China is fueling a new ‘resource curse’ — and riots around the world – by Renard Sexton (Washington Post – April 25, 2018)

During the past 15 years, China’s demand for primary commodities has triggered a dramatic increase in natural resource extraction in the developing world. The mining boom has spurred economic growth and social gains for many low-income countries.

There’s a catch — the associated environmental and societal consequences have sparked social conflict across more than 50 developing nations. These rising local costs threaten to lead to a new “local resource curse,” where the negative side effects of resource production threaten to undermine the broader economic benefits of extraction.

China’s spending spree has fueled the boom.

China’s primary commodity imports skyrocketed from $32 billion in 2001 to $340 billion in 2016 (adjusted for inflation), reflecting the rapid growth of the country’s manufacturing sector.

The need for raw materials created a boom in natural-resource extraction and exports in the developing world. Among low- and middle-income countries, natural resource rents as a share of GDP were 40 percent higher during the 2005-to-2015 period than they were during the 1990s.

There have been some important benefits. Since 2001, low-income, mineral-dependent countries have experienced greater economic growth and gains in education and health than non-mining countries.

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