Belated Happy 102nd Birthday to Prof. Ronald Coase with special #PDFtribute

Saturday, 19 January, 2013

Happy belated 102nd Birthday to Nobel Economics Laureate Professor Ronald Coase. Wishing professor Coase good health and all the best in 2013!

In 2009, I took the initiative to spend a few days to download, process, upload, transcribe (small part of), and time-code professor Coase‘s 2003 Coase Lecture (a massive .mov file) to share on YouTube (6 clips in a playlist) to allow interested people from around the world to watch and learn as a way to celebrate professor Coase‘s 99th birthday.

Here is the 2003 Coase Lecture by Ronald Coase – Part 1. Watch the other 5 parts via this YouTube playlist.

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.

Here are the PDFs of the academic papers
1937 – Nature of the Firm
1959 – The Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
1974 – The Lighthouse in Economics

Bonus academic papers
– 1947 – The Origin of the Monopoly of Broadcasting in Great Britain

In the wise words of professor Coase,

“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.”

I was inspired to upload these academics papers by the #PDFtribute movement to honour the 26 years young Aaron Swartz (1986 – 2013) who died partly as a result from his fight with the outdated and outmoded JSTOR system to make academic papers available for free for all.

For me personally, I received these important papers for free from the Law Library. And I see them (Firm, FCCLighthouse) 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)!

Happy 102nd birthday professor Coase!

Goodbye Aaron, you left us far too soon!

Ronald Coase, 101, Nobel Laureate: ‘I’ve Been Wrong So Often, I Don’t Find It Extraordinary At All’

Tuesday, 29 May, 2012

Have a listen to this precious 3:41 radio interview, “Nobel Laureate: ‘I’ve Been Wrong So Often, I Don’t Find It Extraordinary At All’“. One has to deeply admire the humility in professor’s Coase‘s answers.

Note: I had a great video interview with Ning Wang (co-author with Coase) to talk about their new book How China Became Capitalist. (Sample Chapter: You can download a free sample book chapter from Palgrave.)

Want to know How China Became Capitalist? – Free sample book chapter

Tuesday, 27 March, 2012

How China Became Capitalist by Ronald Coase (Nobel Laureate in Economics) & Ning Wang - published Mar 23, 2012

Curious about How China Became Capitalist in general and not just the book or have an interesting question/puzzle related to the Chinese economy? Share it in the comment and I will see if I can work it into my interview with Ning Wang (co-author with Ronald Coase (Nobel Laureate in Economics)) about How China Became Capitalist tomorrow (Mar 28) morning.

Sample Chapter: You can download a free sample book chapter from Palgrave.

March 28, 2012, 2pm Update: I had a most insightful 70+ minutes Skype interview with Ning Wang this morning. It will take me some time to edit & post the video and write the article. Stay tune.

How China Became Capitalist by Ronald Coase (Nobel Laureate in Economics) & Ning Wang (pub date: Mar 23)

Tuesday, 20 March, 2012

How China Became Capitalist - Ronald Coase & Ning Wang

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

You don’t know what you can learn – New Quote I Love

Monday, 10 January, 2011

Here is a new addition to my list of quotes I love.

“You don’t know what you can learn until you try to learn.” – Nobel Economist Ronald Coase, in an interview conducted on 28th & 29th, December 2010 when he was 100 years old

Interview with Nobel Economist Ronald Coase on his 100th birthday

Sunday, 9 January, 2011

Check out this extensive interview with Professor Ronald Coase conducted by Wang Ning on December 28 and 29, 2010 at Chicago. [Source: University of Chicago Law School] The following are excerpts that I found particularly insightful to me from the interview (with emphasis added). Read the full interview yourself. Highly recommended.

WN (Wang Ning): First of all, happy birthday, professor Coase. As you know, Chinese economists are now holding a Conference in Beijing, “Coase and China”, to celebrate your 100th birthday. To my knowledge, no other western economist, probably with the exception of Karl Marx, has ever been so honored in China. The reason is twofold. It first has to do with the powerful influence of your ideas. Second, you clearly have a special feeling toward China. In Chinese culture, reciprocity is a high virtue. The first question many Chinese people have in mind is, what got you interested in China?

RC (Ronald Coase): I don’t know why I am interested in China. I have been interested for a long time, too long for me to remember. I read Marco Polo many years ago, probably as a schoolboy. It was an impressive book. I don’t think anyone can read the book without being impressed by the Chinese civilization. It went back many centuries. It made great achievements long before the rise of the West. That impression stayed with me forever.


RC: That wouldn’t happen. I was able to do my work at Chicago just as freely as I was at Buffalo.

