China’s meteoric rise: urban boom; NGOs in from the cold; overtaking the US on pollution and tourism

Duncan Green - April 25, 2014

A while ago, the Economist stepped up its China coverage and opened a separate section, putting placing the country on an editorial par with the USA. It’s taken a while to get going, but recent editions have been excellent. Last week saw a great piece on the rise of China’s NGOs (see chart). This week brings a 14 page special report on the extraordinary speed …

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China and India are building welfare states at a scale and speed unprecedented in human history

admin - July 23, 2013

Take a look at this table, from a new paper by Arjan de Haan. It shows the last 15 years of social policy initiatives in China and India, and their breathtaking scale. And here’s a chunk from the accompanying one pager: Though social spending in both countries appears rather low, and many deficits remain in terms of effective social protection, social policies in both countries …

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What do African civil society organizations think of the rise of China and South-South cooperation?

admin - June 6, 2013

The Belgian NGO coalition 11.11.11 has published an interesting paper summarizing the views of 58 African civil society organizations in 11 different countries on ‘South South Cooperation’ (SSC) – mainly China’s growing role in Africa (see Economist stats, right – keep clicking to expand). It’s nuanced and an excellent counterweight to the simplifications of the ‘scramble for Africa’ diatribes in the Western press, which Deborah …

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Are the middle classes the new revolutionaries in India and China?

admin - September 6, 2011

“The new middle classes rise up: Marx’s revolutionary bourgeoisie finds its voice again”. That’s the title of a nice piece in this week’s Economist trying to identify a common thread in protest movements in India (Anna Hazare), China (the recent high speed rail debacle), Brazil (a spate of corruption-driven ministerial sackings) and, more tentatively, the initial Arab Spring movements (jobless growth + university education). Its …

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Emerging v Developed Countries: high speed history

admin - August 10, 2011

This week’s Economist has a striking update on the historically breakneck shift in the global balance of economic power towards the ‘emerging economies’. It uses the IMF’s pre-1997 categories of developed and developing (now rebranded ‘emerging’) to avoid the confusion caused by the upgrading of countries to developed status as they get richer. “The combined output of the developing economies accounted for 38% of world …

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Is India getting serious on health? And if so, why?

admin - May 17, 2011

The Indian government aims to increase investments in its health sector to 2-3 per cent of the total GDP, according to union Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad. That compares with current spending of 1.1%, so if true, it represents a massive leap. Success has many fathers, and doubtless loads of people and organizations will take the credit, but two jump out. First …

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The Chinese in Africa – is there a backlash?

admin - April 27, 2011

The debate in aid circles on China’s expanding role in Africa is often pretty crass – the demonisers v the rose-tinted spectacles. What has always struck me most in the past is how many Africans, both in government and elsewhere, prefer the businesslike approach of China to the finger-wagging of the ex-colonial powers. But China’s African honeymoon may be coming to an end, according to this …

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What's China doing in Africa (including Libya) and to the climate?

admin - March 9, 2011

Time for some random links on China:  China may now be the world’s second-biggest economy, but some of its provinces by themselves would rank fairly high in the global league. This map from a recent Economist shows the nearest equivalent country. For example, Guangdong’s GDP (at market exchange rates) is almost as big as Indonesia’s; the output of both Jiangsu and Shandong exceeds Switzerland’s. Elsewhere, …

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Is China finally running out of workers?

admin - August 3, 2010

You don’t normally expect the Economist magazine to advocate a major shift in wealth from capital to labour, but it seems to make an exception in the case of China, the subject of this week’s fascinating cover story. The topic is China’s labour market: a few years ago, I and many others thought that the entry of China into the world economy would change the …

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What can we learn from Chinese aid?

admin - June 10, 2010

I’m at a two day EU conference ‘Development in times of crisis and Achieving the MDGs’ (snappy eh?). It’s in Madrid, but you wouldn’t know it. We’re in an airless, windowless room in an aircraft hangar of a conference centre miles out from the city. I was on a panel on the impact of the crisis on how we think about aid (powerpoint here, fyi). Often …

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