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Europe needs to change on the China method

once all believed that there is a single phenomenon called globalization, when the transnational flows of financial capital, Innovation, industrialization, development and trade fire. But the silk road initiative of China's President, Xi Jinping, is pushing an alternative Vision of globalisation, which is based on an integrated System of physical infrastructure. The material world of ships and Railways replaced the intangible world of Financialisation.

But while Xi has designed the silk road initiative as a straight-line method to the old, unstable, from the West, globalisation surrender to the dustbin of history, should talk to you at the same time, a Chinese challenge: the concentration of economic development along the coast, where a wealthy, cultured coast elite. Social stability requires the uniform distribution of China's extraordinary growth, resulting in profits in the entire country.

of course This is not just a Chinese Problem. Historically, world locations, cities almost always on the water, either on the coast or on navigable rivers. Centuries ago, Amsterdam, Antwerp, Genoa and Venice and even ancient Athens and Tyros served as trading centers in the world. Today cities play such as London, New York, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Dubai, Sydney and Rio de Janeiro in a similar role.

refers To water and to country

In the framework of the division of labor of the silk road initiative (English: Road & Belt Initiative), the "Strasse" (Road) is counter-intuitive to the sea, while the "belt" (Belt) refers to networked projects of the Eurasian land mass. The idea is that the inland areas such as Central Asia and Eastern Europe can just as well be connected to the Rest of the world economy and should, as today's coastal centers.

The Greek Piraeus port is majority owned by Chinese investors. Photo: Keystone

Outside China, the silk road initiative is particularly attractive to countries that have fallen prey to the global financial crisis of 2008 and subsequent Euro crisis victim. So about Greece, attracted during the darkest days of its sovereign debt crisis, Chinese investment by selling 51% of the port of Piraeus to the state-run China Ocean Shipping Company. Serbia suffered in the years of crisis, a sudden, dramatic stop of capital inflows and now hopes to transform itself into a Transportation hub, although it is not a member of the EU.

At the same time, Portugal's Prime Minister António Costa, has welcomed China's investment and, more recently, faced with drastic protectionist measures against the West, operating Chinese company warned. Italy's populist coalition government has just signed a preliminary agreement with China that supports the silk road initiative. Even in the Brexit-Chaos stuck the end of the United Kingdom could consider investment and economic Engagement of China as a new geopolitical lifeline.

President Xi Jinping and Premier Giuseppe Conte: China, Italy was the first G7 country for the new silk road win. Photo: Keystone

China's attempt to link non-globalised regions through infrastructure measures, is not without example. Over a century ago the United Kingdom was the leading force in the world, but Germany caught up in terms of wealth and technical development. Like China today, Germany wanted to project to both the land as well as water. But it could not support, in order to compete with the United Kingdom, alone on his merchant marine, so it initiated its own counterpart to the silk road initiative: from Berlin to Baghdad, reaching the railway track.

As the silk initiative, fade street, the new German railway Andean connections to remote areas over Land, and were for the losers of that Phase of globalisation attractive. First of all, the Ottoman Empire, the "sick man of Europe" by the 19th century. Century tormented had, and as incapable of reform, and to financial and economic modernisation will not be able to had been proven. Foreign powers controlled the customs administration of the Empire, and attacked the customs revenue of the government.

as well As the silk road initiative of the German infrastructure plan for the railway connection from Berlin based to Baghdad in response to government pressure, to a generous financing by private banks (particularly the Deutsche Bank). The Ottomans would have to pay for these loans, of course, expensive. However, the German loans were once seen as a way out of the of the British and France established the debt to provide the case.

Ultimately, the trajectory was determined the project to a greater extent by German ambition than by local realities. After the completion of the project there was on the last section of the route through the most arid areas in Anatolia, hardly any traffic.

the silk road initiative has a big investment potential. So your critics have gorge, one of China-funded bridge over the Moraca river in Montenegro already as a classic example of a bridge to Nowhere identified. It connects nothing: it is only a road into debt.

in view of the insistence of France's President Emmanuel Macron on a European Renaissance, it is conceivable that Europe is one day, not only politically, but also physically integrated by high-speed trains, power grids, and Oil and gas pipelines. The strictly financial globalization has ignored this type of networking for too long.

Beijing's idea to take

But in China, the EU countries are divided. Many governments and businesses are rightly concerned about the theft of intellectual property. Others, however, consider Chinese investment as a welcome new source of credit or as a possibility, the influence of the Northern European countries within the EU.

Beijing's approach to globalisation, to explore the EU should encourage self-alternative paths of development. The global financial crisis has made the EU the challenge to build a more stable financial system. But that is not enough to have a permanent Form of globalization. XI's recent European Tour has shown a possible way forward. It is now up to the Europeans, as they connect to-too-long-ignored and impoverished areas, and investments to want to channel.

Harold James is Professor of history at Princeton. Copyright: Project Syndicate. (financial and economic)

Created: 10.04.2019, 17:27 PM

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