23 Jul
2011

More Weasel Words Misunderstood: Foreign “Investment”

I found myself having drinks and dinner the other night in Bolivia’s old capital city with an Italian man whose work is, like mine, in communications. Except that he works for the World Bank. It’s funny who you end up meeting while travelling.

With my friend adjudicating we ended up arguing about the idea of “foreign investment”, which I immediately claimed wasn’t investment at all. My friend felt that it was, and after all it’s tempting to believe that investment is whatever is called “investment”. But this single word highlights neatly the power and danger of frames. I wish to argue here that “investment” is a disputed concept to the extent of being fundamentally misleading; which seems especially critical when we’re talking about such a huge feature of the global economy.

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