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Argument: Economic independence from China will prevent economic corruption

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  • Ketsun Lobsang Dondup. "Independence as Tibet’s Only Option: Why the ‘Middle Path’ is a Dead End". January 25, 2007 - "2. For Tibetans to prosper in a globalized world, we must have the protection of sovereignty: The other justification sometimes offered for the Middle Path policy is that an autonomous Tibet would benefit economically from political union with China. The benefits will presumably come from Chinese government subsidies and from being part of one of the largest and fastest-growing markets in the world. At first glance this is an attractive proposition, although like Marxism and other material-based lines of thought it ignores the importance to human beings of ideas like nationhood and identity. But even on its own economic terms, this proposition is flawed. It wrongly assumes (1) that long-term subsidies from Beijing are good for Tibet and for Tibetans, and (2) that it is better to hitch Tibet’s economy to China’s, rather than maintain macroeconomic controls that would allow Tibetans to make decisions tailored to Tibet’s actual circumstances.
The problem with long-term subsidies is that they distort economic and political decision-making, and concentrate power in the hands of those who control the money. Neither outcome is good for development or democracy. As countries with high oil wealth but low political development know, having elites with access to large pools of free money encourages inefficient policies, allows unchecked corruption and nepotism, and makes government unresponsive to the people. Obviously, Tibetans’ experience with China should make us especially cautious about being dependent on Beijing. Long-term subsidies also degrade the people’s motivation to work hard, because wealth can come from hand-outs from above rather than from work, savings, and investment. This is not the Tibet that we should want."

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