But what is the point of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank?
Duty to country cut short Jin Liqun’s hoped-for career as a scholar of Western literature. Soon after China joined the World Bank in 1980, Mr Jin—who when toiling on a collective farm taught himself English with the help of the bbc—was recruited from academia and sent to Washington, dc. He was among the first Chinese at the World Bank and the imf, twin pillars of an economic order designed by America and its allies after the second world war. After years in international institutions, he went home to be China’s vice-minister of finance.
Today, Mr Jin is in his seventh year as founding president of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (aiib), a multilateral bank hosted by China. He still uses literature to explain his country’s world view to outsiders. In an essay on economic governance, he quotes “The Leopard”, a study of Sicilian aristocratic decline, and its advice: “If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change.”