The new series of China economic reform

June 19, 2008

I am sure that Professor Cheung will unlock the secret code of China’s success.


Kempton 30 June, 2008 Update: Following are links to the first five parts.

(2008.06.17)《中国的经济制度》中译版(之一) (2008-06-17 07:39:41)


The Economic System of China – initial random thoughts

June 19, 2008

Thanks to my free lunch co-blogger Wallace for mentioning the existence of Prof. Steven Cheung’s first two installments of “The Economic System of China“, I ended up staying up 3+ hours (well passed 3am) to finish reading part of the paper and blogging about it. A paper that I had been waiting for since Sept 2007 . Yes, the paper is that good! (note: Prof. Cheung has dedicated the paper to his long time friend/mentor/colleague Prof. Ronald Coase).

Knowing myself, I will probably be staying up late for the other ten installments when they are published in the coming days on prof. Cheung’s Chinese blog. By the way, my apologies to those that don’t read Chinese as the only version I can find online is the Simplified Chinese version translated by the professor himself (note: the original paper is written in English, so be patient, I will try to find it for you).

Now, before I go on to comment on the substances of the first two installments, allow me to indulge myself by sharing a few random thoughts and comments.

  1. As an appreciated bonus, I think my Simplified Chinese will improve by the end of this series. 🙂 At school, I was taught reading and writing Traditional Chinese and nothing in Simplified Chinese.
  2. When I have them, I will appreciate having both the English and Chinese versions of the articles sitting side-by-side as I see myself picking up Chinese/English terms and their equivalents in English/Chinese.
  3. My further appreciation of English/Chinese translation is such a difficult art. In particular, technical English and Chinese.
  4. I have 14 different books written by the professor. Many of these books are still in print and being sold. Since most (if not all) of the articles in these books are also available for free on the professor’s blog site, do they count as “free lunches”? (smile) I know they are ad-supported but they are still “free”? My fellow free lunchers, what is the economic explanation for this “free stuff”?
  5. I finally appreciate what my dad must have been thinking from reading this quote by the professor, “我要专注于中国做对了什么。这里我只能再说,要批评中国我可以写很多本书。” (My translation: “I want to focus on what China did right. Let me repeat here, I can write many books if I want to be critical of China.”) Knowing what China has been through, my dad is probably more willing to focus on what China did right and give China the benefit of the doubt. Whereas I am more willing to ask a lot more from China, thus being naturally more critical (in hope of faster progress).
  6. In the second installment, this quote intrigued me, “这一切之上是高斯的原创思想,当时容易推销。如果当时的中国像今天那样,我是不会那么幸运的。” (My translation: “Above all these were Coase’s original ideas, it was an easy sale then. If the China then were like today, I don’t think I would have been that lucky.”) I am trying to figure what the professor think is happening in China today?
  7. Now, I am willing to put some money where my mouth is. I have one wild US$500 wish.

Here is my US$500 wild wish.

Assuming this series is not in the works already, I would be willing to be the first to put up US$500 to buy a DVD set of a 10-part documentary series hosted by Prof. Steven Cheung in similar format & style to Prof. Milton Friedman’s original 1980 classic “Free to Choose” (a series that I have watched more than twice now).

I don’t think I am exaggerating as I think a small percentage of professor Cheung’s millions of fans and admirers will probably be very willing to invest in an independent production of such a documentary series.

I know professor Cheung is a busy man but I see so much benefits in professor Cheung sharing his deep insight in Economics and the Economic System of China. I think such a 10-part series will definitely be appreciated by millions in China and also by many others around the world.

Now, here is a wild wish, if no one else is producing such a 10-part documentary series with Prof. Cheung, I would love to have a chance to give it a shot. May be I can beg (I mean beeeeg) my free lunch co-blogger Gary for an introduction and a possible chat/audience with professor Cheung to help convince him?

After all, prof. Ronald Coase gave an hour+ long lecture in 2003 when he was 93 years young. (smile) (file is 500MB, recommend downloading first before watch)