China has invested an extraordinary amount of emotional capital in the opening of the Olympic games in Beijing today. This is China\’s moment of national glory. The legitimacy the government will reap from the games will be worth more to it than the $43bn they have cost so far.

In a low wage country hosting the Games has cost (and we\’re not done yet) £21.5 billion pounds? And there are still people insisting that in a high wage country, with another four years inflation added on, that the Games here will cost us only £9 billion?

It is to laugh.

10 thoughts on “Excuse Me?”

  1. But how much of that $43bn is directly attributable to the Olympics and how much has built other infrastructure (such as roads) in Beijing? This is true, of course, of the London Olympics too, but there is no reason to believe the non-sporting-infrastructure should have similar costs.

  2. “but there is no reason to believe the non-sporting-infrastructure should have similar costs.”

    No, whether it’s ‘sporting’ infrastructure or not should not matter, everything is MORE expensive in this country than China. Why would building some roads in London be cheaper than building some roads in Beijing”

  3. But that’s only one side of the equation. You don’t know whether we intend to build as much stuff as the Chinese.

    Also of course you are both forgetting productivity is higher in the UK than China.

  4. China have built pretty much everything from scratch – including all transport links. Compare the plans for our modest stadium with their birds nest monstrosity. You can see how the Chinese could spend much more even if their labour is cheaper.

  5. As I understand it, they’ve built a new terminal at the airport (complete with the obligatory monorail?), a terminal bigger than all FIVE Heathrow terminals combined.

    That’s going to cost a bob or two.

  6. Labour may be cheaper – a good slice of it will be ‘forced’ -but the security apparatus to make sure the work is done won’t be.

  7. “Labour may be cheaper – a good slice of it will be ‘forced’ -but the security apparatus to make sure the work is done won’t be.”

    That’s _New_ Labour. Or has the Party officially dropped that bit under Gordon Brown?

  8. Matthew inadvertently hits the nail on the head. Whenever a sporting or cultural event is merged with economic regeneration, the balance sheet breaks.

    How many new visitors? How much do they spend? How much future revenue? How much would you have spent on economic regeneration if the event did not happen? Absolute numbers to my prior questions?

  9. I don’t blame China for pushing the boat out. After all, they are growing, and expanding. They have nothing to lose. There is a sense that the future belongs to them. They are unafraid of what they are. Unashamed of what they are. Han Chinese.

  10. So what if China had to spend more on enhancing its infrastructure than the UK would? To cite this as a benefit rather than a cost is to invoke the broken window fallacy. Would either nation have rationally spent as much on infrastructure development had they not been ‘awarded’ the Olympics? As Tim, and I, and others keep pointing out, opportunity cost is the overriding factor in any such calculation. Claiming the building of a road or a stadium as a benefit is to commit the same error as to put job creation in the benefit column rather than the cost column.

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