Friday, April 29, 2011

The Chinese Connexion

I have borrowed the title for this post from a book I read as a schoolboy. I have only hazy recollections of the book , but the Rice-Rubber pact with China surely featured prominently.

It is rather hard to imagine today that the world's second largest economy would enter into the most cumbersome and primitive form of trade: barter, with a tiny country like Ceylon but post-revolutionary China was a poor, chaotic, almost anarchic state. Some news reports from the time, though partial, are amusing to read.

Today things are rather different. China, a rising power seeking to dominate trade and wield its influence in the world. Sri Lanka is one of the countries that seems to be locked into the Chinese embrace, no longer an equal partner as in 1952 but a minnow, in a position familiar to many an African nation. And it is the African experience that is interesting, how the Chinese first welcome so eagerly now seem to inspire suspicion, fear and anger. The Economist has an analysis that is well worth reading.

I do apologise for the frequent links to The Economist in my recent writings. It is just that they have many interesting ideas and I am one who is stimulated by ideas. An attractive idea is absorbed, then bounced around like a rubber ball, ricocheting around the mind, stimulating thought in distant areas, reappearing in different forms and repeating the whole process all over again leaving the mind a-whirl in heady intoxication.


magerata said...

Interesting article. I sometimes read economist. Usually they a biased to the western world. So read but absorb with a grain of salt. What Chinese doing right now is what westerners did in Asia and Africa, a while ago. It may not be right but unfortunately has become the norm.
A few years ago China sold pet food laced with Melamine to US, but it was US pet food companies that ordered, and sold them. Not small companies but the likes of Nestle, Costco, Del Monte and Menu Foods. After losing 100s of millions, our pets are, still eating Chinese food, I meant Chinese pet foods.
Corruption and financial inhumanity in Africa was used to be known as De Beers. I guess times are changing.

Jack Point said...

Thanks for the comment Magerata. You put an interesting perspective on things: the Westerners did it and now China follows suite. What does this mean for the recipients I wonder?