Monday, November 2, 2009

More great lectures in Shanghai

We attended two more outstanding lectures at the CKGSB campus in Shanghai, one by Professor Jeongwen Chiang, "Strategic Marketing in China," and one by Professor Leslie Young, "Modern China's Growth: Comparison and Contrast with the US."

Professor Chiang:

(Unfortunately, I was a dolt and neglected to take a picture of Professor Young.)

Professor Chiang's lecture was fascinating, covering the market impacts of, among other things, demographics in China, economic growth, China's one-child policy, regional economic imbalances, cultural norms and relationships, an emerging consumer middle-class, and product branding. Of particular interest was the dramatic and wide-ranging impact of the one-child policy.

Professor Young's lecture was fascinatingly provocative--possibly the most provocative lecture I have ever attended.

(Where do I even start?!? Perhaps with the fact that he earned a Ph.D. in Mathematics from Oxford at the age of 20?)

Professor Young's lecture was a very wide-ranging comparison of the Chinese and US economic systems, with emphasis given to recent responses to the economic crisis (including assertions that some aspects of the structure of the Chinese economic system--such as government control over land ownership--gave it an inherent crisis-response advantage over the US), the nature of economic competition between the US and China over recent decades, and the structure of capital creation and government control of "Communist Capital" within the Chinese system.

Professor Young also tossed some bombs into the classroom with statements on touchy topics such as US policy and future competitiveness, religion, and the perceived and relative value of various types of freedoms, pushing most--if not all--members of the class outside their comfort zones.

I'm still astonished at how outspoken some of the professors were in their criticisms of various policies of the Communist government over the past 60 years. To be sitting two blocks from Mao's mausoleum on Tian'anmen Square and hear a professor describe aspects of life under Mao as "miserable for 30 years" was certainly not what I had expected!

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Charlottesville, Virginia, United States