How is China’s Economy Affected by the Three Gorges Dam?

May 2, 2003


The Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River will greatly profit China and help the country towards westernization and capitalism. When completed, the dam will prevent future flood damage that has in the past cost the country billions in home repairs and thousands of lost lives. Numerous countries are loaning money to aid the Chinese government despite their political differences improving trade with China, resulting in greater international unity. The dam’s hydroelectricity is much cheaper and cleaner than any coal-powered or nuclear plant to everyone’s benefit. Despite the fact that all of the people upstream must be relocated, the pros of the project outweigh the cons.

A major advantage to the dam is flood control. In the last devastating flood of 1998, a total of $36 billion was needed to repair the damage (The Yangtze Flood Emergency Rehabilitation). The total cost of the Three Gorges Dam is estimated at only 28 billion US dollars. In the past 2000 years, there have been 215 catastrophic floods (Great Wall Across the Yangtze). The project will prevent these altogether, significantly decreasing China’s losses. In the last 30 years, there have been 6 severe floods and if the Yangtze overflows again in the near future without the dam, it is speculated that 10 million people will be affected and a brutal blow to the country’s economy (Troubled Waters).

The overall expenses of the Three Gorges Dam will not exclusively impair the Chinese economy. Businesses based in other countries are loaning large sums of money to support the building of dam. From foreign firms alone, over 1.5 billion US dollars has been financing the task (Who’s Behind the Three Gorges Dam?). Companies in Germany, Switzerland and Canada are among the leading donors of equipment and money as of yet. The debt will be split among a dozen western nations despite the dream of the communist leader, Mao Zedong, to independently harness the might of the Yangtze (The United States, China and the Three Gorges Dam). Because of the already huge trade surplus in China, the advances will be returned in full even if the power plant associated with the dam does not make a profit immediately. China will be on good terms with many of the countries that have aided the creation of the Three Gorges Dam and will generate business with each of them, increasing trade and improving the economy. Some companies do not wish to help finance the dam because it seems to risky, however the corporations that decide to take the risk must see important benefits of the structure to the Chinese population and the rest of the globe. The unification of the industrial world is an ever-present ambition. With each international project, the human race is one step closer to achieving that goal.

The Three Gorges Dam power plant will create hydroelectricity to employ workers and improve the standard of living for many regions of China. Some have never even experienced running water, basic electricity. The peasants, who once considered these to be unobtainable luxuries, will soon become accustomed to the very things that everyone in our society takes for granted. As more people begin to realize the need for cheap energy the demand will go up and the plant and will begin to make enough money to basically pay for itself. The Chinese people that had electricity before the dam will save money when paying bills and taxes because of the lower cost to produce the energy. The taxpayers near the dam will have cheaper electricity while still helping the environment by not contributing to filthy coal-powered or dangerous nuclear sources. The power generation capacity will be 18.2 million kilowatts: the equivalent of 18 unsafe nuclear plants also 10% of China’s total electricity output (China Online, The Three Gorges Dam Project). The goal of capitalism is for everyone within the system to have higher standards of living. With this dam, the Chinese will move closer to the ideals of a free enterprise. In the long run, it will be better for the people if they are allowed to come to the realization of the inevitability of capitalism on their own without it being forced upon an unwilling populace.

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