When these very wealthy philanthropists are dealing with education and healthcare, questions about the role of government and the ability of the average citizen to hold them accountable become pertinent.
The progress of China’s outward-bound strategy, where they’ve decided to invest, engage and trade across many countries in the world, isn’t something that was ever going to be linear. It was always going to be very challenging and contain a lot of volatility. Today, China is the largest investor in Australia, the largest foreign lender to the US government, and the largest trading partner with many countries across Africa and South America.
As China has become more integrated in the global economy, this should be to the benefit of the global economy. We do see many countries around the world, particularly emerging countries, which need that investment capital, and need trading partners who are willing to provide terms for their farmers, for example, to help these countries continue to grow. This is where China is often stepping in.
I’m sanguine about China’s role. I don’t think it will be a quid pro quo that everybody will like, but that’s why we need effective governments, because those governments have a responsibility to ensure that the type of deals that are struck – with China or with anyone else – are done in an effective and advantageous way.