in Nairobi, even canals in Nicaragua. The plans are enormous and there is some doubt they can be achieved, but it is a bold move. If Asia, parts of Europe, Africa, and South America succeed with these projects it means enormous employment and wealth. And China is leading the way.

There is, of course, the potential some or all of these projects will fail in their goals.

The populations of United States and some of western Europe are clearly in an Anti-Globalization mood. They’ve elected leaders who advocate an Us First policy. The leaders of United States are moving forward with plans to disentangle our nation from such projects.
Again, I don’t want to tell you what China is planning and implementing is good or bad. I just want people who advocate Us First to be aware that it creates a void. Where there is a void, something will fill it. In this case, it is China.

These projects are going forward. China has a huge number of highly educated college graduates and these are the people who will be developing, innovating, and leading these projects. When the young people of other nations start working on these projects, they will be working for Chinese supervisors. They will take trips to Beijing to discuss the plans. China will become the center of commerce in the world.
Again, this might be a bad thing. All the projects could go badly and China might go bankrupt. Those who advocate an Us First policy might end up laughing all the way to the bank.

On the other hand, the projects might create enormous wealth for the countries and the people who take part. The European, African, and Asian nations that participate in these projects might reap rewards in the trillions of dollars. The people of these nations might see reduced cost of goods and all the benefits that come with it.

The United States once led the world in projects like this. We, through our votes, expressed the idea that we don’t want to do so anymore. That’s fine. That’s what living in a Representative Republic is all about. We the People get to, through our proxies, decide.

Just be aware of the potential ramifications of what you are deciding, and the possibilities for good and ill.

Tom Liberman

2 thoughts on “Globalization China Style One Belt One Road

  1. Highly educated college graduates, good one!
    I’ve lived in China for a while working for universities and I can tell you that the diplomas are worth about as much as toilet paper. Once a student gets into a college that’s it. They’re guaranteed to graduate. If they fail examinations over 3 times the school will just change their grade to let them pass and graduate because you can’t have people failing in such a perfect school/society, the university will also crack down on professors that try to watch their students for cheating as well because if the student’s can not cheat, then it is “not fair.” This is without even mentioning the requirements they have for their degrees, a thesis for a Chinese student resembles a simple essay to Western, or at least American, university students.

    • Thank you for the comment, Ha,

      However, I think none of what you say is true. It’s incredibly competitive because a far lower percentage of Chinese people go to college so only the best and brightest get in. I’ve heard your sentiment many times from many other people who say it because they want it to be true. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fine to believe what you want, have at it. Believe the Chinese aren’t educated or innovative, that they just steal from others. If you underestimate China you get what you deserve.

      Tom

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