Global Economics Monthly: Eurasia's Infrastructure Rush: What, Why, So What?
January 29, 2016
Connectivity infrastructure is all the rage across the Eurasian landmass and its maritime periphery. Governments from Beijing to London, and from Tokyo to Jakarta, are investing in institutions and
initiatives ostensibly designed to reconnect old trade routes and build new ones. With credible estimates of infrastructure “gaps” across Eurasia reaching into the trillions of dollars, it seems reasonable to devote a greater share of development assistance and national fiscal resources to building better roads, railways, and other hard infrastructure. However, the reality of infrastructure economics is more complicated than meets the eye, and the current connectivity rush may have as much to do with geopolitical jockeying as it does with supporting commerce and development. A deeper look at the realities, motivations, and implications of the infrastructure rush underway across the Eurasian landmass is both timely and instructive.