WN: I think you were right. Given Steve‘s character, I don’t think anyone could stop him from developing his own thought.

RC: I am glad that I later strongly urged Steve to go to Hong Kong. I did not know how much good it would do. But given Steve’s influence in China, I think it was a good move.

Read the rest of this entry »

Prof. Ronald Coase, Happy 100th Birthday!

Wednesday, 29 December, 2010

I would like to wish Prof. Ronald Coase good health and all the best on his 100th Birthday (Dec 29th, 2010) and his new book to be published in 2011 (see attached Economist article)! “… Mr Coase will publish a new book in 2011, with Ning Wang of Arizona State University, on “How China Became Capitalist”

By the way, I have watched the following lecture videos by Prof. Coase probably over 5-10 times already and I am still learning something new every time. Enjoy. Note: More info after the videos.

Also check out the following,

– (video) Ronald Coase: “Markets, Firms and Property Rights”

Audio (downloadable) Ronald H. Coase: The 17th Annual Coase Lecture

– Ronald Coase Discusses Global Warming Regulation – Of Individual Liberty and Cap and Trade

– For the record, from Stephen N. S. Cheung(2011.01.04)科斯百岁了

And from Economist,

Why do firms exist? – Ronald Coase, the author of “The Nature of the Firm” (1937), turns 100 on December 29th
Schumpeter Dec 16th 2010 | from PRINT EDITION

FOR philosophers the great existential question is: “Why is there something rather than nothing?” For management theorists the more mundane equivalent is: “Why do firms exist? Why isn’t everything done by the market?” Read the rest of this entry »

Ronald Coase: “Markets, Firms and Property Rights”

Tuesday, 19 January, 2010

I’ve been waiting for Prof. Ronald Coase‘s “Markets, Firms and Property Rights” talk (video) for over a month since the 2009 Coase Conference in early December. I am happy to say the talk is now online and very insightful as expected. Highly recommended.

If you want more of Prof. Coase, you can watch this insightful 2003 Coase Lecture (with time code).

Happy 99th Birthday Prof. Ronald Coase

Tuesday, 29 December, 2009

Today (Dec 29th, 2009) is Prof. Ronald Coase‘s 99th birthday. I like to wish him a happy birthday and good health. I’ve added time codes and brief notes to his 2003 Coase Lecture (in 6 parts). Enjoy.

(note: This is a followup to an earlier entry.)

Part 1

Time Codes added to the Youtube info

0:30 Coase Lecture,
1:21 Law and Economics,
1:40 Mr. Toad The Wind in the Willows,
2:14 First year students,
2:40 What Coase did as a young student,
3:14 The events that lead to the emergence of the subject known as Law and Economics,
3:36 Professor of Economics and not a Professor of Law and Economics,
3:47 knowledge of law as an undergraduate,
4:32 following the precedence,
4:44 The Law Courts,
5:03 American cases

Part 2

Time codes

0:00 Theory of international trade. (Never thought I would laugh so hard!)
1:24 More likely to become a lawyer than an economist in university. Study of industrial law.
2:25 Go to US to study why industries are organized in different ways.
3:28 Plant was opposed to government’s schemes of coordinating production.
Read the rest of this entry »

Professor Steven N S Cheung on Ronald Coase

Monday, 7 December, 2009

Have a read of Professor Steven N S Cheung’s piece – Ronald Coase: My Once and Future Mentor“. Thanks to Gary for posting it.

My special gift to Ronald Coase for his 99th birthday

Saturday, 5 December, 2009

In some sense, my “gift” to Prof. Ronald Coase for his 99th birthday is “special”. More on this later.

For the last 20+ years of my life, many of my thinking has been shaped and influenced by Coase, and yet I have not met him in person. Of course, how much have I actually learned or understood remains a mystery. (big smile) Allow me to share two stories.

I remember some years ago during the first year of my MBA program, somehow the topic of lighthouse came up. And I, quite off-handedly, mentioned to my classmate (he majored in economics, and I majored in computer science) that lighthouse is usually given as an example of a public good but this categorization is actually wrong.

Well, to my surprise, my classmate insisted that, “No no no. Lighthouse is a public good and you cannot charge any money for the use of it.” After a minute or so of discussion, we got back to our schoolwork. To me, from that moment on, I realized I was lucky to have some special insights. I’ve learned Coase’s ideas, including those in “The Lighthouse in Economics” via Prof. Steven Cheung‘s articles in Chinese when I was attending high school in Hong Kong. I have learned the importance in asking questions. And try not to take things/”established facts” for granted.

