CBC News, “Richard Thaler wins Nobel Prize in economics”
CBC News, “Richard Thaler wins Nobel Prize in economics”
So far Canada has very muted responses to Liu Xiaobo‘s death (on Thursday July 13, 2017) and his wife Liu Xia‘s continual house arrest. Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland tweeted she is “terribly sad” and issued a strongly worded written statement including the words but, as far as I know, nothing was said in-person on camera by neither Minister Freeland nor Prime Minister Justin Trudeau himself. Here is an excerpt from the written statement (download a PDF file with my highlights and notes),
“In particular, my thoughts go to Mr. Liu’s wife, Liu Xia, herself a tremendous symbol of courage and poise, who remains under house arrest,” Freeland said. “We continue to call for the release of all political prisoners.”
I have, so far, been unable to find any evidence of Canadian reporters asking Trudeau, on camera, about his view of Liu Xiaobo‘s death and his wife Liu Xia‘s continual house arrest. Since Mr. Trudeau was visiting Calgary yesterday for Stampede, I thought I would try my best to ask him a question myself. I thought, on the day of Liu Xiaobo‘s funeral (yesterday, Saturday, July 15), it was the least I could do to pay my deepest respect to Xiaobo and did my small part to try to shine a light on Xia‘s continual house arrest and get the PM to do more help free her.
I asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau my first question as an independent reporter. For my second try, I took off my reporter hat and paid my respect to Liu Xiaobo by making a request to my Prime Minister as a Canadian citizen with Hong Kong heritage. On the sady day of Liu Xiaobo‘s funeral, when I’ve read reports of Chinese government sending secret police to pretend to be his best friends (many were too young to be his “best friends”) at the funeral, reports of his wife forced to burn his body to ashes and spread the ashes into the sea so no one can pay his grave site proper respect, I thought the least I could do to pay my respect to Xiaobo and did my small part was to try to shine a light on freeing Xia from her continual house arrest.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Please help free #LiuXiaobo’s wife #LiuXia!
Photos credit: HK01 July 15th report, “劉曉波告別式：國保疑混入充數 被監控好友證無一「好友」出席”
P.S. As reported by Radio Canada International (RCI), Governor General David Johnston was “on a state visit to China from July 10 to 14, accompanied by a large delegation of Canadian politicians and business leaders“.
Further quoting the RCI report, [emphasis added]
“Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Johnston in Beijing on Thursday, urging both countries to expand cooperation in such areas as trade, law enforcement, technology and culture, and launch negotiations on a free trade agreement at an early date, reported the official Chinese Xinhua agency, which had no mention of Liu’s passing.“
Given the Chinese government’s self-proclaimed meaningless “rule-of-law” which lead to the shameful premature death of Mr. Liu Xiaobo and continual house arrest of Liu Xia, any discussion of cooperation in law enforcement is absolutely premature. How can we be sure any cooperation in law enforcement is absolutely Charter of Rights and Freedoms compliant under the current Chinese judicial regime?
July 16, 2017 update: Foreign Affairs Minister @cafreeland tweeted, “Canada continues to call on the Chinese govt to release #LiuXia and offer her safe passage out of China, according to her wishes. #LiuXiaobo” at 5:26 PM – 16 Jul 2017 from London, England
(audio) BBC World Service Newshour, “Ai Weiwei says Western countries failed Liu Xiaobo”
Guardian, July 15, “Liu Xiaobo: dissident’s friends angry after hastily arranged sea burial”
NYT, July 15, “Liu Xiaobo, Chinese Dissident and Nobel Laureate, Is Cremated”
“China cremated its only Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Liu Xiaobo, on Saturday, but watchful officials allowed only his widow and a few other mourners to bid farewell to the man who was also the country’s most famous political prisoner.
Later in the day, Mr. Liu’s ashes were lowered into the sea in a simple ceremony, ensuring that there would be no grave on land to serve as a magnet for protests against the Communist Party, especially on the traditional tomb-sweeping day every April.“
“It would be hard to imagine a more obscene display of Canada’s slavish relationship with China’s depraved Communist Party regime: The very moment imprisoned democracy activist and Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo died under heavy guard on a hospital bed in the northeast city of Shenyang on Thursday, a beaming Governor General David Johnston was posing for photographs at the opulent Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, shaking hands with Chinese tyrant Xi Jinping, Liu’s jailer, and tormentor.
