When the best performer in a market is able to capture a very large share of the rewards, and the remaining competitors are left with very little, it’s called a winner-take-all market. Dambisa Moyo’s latest book “Winner Take All – China’s Race for Resources and what it means for us” suggests that China is the best performer in the global economy and the rest of the world will be left with very little.
The renowned economist and author of Dead Aid analyses a profound shift, which is under way in the global economy - from the industrialized, western nations to China’s resource oriented economic power house. The fact that the world’s resources are not infinite has become China’s mantra in securing access to hard commodities (like minerals extracted through mining) and soft commodities (in the form of crops and arable land). Dambisa Moyo’s book cites impressive examples of China’s resource claiming mission, like buying a mountain in Peru. Mount Toromocho is half the height of Mount Everest, an imposing landmass in the heart of a nation; for US$ 3 billion the mountain changed hands from the people of Peru to the Chinese. Africa and South America are seeing huge investments flowing in from China, which have brought the nation from relative insignificance to pole position in the global resource race.
With a growing population of over a billion, China’s leaders know they will need breathtaking quantities of natural resources to keep their economy growing and its people happy. Dambisa Moyo’s research has led her all over the globe and the book reflects on many conversations with the people behind the policies and theories. “When I speak to Chinese policy makers the thing that annoys them most about Western policy makers is that they’re not given credit for anything,” Dambisa says, “I’m sympathetic to the Chinese; no one has stood up and said - Gosh, what you guys have done! I’m impressed.”
In Winner Take All Dambisa Moyo does not take sides though. The book is an attempt to clear up misconceptions regarding international rhetoric about China’s investments in Africa and elsewhere. Too often, in Moyo’s view, the West has labeled China’s economic strategy as a neo-colonial, land grabbing endeavor. “In fact China seems wholly disinterested in assuming sovereign responsibility”, writes Moyo in her book, “if anything, China might justifiably be criticized for being too disinterested in the social and political constructs in many resource rich countries.”
Whether one agrees with her or not, Dambisa Moyo has achieved another mind opening feat - with her latest book she makes a compelling argument to reassess China’s role in the fast changing patterns of geo-politics. At #dld13 Dambisa Moyo will be discussing her views further with The Economist’s Vijay Vaitheeswaran.