I’m deeply saddened of the passing of Professor Ronald Coase . Quoting The Telegraph (emphasis & link added), “Professor Ronald Coase, who has died aged 102, won the 1991 Nobel Prize in Economics by injecting a note of reality into the world of market theories; in a 60-year career he wrote only about a dozen significant papers and used little or no mathematics, yet his impact on his discipline was profound.” The Verge is not too far off the truth when using the title, “Ronald Coase, the ‘father’ of the spectrum auction, dies at 102” as you can watch Coase explained how he first read the key idea from a student note and then adopt the idea of using prices to determine radio frequency spectrum use in this video clip.
Earlier this afternoon, in an exclusive video interview with Prof. Ning Wang, co-author of Prof. Coase’s last book “How China Became Capitalist” (published 2012), Wang talked about visiting Coase last week, working with Coase from 2008-2012 on “How China Became Capitalist“, Coase’s love of China, and more.
For the last few birthdays of professor Coase, I mainly reshare the above video clips (with a new text interview in 2011). This time around, I’ve taken a new initiative to honour professor Coase‘s 102nd birthday. You see, a few years ago I went to the University of Calgary Law Library to conduct some US patent research for a client. As a bonus/treat for myself, I spent some time to download quite a few academic papers by professor Coase.
To celebrate professor Coase‘s 102nd birthday, I’ve uploaded the following three important papers plus a bonus paper as a special gift to readers of professor Coase‘s ideas.
“The only support I got was from my contemporaries. […] If this tale has any general significance, it is that new ideas are most likely to come from the young who are also the group most likely to recognize the significance of those ideas.”
For me personally, I received these important papers for free from the Law Library. And I see them (Firm, FCC, Lighthouse) deserve to be read by as many people as possible instead of under the messed up limited JSTOR manner. The bottom line, to me, by having these papers available by a single click here is that this save people’s physical travel time to go down to their local university libraries where these papers can be downloaded for free anyway!
It has not escaped my attention and noticed the paradox that The Lighthouse in Economics is a paper that disprove, with facts, the incorrect belief by many people (including my former MBA classmate who has a B.A. degree in Economics) that Lighthouse services cannot be charged thus has to be made freely available by the governments!
*** Concluding thoughts ***
I want to emphasize that I totally agree with the many academics in the #PDFtribute movement and Aaron that it is about time we in Canada and US require academic papers to be made publicly downloadable for FREE in perpetuity if any part (or whole) of their research funding come from any level of government (thus tax payers’ money, our money)!
Roth was interviewed over the phone immediately by the Nobel foundation following the announcement. The audio interview, hearing the answers in the words and tone of the Nobel Laureate is always interesting fascinating. Here is a brief insightful exchange excerpt from the interview transcript that explains what the this year’s winners won for,
“AG [Allegra Grevelius, from Nobelprize.org, the Nobel Prize website]: I understand. Many of Nobelprize.org’s visitors are high school students. How would you explain your prize awarded work in layman’s terms?
AR [Alvin E. Roth]: Well, my prize is about matching and matching is the work that the economy does when deciding for instance which students go to which schools. If they have a choice so high school students in some cities get matched through a choice system where they submit preferences and the schools have requirements perhaps preferences also. And some decisions are made who goes where. And that’s what matching is about. It’s about who gets what. And um, we try to, in the school choice, we try to make it happen in a way that is sufficient but doesn’t, but doesn’t send people to schools they would rather swap with other people if the schools would allow them. Um, and if your students are in high school, they are going to go through many matching markets in their lives. They’re going to get married, they’re going to get jobs, and so, they can think about us then.
AG: Yes, it is very interesting. So your work has a lot of practical applications in our lives, school applications, maybe matching kidney donors and receivers. Are you driven as an economist by these questions by applying your theories to real life?AR: Yes, economics is about real life, so I’m very interested in that.
AG: Yeah, indeed. As a young person, what inspired you to be an economist?
AR: Well, I didn’t become an economist until rather late in life. My PhD is operational research. I was interested in making things work better and using mathematics to help do that. So operational research is what I studied as an undergraduate and graduate student. The kinds of things that I found myself interested in, trying to understand and trying to make things work better were things that involved people and that meant economics.“
Last time Wallace and I talked about the Facebook “investment” before the super hyped IPO. Unfortunately, we were 100% right. What we discussed (the nature of Facebook, what is “investing”, etc) were backed by what we now have seen. And many many people actually lost billions on paper! You can watch our pilot episode here: “林錦堂與陳心田講一講 Facebook “投資”“.)
This time, Wallace and I talked about union’s right to strike/bargaining rights (Air Canada, CP rail). You can watch it here: 陳心田 與 林錦堂 講一講 “工會罷工”. We hope you enjoy our show!
