"If you want to get rich, you have to builds roads first", said Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2014, citing an ancient proverb when announcing the inception of the controversial Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). Alongside the massive $40bn ‘Silk Road Fund’, announced at a similar time by Mr Xi, it is hoped this will fund the “One belt – One Drive” initiative, China’s signature foreign policy. As parallels with the US Marshall Plan and implications of economic imperialism continue to be drawn, the key question will be whether the policy proves transformative or exploitative...
The Economic Cycle 2015/16: The Next Revolution
In January 2013, economics teacher Stuart Block spoke to a meeting of the Economic Research Council about his experiences cycling across Africa, and what he had learned about various aspects of African economies in the process.
Starting in September 2015, Stuart plans to cycle to China on his tandem bicycle from the first trip following ancient and new ‘silk roads’ with his girlfriend and fellow teacher, Claire Le Hur. Keeping the back seat of the tandem free for those they meet en route, Claire will be riding a bamboo bike, built by an African social enterprise which Stuart helped to set up during his original trip. After a short European 'warm up' they will start their journey in East Africa. They will follow the journey of key natural resources used in smartphones, such as Copper and Gold, along their supply chains to resource- hungry Asia, in particular China.
Using smartphones to record the adventure, partnering with Fairphone (a mobile phone company which puts social values first), they hope to explore the shifting balance of power in the world economy, and other geographical, historical and linguistic themes in an educational project aimed at students worldwide, and we'll be posting their thoughts below.