It was all so very chummy. […]
Liu’s death marks the first time a Nobel peace prize winner has died behind bars since the pacifist Carl von Ossietzky died in a Nazi concentration camp in 1938.“
note: The largest prison in the world is China. The country.
Sometimes I ask myself what can I or we do? Then I remember bearing witness, publicizing, and remembering these brutalities is one of the ways to remind brutal governments around the world we are watching. And a way to remind our own democratically elected governments that we care. So just do blindly focus on trade and money talk alone.
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced earlier today that the 2012 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel will divided equally between Alvin E. Roth (Harvard University) and Lloyd S. Shapley (UCLA) “for the theory of stable allocations and the practice of market design“.
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.“
Cross posted by me at examiner.com
I had a great interview with Ning Wang (co-author with Ronald Coase (Nobel Laureate in Economics)) to talk about their new book How China Became Capitalist. (Sample Chapter: You can download a free sample book chapter from Palgrave.)
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.
*** Main interview (see below for list of questions/themes)
Main interview (list of questions/themes)
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 intimidating for many western tourists. Yet Chinese roads deliver more goods and transport more passengers than those in any other country.“
Can you share your thoughts?
List of more in-depth questions/themes
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?
List of background questions/themes about the book
Q1) Can you talk about the process of writing the book with professor Coase? I understand there was the 2008 Chicago Conference on China’s Market Transformation and then the 2010 Chicago Workshop on the Industrial Structure of Production.
Q2) I understand the book title has a history and may be traced back to 1982! Can you talk about it?
Q3) Given Ning’s Ph.D. wasn’t in Economics, how did he get to write this economics book and meet professor Coase?
Thanks: Special thanks to Katy for arranging an advance copy for me to prepare for this interview and for my book review.
1) During the writing of this post, I found a link to a book chapter “The Institutional Diffusion of Courts in China: Evidence from Survey Data” (pdf) by Pierre F. Landry, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Yale University. This book chapter is one of the chapters in the book “Rule By Law: The Politics of Courts in Authoritarian Regimes“. While I haven’t read it, it may be something that is worth reading further.
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.
October 30th, 2015 update: I forgot to add the video link, here it is: “Video interview Ning Wang – How China Became Capitalist, co-author with Ronald Coase Nobel Laureate in Economics”
Just received the new book How China Became Capitalist (pub date: March 23) by Ronald Coase (Nobel Laureate in Economics) and Ning Wang. (download a sample chapter from Palgrave) I am reading the book and have planned a video interview with professor Wang. Stay tune for more updates in the near future. (see also Amazon)
*** Reviews of How China Became Capitalist ***
(note: emphasis added)
‘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
For Nobel economist Robert Mundell, “Father of the Euro“, it must be heart breaking for him to read headlines like “EU Sets 50% Greek Writedown, $1.4 Trillion in Debt-Crisis Fight” and “Euro zone rescue fund will have firepower of 1 trillion euros“.
In 2001, my MBA economics professor asked us to give a class presentation on something economics related, and I decided to talk about what I knew about Euro (not from the course itself but from readings of my own). I titled my talk Benefits and a potential weakness of the Euro (slides on Google). Here are the few key slides (high res readable version).
The crux of my ideas came from a heated & insightful debate (updated link from internet archive) I read in National Post in Dec 2000 between Nobel economists Robert Mundell and Milton Friedman. The following are quotes from Friedman (emphasis added to original text used in my presentation),
“Bob and my disagreement about the euro is identical with our disagreement about Bretton Woods. The euro encompasses 11 politically independent countries, differing in culture, resources and economic development, and subject to divergent influences. There are bound to develop among them differences about appropriate monetary, fiscal and other policies. Flexible exchange rates offered a way of adjusting to such differences through the market without political conflict. The euro closes that possibility. Bob is confident that other adjustment mechanisms will rapidly develop—greater internal flexibility in prices, regulations, and the like. I hope he is right, but I fear he may not be. If he turns out not to be, the euro will generate more political conflict, not political unity. […]
The members of the euro have accepted restrictions on their fiscal policy, but it remains to be seen whether they will be honored, and if they are not honored, whether the monetary community can enforce them. Those tests are yet to come.“
I doubt any of my classmates remember this but it is cool for me to look back and think that I picked an interesting and important topic to discuss even for a simple class presentation. Feel like patting myself on the back a little.