I should’ve posted something this weekend, but instead I’ve been staring at a screen that looks like this:
It’s is not that I haven’t written because I’ve been overwhelmed. On the contrary, I’ve been consumed by two fascinating trajectories of thought! In the article on the left, Eric Helleiner (who taught me political economy this term), argues that the big institutions that spend billions on development are not just an arm of the US trying to achieve it’s foreign policy goals, but actually an idea invented by and advocated for by scholars and policymakers from the Global South. Helleiner pulls from the actual memos that the country representatives sent to each other at this big conference in 1944 to prove his point.
In the second (on the right), two scholars from a university in Poland unpack the claim that China is giving more money to Africa than the World Bank. In absolute terms, China is pulling ahead; somewhere in the order or 12 billion dollars. However, the authors make the case that equating the two financiers is like comparing apples and lychees. China is happy to fund things likes roads and dams in resource rich countries, while the World Bank supports national budgets (education, health) in poorer states. Interestingly, China’s main development bank signed this super secret pact with the World Bank, which promises that they’ll work together, but the conditions of the agreement were not made public! Kind of crazy, but fascinating to see how this giant institution responds to a challenge to its monopoly.
There’s a little peek into what fascinates me! If you’re interested I can send you my analysis.