Poised at the critical point of the next development cycle, China is facing increasing need for economic reform. If anyone is qualified to help resolve the new situations and changes in China’s economic performance, it would be Nobel economists. And recently they gathered at the Nobel Economists Summit of China for this very reason.
Co-sponsored by the New Huadu
Business School, the Center on Capitalism and Society of Columbia University, and Institute for Strategic Studies of Peking University and organized by Peking University Business Review, the first Nobel Economists Summit of China was held in Beijing from March 18 to 19. The line-up of the speakers was impressive: 2006 and 2012 Nobel Prize winners in Economics, France’s former Minister of Economics, former Vice President of World Bank, other world famous economists, and some renowned Chinese entrepreneurs. The discussion broke down China’s economic mode and proposed innovation for the coming decade.
Why can’t China simply imitate the West?
Edmund S. Phelps, winner of 2006 Nobel Prize in Economics and Dean of New Huadu Business School, believes that innovation standards are not universal.
China faces complex situations resulting from a variety of causes, and this prevents China from simply imitating the West.
“Popularity doesn’t equal effectiveness,” declared Justin Yifu Lin, former vice president of World Bank. “Some characteristics of the institutional environment in the West do not fit developing countries.” Lin also provided an example: In 2010, World Bank advised a small African country to carry out 520 reform programs, but an official from the country revealed that less than 520 persons were employed by its Treasury. “Different countries have different domestic and international interests,” he continued.
“China should not set the goal of catching the West,” opined Robert Z. Aliber, Professor Emeritus of International Economics and Finance from the University of Chicago. “Its target should be improving living standards, otherwise, quality of life will worsen and China will fall into the same trap that Japan did. They targeted catching USA in the 1950s, but ultimately their economy slowed after 1990.”