Commentaries revolving around the sustainability and environmental development of the Shanghai World Expo seem to neglect a fundamental concern: whether the benefits of such World Expos justify the assortment of associated costs. Moreover, Shanghai’s desire to establish herself as an industrialised metropolis has prompted authorities to allocate billions of dollars for preparation and construction. Individual countries, including my own, have gone all out in manpower and architecture to complement the hype and atmosphere.
The original concept of the sharing of technology and art-design education in the conventions – extremely pertinent in the past – seems antiquated and wholly unnecessary in the present context. The advents of the Internet and enhanced communication capabilities have significantly relegated the relative importance of World Expos. Information and new discoveries are disseminated through online mediums almost instantaneously.
Undoubtedly, the money and resources dedicated by Shanghai and the participating countries can be channelled into more direct and constructive causes. After all, such efforts can only mean positive benefits for the people who truly need them the most.
A version of this article was published in the International Herald Tribune, the Global Edition of The New York Times.