Friday, January 30, 2009

Experiences of the South in Chinese Lending


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At the height of ZTE-NBN scandal, we are forced to review the extent of People's Republic of China's (PRC) influence in the affairs of the nation and of the economy. The big picture tells us that we are not the only one, that we are but a piece

Here is the presentation I used in the Debt and International Financial Institutions (IFIs) cluster in the 7th Asia-Europe People’s Forum (AEPF 7) held from 13-15 October, 2008 in Beijing, China. I attempted to give to preview of the link between China's geopolitical strategy, lending (particularly of CEXIM), and domestic elite politics.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

on the other hand...given the South experiences on Chinese lending you have cited, how "palatable" could the "China alternative" be to the South?

mark said...

I think China's current tactics are quite successful in challenging American "hegemony". More developing countries would rather have the relatively "no strings attached" loan packages of China over the more stringent conditions of the West.

Merely appealing to other peoples' sense of solidarity or decency to get them to do the right thing is highly ineffectual. You very well know that the free market achieves this to an extent by making it the self interest of individuals to do so.

"Charity, while a virtuous act, cannot alone provide the essentials for living. Self-interest is the mechanism that can remedy this shortcoming. Said Smith: “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we can expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest”"

Better to make our economy stronger and better integrated with China's. Let China invest factories here and vice versa. Thus threatening us would hurt China's investment and economy just as China threatening the US would, albeit in a smaller scale.

Why hasn't UP kicked Walden Bello's self-serving ass yet?

James Miraflor said...

Well, Mark, I don't think even using your free market argument would salvage China's underhanded, improper, and I would purport, even anti-market acts.

What we have here, Mark, is a case of institutional capture by rent-seekers. Since the government is the only one allowed to sign sovereign agreements (and even the nature of sovereignty is highly questionable, given that our Philippine government are dealing with private Chinese corporations or merely Chinese provincial governments) to contract loans, Arroyo's predatory regime proceeded to maximize to the hilt opportunities for corruption, "legal" or otherwise. At this point, I am not yet attacking the concept of relying on foreign financing itself - just the fact that China is complicit to all of these corruptions, as they are in other corrupt countries in Africa and South Asia. This is on top of the fact that they are known to push for tied loans - loan projects which are "exempted" from competitive bidding - as Japan.

I have written a more comprehensive piece on this, specifically on Chinese lending and geopolitics, as a part of a book project with Nathan Quimpo. Maybe we could exchange thoughts on that as soon as it is finished.

By the way Mark, wouldn't it be good if I can view your writings in your blog too? :-)

mark said...

"Well, Mark, I don't think even using your free market argument would salvage China's underhanded, improper, and I would purport, even anti-market acts."

I do not seek to salvage China's underhanded and anti-market tactics. I wish to rid of our vulnerability to it. Our poverty forces us to accept these terms. Our lack of education and high income from sustainable jobs (jobs created from genuine market demand rather than political fiat or a mob) make us vulnerable.

"What we have here, Mark, is a case of institutional capture by rent-seekers."

Of course! People are natural rent-seekers. People will always try to get something for nothing (ie at someone else' expense). And while there are a few exceptional souls in the world, the vast majority of people are not as virtuous given the right price. The problem is structuring society taking into account the nature of most people, not a few saints.

"If men were angels, no government would be necessary." -James Madison, Frederich Bastiat. And all that.

"By the way Mark, wouldn't it be good if I can view your writings in your blog too? :-)"

I've thought of it. But I have little spare time and my ideas are few and far between. Updating my blog would probably be a semi annual thing.