I appreciate very much professor Wang spending over an hour sharing his insight with me about How China Became Capitalist and answering questions I have related to the Chinese economy. The following are edited clips of the video interview. By the way, feel free to share your comments and questions. When I finish reading the book, I plan to arrange another interview with Ning to talk more. And I may be able to incorporate some of the comments/questions into my next interview.
I have edited the interview into 3 clips with a list of questions/themes. Enjoy.
Q1) Can you talk about the Shenzhen stock exchange in mid-90s where it had 300 offices for people to buy or sell stocks when the stock exchange actually had NO official permission to allow for these trades?!
Q2) China is now the world largest producer of Ph.Ds. Yet Qian Xuesen (錢學森), a most respected Chinese scientist asked a sobering question before his death in 2009 and the question is known as the “Qian Puzzle”.
“Why have Chinese universities not produced a single world-class original thinker or innovative scientist since 1949 ?”
Q3) Quoting the book,
“After more than three decades, the Chinese legal system is still far away from where it can “guarantee the equality of all people before the people’s laws and deny anyone the privilege of being above the law.””
This is a tough assessment which I agree with very much. Can you share your thoughts?
Q4) So far I’ve only read parts of the book but I feel more pessimistic of the possibility in seeing China makeing positive changes. I’m feeling more constrained by the history I now know. Can you share your thoughts?
Q5) I love this quote in the book,
“Capitalism with Chinese characteristics is very much like traffic in Chinese cities, chaotic and intimidatingfor many western tourists. Yet Chinese roads deliver more goods and transport more passengers than those in any other country.“
Q1) China’s “Rule by Law” as opposite to the western practice of “Rule of Law“, that one word (“by” vs “of”) makes the difference of night and day! Can you share your thoughts? (see note 1)
Q2) “Do you see institutional arrangement as something culturally oriented or is base upon universally applicable principles? i.e. if every country is of certain uniqueness or that there exists a ‘one size fits all’ economic system?” [Thanks goes to my economist friend Wallace for this question.]
Q3) What is your and prof. Coase’s main discovery or new understanding gained from the years of research compare to the original understanding in 2008 when you started the research?
Q4) Can you talk about research topics that you and prof. Coase like to see more of? Any interesting puzzles worth further research?
2) On a personal note, I I think How China Became Capitalist is a ground breaking and insightful book that shines a bright light through some foggy misconceptions in our minds. Some of these misconceptions are unfortunately encouraged and repeated by the Chinese government.
‘This is a major contribution to the whole literature on economic change as well as on China. Nowhere in all of the literature on economic change and development that I know is there such a detailed study of the fumbling efforts of a society to evolve and particularly one that had as long and as far to go as China did.’ – Douglass C. North, 1993 Nobel laureate in Economics
‘This book is one of the greatest works in economics and in studies of China, not only for today, but for the future.’ – Chenggang Xu, University of Hong Kong
‘Ronald Coase, now 100 years plus, and Ning Wang have written a compelling and exhaustive commentary about China’s fitful transition from Socialism under Mao to today’s distinctive capitalist economy. No student of China or socialism can afford to miss this volume.’ – Richard Epstein, University of Chicago Law School
‘Coase finds a nation whose philosophy and policy have reflected the same simple principle – “seeking truth from facts” – that has inspired his own path-breaking analyses of firms, markets and law. A fascinating and exceptionally thought-provoking account of how China, repeatedly seeking more efficient socialism, found itself turning capitalist.‘ – Stephen Littlechild, Emeritus Professor, University of Birmingham, and Fellow, Judge Business School, University of Cambridge
“Plummer said he was “totally prepared to lose. You have to be. You have to have some idea of what you’re going to say if you do win, but you really wipe it from your mind.”
After his name was announced, though, Plummer delivered one of the most polished acceptance speeches of the night.
He paid eloquent tribute to his fellow nominees – Max von Sydow, Jonah Hill, Kenneth Branagh and Nick Nolte – thanked all of those connected with the film, particularly its star, Ewan McGregor, and acknowledged the critical support given to him by his “little band of agents provocateurs … who’ve tried so hard to keep me out of jail.”
“I change that line every time I have a speech. Sometimes it’s ‘keeping me out of Sing Sing’ or ‘keeping me in martinis for all these years.’ ””
I love Mr. Plummer and think his Oscar acceptance speech is just beautiful!
Following is an insightful and very funny talk given by professor Ronald Coase when he was just 92 in 2003. And next month in March 2012, prof. Coase, now just 101 years young, will be publishing his lastest book “How China Became Capitalist“.
