Capitalizing on energy supply: Western China's opportunity for development
Two kinds of disparities pervade China and threaten its well-being. The first, regional disparities focus on levels of economic development, which vary considerably across China. The second is largely a corollary of the first, referring to mismatch in energy supply and demand, with some places suffering severe shortages while others are blessed with significant surpluses. Western China enjoys the dubious distinction of recording the country's lowest levels of economic development while, paradoxically, being blessed with plentiful reserves of energy and non-energy minerals. Turning those surplus resources to good account through transferring them to minerals and energy-hungry Eastern China is seen by policy-makers as something of a panacea. Not only will such a strategy significantly boost Western China's economic prospects, but it will eliminate the resource shortages currently constraining the East's vibrant growth. The issues of regional disparities, energy mismatches and transfers of these resources are discussed, with attention given to both spatial and time perspectives. The paper concludes with a cautious endorsement of the policy initiatives that promote the strategy of mineral transfers.
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