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   Winner Take All
Reviewed by Sudhirendar Sharma
24 May 2013
resource meltdown is indeed imminent. Never before have natural resources been scooped from across the world with such impunity. China's breathtaking commodity campaign, be it for fossil fuel, minerals, land or water, has ripped mines and mountains of its riches across the world.

At a hefty fee of US$3 billion, China's Chinalco is smothering fifteen thousand feet high Mount Toromocho in Peru for the last speck of copper; much to the shock of its lower riparians China is unilaterally diverting Brahamaputra and Mekong rivers to quench thirst of its rapidly urbanizing north; and China's growing stakes in leading petrochemical companies in oil-producing countries is akin to virtual takeover. The world is literally at China's feet!

China may have genuine reasons for its insatiable demand for resources, having lured resource-rich poor countries in its growth journey. Given the fact that China will add 400 million people to its urban population in the next decade, upward mobile Chinese will require a lot of arable land, a lot of usable water, a lot of energy, and a lot of minerals. What will happen when China oestensibly has access to all available resources and the rest of world doesn't? Dambisa Moyo wonders if China's stealth global incursions don't trigger global tensions!

Is the world prepared to face up to hard facts of a bleak commodity outlook? Chinese ascendency may go beyond impacting the commodity prices; it is strategically positioned to not just alter the landscape of how business is done but also how countries themelves are run. Moyo's thesis doesn't seem far-fetched; seeds of such discontent have started surfacing in countries where China has gone full throttle with its extractive businesses. Winner Take All is a fact-filled penetrating enquiry on the emerging reality the world should be ready to face upto.

Lamenting the international community's patchy record of working together on issue of global relevance, Moyo only hopes that a 'slowing down of Chinese economy' may dampen its irrestible demand on world resources. Amongst recent books on China’s expansion beyond the Great Wall that I have read, Winner Take All makes a significant contribution but not without taking a toll on the reader with its mass of statistics.

Winner Take All
by Dambisa Moyo
Penguin, UK
257 pages, $26
 


 
 Other books reviewed by Dr Sudhirendar Sharma
Features > Book Shelf
 
Spoiling Tibet
Posting Date: 28 Feb 2014

A Journey in the Future of Water
Posting Date: 28 Feb 2014

Yamuna Manifesto
Posting Date: 28 Feb 2014

 
Corruption Watch

The bad news is that corruption has not only sustained but has grown in size and stature in the country. With scams being a regular feature, seventy per cent respondents in a survey have rightfully opined that corruption has continued to increase in India. One in every two interviewed admit having paid a bribe for availing public services during last one year. Transparency International's latest survey reveals that the political parties top the chart for the most corrupt public institutions, followed by police force and legislatures. No wonder, India continues to make new records on the global corruption arena!

The shocking revelation is that the health and education sectors haven't remained untouched by this phenomenon. With 5th and 6th positions respectively for these sectors on the public perception chart on corruption, corruption has crept insidiously into these sectors of hope for the masses. With bureaucracy being fourth in the list of corrupt institutions in the country, corruption seems to have been non-formally institutionalized with little hope if public services would ever be effective in the country. With economic growth having literally institutionalized corruption, are we now expecting corrupt to be socially responsible - a different CSR.

Poor. Who?

Not giving 'aid' to India is one thing but calling it 'rich' is quite another. If one in three of the world's malnourished children live in India, what does average daily income of $3 indicate? It perhaps means that there is a relative decline in poverty - people are 'less poor' than what they used to be in the past. But having crossed the World Bank arbitrary threshold of $2 a day does not absolve the 'developed' countries of their obligation to part with 0.7 per cent of their Gross National Income in development aid. Should this three-decade old figure not be revised?  

An interesting debate in UK's House of Commons delved on future of development assistance by the British Government. While prioritizing limited resources has been a concern, there has been no denying the fact that development aid must be guided towards tangible gains over a short period of time to start with. There are difficult choices for elected governments to make - should they invest in long-term primary education or in short-term university scholarships? Which of these will bring gains and trigger long-term transformation in the society. As politicians continue to be divided on the matter, poverty persists!!   

Lead View
People, Partition and the Pain
By Rina Mukherji
15 Aug 2013

Dr Jayanti Basu's book analyzes the complex feelings of hatred and longing for the homeland that have contributed to shaping the personalities of a generation of people who were forced to ..
Book Shelf

Yamuna Manifesto

A Journey in the Future of Water

Spoiling Tibet

On Western Terrorism
Commentators
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Carmen Miranda
Pandurang Hegde
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