In yet another MBA class, this time an ethics class. The professor asked a simple question, something like, “Why do we have ‘company’/’corporation’?” In hope to lead to some discussions about ethics (well, it was an ethics course after all). What my professor didn’t expect was me raising my hand and answered, “To reduce transaction cost.” :)

Now, without further delay, allow me to present my “special” and virtual gift to Prof. Coase. Wishing Prof. Coase a very happy 99th birthday (in advance) and good health for many more years to come.

My “special” “gift”

This gift is “special” because I think the best gift to give to someone like Prof. Coase, who has everything he needs in the world and likely every material thing he wants, is to “pay it forward“. Prof. Coase himself doesn’t really benefit from the gift itself, it is the people who may learn from Prof. Coase that are benefitting. So I am “paying it forward” or “gifting” forward.

As you may know, the wonderfully insightful (and often humorous) 2003 Coase Lecture was delivered by Prof. Coase himself. And the full lecture has been available online via Coase Institute for free download and viewing for some time now. Unfortunately, unless the person has an extremely fast internet connection and have patient to wait for an hour or two or more, downloading the 525MB quicktime video file (this is very big) can still be quite a challenge. And for those that have slower regular internet access, viewing the lecture is practically impossible.

So as a “special” gift to Prof. Coase for his 99th birthday, I have taken the initiative and spent most of the night (well, actually last night and now well into the wee hours) to compress and upload the video onto YouTube.

This “gift” is “special” also because I’ve bent quite a few rules. Since this is a gift for Prof. Coase’s 99th birthday, I hope the “deciders” don’t mind and will let me give this “gift”. :)

Hope you enjoy the 2003 Coase Lecture (in 6 parts).

Read the rest of this entry »

2009 Coase Conference – Day 1 brief notes and photos

Saturday, 5 December, 2009

Thanks a lot to my friend Zhaofeng for allowing me to quote and use a brief summary of his personal notes (in Chinese) and photos of day one of the 2009 Coase Conference. I am hoping and looking forward to the Information Economy Project at George Mason University School of Law posting the videos for the 2009 Coase Conference very soon.

Here are some photos.

University of Chicago School of Law2009 Coase Conference registration @ University of Chicago School of Law

Ronald Coase @ 2009 Coase Conference, University of Chicago School of LawThomas Hazlett (L), David Porter and Vernon Smith @ 2009 Coase Conference, University of Chicago School of Law

Doug North @ 2009 Coase Conference, University of Chicago School of Law

A Celebration of the Research of Ronald Coase

Tuesday, 1 December, 2009

Markets, Firms and Property Rights: A Celebration of the Research of Ronald Coase (Dec 4-5, 2009)

I am not a professional economist but I love to read and learn. Here are four of the Coase Conference papers that I’ve started to scan.

  1. Harold Demsetz, R.H. Coase and the Neoclassical Model of the Economic System
  2. Thomas W. Hazlett, David Porter, Vernon Smith, Radio Spectrum and the Disruptive Clarity of Ronald Coase
  3. Richard A. Posner, Keynes and Coase
  4. Zhimin Liao, Xiaofang Chen, Why the Entry Regulation of the China Mobile Phone Manufacturing Industry Collapsed:The Impact of Technological Innovation on Institutional Transformation.

See a longer list of downloadable conference papers here.

Here is an excerpt of a presentation by Prof. Ronald Coase “Use prices to determine radio frequency spectrum use” given in 2003.

Markets, Firms and Property Rights: A Celebration of the Research of Ronald Coase

Monday, 30 November, 2009

[via GMU (see registration info & conference details)] If I could be in Chicago, I would definitely be attending this two days conference.

Markets, Firms and Property Rights: A Celebration of the Research of Ronald Coase (Dec 4-5, 2009)

Friday, December 4 to Saturday, December 5, 2009

University of Chicago Law School Auditorium

This Conference brings together a group of scholars to honor the life and research of Ronald Coase. 2009 marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of Coase’s seminal paper on the Federal Communications Commission. 2010 marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of his paper on “The Problem of Social Cost,” and his 100th birthday.

The presentations on this occasion cover specific topics on which Coase’s work has exerted profound influence, including such areas as telecommunications policy, airline regulation and development, environmental economics, economic development, organization of the firm, and general discussions of the questions of transactions costs and social rationality to which he has contributed so much.

The Conference is being organized by Richard A. Epstein of the University of Chicago, Thomas Hazlett of George Mason University, and Roger Noll and Greg Rosston of Stanford University. These papers shall be published in special issues of the Journal of Law and Economics and the Journal of Legal Studies. The Conference will be held at the University of Chicago Law School on Friday, December 4, and Saturday, December 5, 2009. The public is invited.

Click here for more info: conference schedule and papers.

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