04 May 2008

Development and the Tibet Riots

This is a passage from the latest issue of "Robert Hsu's China Strategy," a newsletter for actual or potential investors in that country.

"There is ... wide resentment among the poor Tibetans due to the economic disparity between the elite -- comprised of enterprising Chinese migrants and upper-class Tibetans -- and the impoverished masses. With the billions of dollars that China has flooded into Tibet over the past decade, many upper-class Tibetans and Chinese migrant entrepreneurs prospered greatly. The majority of Tibetans, however, were left out of the economic prosperity.

"The Tibet economy has grown around 12% per year for the past seven years. But due to the region's harsh environment and weak economy, Tibet is still one of the most underdeveloped regions in China."

It sounds like Mr. Hsu is buying the Chinese government's 'line' here. The growth of 12% a year would be a pointless abstraction to most of those "impoverished masses" if they aren't sharing in it.

Also, why has China (meaning, presumably, the government of China) "flooded" those billions of dollars into Tibet, if the "harsh environment" condemns the economy to weakness anyway? Is it a continuing subsidy for the "Chinese migrant entrepreneurs?

I often find Mr. Hsu's newsletter informative (though I don't personally invest in China and don't suggest it unless you really have money you could do without) -- still ... still, I think his discussion of Tibet/China politics leaves much to be desired.

SFAIK, all the real development in China in recent years has taken place along the Pacific coast -- the further from the coast one gets, with Tibet as the limit, the less visible the 21st century itself becomes. If the government is actually putting billions into Tibetan development, it will almost certainly fail, and accordingly to the facts as Mr. Hsu states them IS failing, to achieve any effect other than the enrichment of some of its cronies. Furthermore, logically the money for such a transfer must be coming from the dynamic economies of the coast -- youcan only take wealth from where it is. So the 'development' plans might be killing the proverbial goose.

'Tis ever thus.

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Knowledge is warranted belief -- it is the body of belief that we build up because, while living in this world, we've developed good reasons for believing it. What we know, then, is what works -- and it is, necessarily, what has worked for us, each of us individually, as a first approximation. For my other blog, on the struggles for control in the corporate suites, see www.proxypartisans.blogspot.com.