Here’s Dingding Chen with a story I’d missed until just now:
Chinese President Xi Jinping just announced that China will establish a Silk Road fund with $40 billion to support infrastructure investments in countries involved in the “one belt, one road” plan. This new proposal is in addition to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) proposal that 21 countries have already joined. A critical element of such plans is to “break the connectivity bottleneck” in Asia and beyond, which has seriously hindered development in many developing countries. Presumably a large amount of funding will go to building roads, railways, and ports in these countries. Thus, many analysts (see for example here, here, and here) have labeled China’s new initiatives as a Chinese version of the Marshall Plan, indicating that China would use such initiatives to seek influence and even dominance in Asia.
To be sure, there are some seeming similarities between China’s “one belt, one road” initiative with the U.S. Marshall plan, with the main one being that both plans aim at exporting their country’s capital, technology, and capacity to others who need them badly.
Americans were once the masters of infrastructure. We took a mostly empty continent and in the space of 150 years or so, filled it up with people and cities and roads and bridges and dams and water works and everything. Today… not so much, as we saw this morning in my previous post.
China has been on a similar construction spree these last 25 years, and except for the rice paddies pretty much everything in the country is brand spankin’ new — including the famous ghost cities, because China has commies in charge of all the construction. The important thing isn’t that the construction make any sense or serve any purpose, but that it happens.
Now they’re taking those new construction skills abroad, in an attempt to build its own trade partners by building the infrastructure necessary for Third World countries to afford to buy more Chinese goods.
It’s a daring plan, but with the commies still in charge, they run the risk of spending billions developing ghost countries to match their ghost cities.