You see, Christopher Plummer 82 and Ronald Coase 101 are inspiring to me for they are both at an age where many people would have long “retired” to “happy” lives of doing absolutely nothing. Of course, there is absolutely nothing wrong with doing absolutely nothing. But why are Mr. Plummer and Prof. Coase still hard at work? I believe this saying says it all, “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life“. Both Mr. Plummer and Prof. Coase are doing work they just LOVE to do. And would do it anyway even if no one pays them to.
So Mr. Plummer‘s and Prof. Coase‘s lessons for me is to find and do a job I love so that I will never have to work a day in my life! Oh, and living to 82 or 101 to work will be just GREAT and a bonus!
P.S. I’ve finished watching the video now. I think I need a much more detail review of the referenced research papers (which I don’t have time to do) before I can decide if I have missed noticing any potential source of problems/mistakes.
I’ve heard of Leo Herzel (via Prof. Ronald Coase and others) for some years, it was only yesterday that I finally got around to read his “My 1951 Color Television Article” (The Journal of Law & Economics, 1998) that talks about his original 1951 thought provoking and influential idea and analysis.
“His legacy extends to at least three Nobel Prize-winning economists, including Ronald Coase, who credits Mr. Herzel with creation of the initial theory that later became the foundation for his Nobel Prize-winning article, “The Problem of Social Cost.”
Mr. Herzel’s analysis of market solutions to resource allocation problems, written while he was a student at the University of Chicago in 1950, guides FCC policy [in particular, frequency spectrum auctions in US and around the world] to this day.”
“New ideas are most likely to come from the young who are also the group who are most likely to recognize the significance of those ideas.” – Ronald Coase in his 2003 Coase Lecture
Photo credit: by Zhaofeng Xue (薛兆丰) 2009
And I like to send an early Happy Birthday and All the Best wish to Professor Coase, for his up coming 101th birthday on 29th December, 2011! And I am looking forward to the upcoming (Feb 2012) book “How China Became Capitalist” co-authored by Prof. Coase and Ning Wang. Yes, Prof. Coase is going to be 101 years old and he is still working and writing!
I wish I had more time to study Lego as a business, but since it is a private business, my incentive to read though Lego’s years of annual reports are somewhat reduced. :) If I were to judge Lego by people’s interest in playing with them in the middle of the Chinook shopping mall last Saturday, it looks like people’s love affair with Lego haven’t finished at all. It was really cool to see this father and his two sons spent a lovely afternoon building thisLego project!
“The census story is a train wreck in slow motion; the latest car to pile on the flaming ruins is the recent report that Statistics Canada has resigned itself to accepting incomplete responses to the National Household Survey (NHS). [Kempton’s note: Sadly, this first tran]
Many readers may have thought that the census issue was settled last summer; it wasn’t. We haven’t even begun to deal with the consequences of the decision to replace the mandatory long-form census with the voluntary NHS. As Economy Lab contributor Kevin Milligan and his UBC colleague David Green note in Canadian Public Policy, one of the most striking features of the census is its ‘hidden ubiquity’. [Kempton’s note: Milligan & Green’s research note is highly recommended reading. Download the free note and read.] The census is an invisible — and yet essential — element Read the rest of this entry »
This morning at the Braeside Stampede Breakfast, I had the pleasure to interview Jesse Salus, an organizer of the Save Glenmore Park‘s group (Facebook group & Twitter), to talk about the group’s concern that the five southwest ring road connector options proposed by the Alberta government don’t solve the problem and are too costly for the communities and the tax payers.
“The Province of Alberta has released the results of a Functional Planning Study (FPS) for a southwest ring road connector. The FPS unveiled five options, all of which entail eight-lane, 110 km/hr expressways that will come right through Calgary.
However, Albertans may not need to spend billions and suffer the impacts of building a highly questionable expressway link. We have asked the wrong question when we try to find a route for a new eight-lane expressway. The real question is, how can the Province Read the rest of this entry »
“Here’s the consortium participation as I understand it. RIM and Ericsson together put up $1.1 billion with Ericsson getting a fully paid-up license to the portfolio while RIM, as a Canadian company like Nortel, gets a paid-up license plus possibly some carry forward operating losses from Nortel, which has plenty of such losses to spare. For RIM the deal might actually have a net zero cost after tax savings, which the Canadian business press hasn’t yet figured out.
Microsoft and Sony put up another $1 billion.
There is a reportedly a side deal for about $400 million with EMC that has the storage company walking with sole ownership of an unspecified subset of the Nortel patents.
Finally Apple put up $2 billion for outright ownership of Nortel’s Long Term Evolution (4G) patents as well as another package of patents supposedly intended to hobble Android.
At the end of the day this deal isn’t about royalties. It is about trying to kill Android.”
Bob has been in the industry for a long time, so there are probably some elements of truth in his report and worth considering. [HT Digital Trends]