Chinese Excited over Iraq’s Free Market Growth
Those capitalist roaders among the Chinese communists in Shanghai appear to be watering in the mouth over the potential profits to be made from a reviving Iraq. The Shanghai Daily estimates that Iraqis have imported 250,000 new cars in the past 10 months, that demand for electronics is strong, and that one can find in Iraqi retail outlets “commodities from Japan, China, and Western and Arab countries.” Building materials’ prices have soared as new buildings are being put up in Baghdad and elsewhere.
With the influx of reconstruction money, both from the Madrid Donors’ conference ($13 bn.) and from the US Congress ($18 bn.), due to begin in a month or two, one Iraqi economist is quoted expecting the unemployment rate to drop from 50 percent presently to 40 percent within a matter of months.
Hisham al-Shama, a professor of economics at Baghdad U., expects Iraq’s gross domestic prduct to grow from US $ 25 bn. today to $250 bn. in ten years. (If the Iraqi population grows to about 34 million in ten years, as is likely, that would be a per capita income of about $8,000 per year, the same as Saudi Arabia presently and very nearly the level Korea is at now ($9930), and higher than the present per capita income in Mexico or the Czech Republic. Not paradise, but quite respectable, especially given the country’s state for the past ten years; that is, if the prediction holds true).