Four seasoned observers of the Chinese economy will head a panel discussion on "China As the World's Biggest Economy?" on Wednesday, Oct. 17 from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Tang Center. The event is the eighth annual Catherine N. Stratton Lecture on Critical Issues, sponsored by the MIT Women's League to honor Kay Stratton, wife of the late MIT President Julius Stratton.
China will join the World Trade Organization early next year, yet it is in the midst of a difficult transition from a command-and-control economy to a free-market system. Most of its economic activity is concentrated in its largest cities, with huge areas of the countryside in economic distress and consequent corruption and unrest.
Lester Thurow, the Jerome and Dorothy Lemelson Professor of Management and Economics and coordinator of Asia-Pacific Initiatives at the Sloan School of Management, will chair the discussion. His Chinese-based initiatives include the MIT-China Management Education Project, a collaboration of Sloan and three distinguished Chinese universities.
The other panelists will be Ezra F. Vogel, the Henry Ford II Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard University; Edward S. Steinfeld, assistant professor of political science at MIT; and Yasheng Huang, associate professor of business, government and international economy at Harvard Business School.
Vogel is director of Harvard's Fairbank Center for East Asian Research and director of the university's Asia Center. He has served as the national intelligence officer for East Asia and, at the invitation of the Guangdong provincial government, spent months studying the economic and social progress of the province since its designation as a special economic zone in 1978.
Steinfeld's study of the Chinese state-owned enterprise and subsequent research and publications reflect years of involvement with Chinese organizations. He is associated with MIT's Center for International Studies and the Globalization Project of the MIT Industrial Performance Center, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and director of the China Development Seminar at Harvard's Fairbank Center.
Huang's research focuses on government policies and institutional issues, especially in transitional, socialist East Asian economies. He is associated with Harvard's Center for International Affairs and the Fairbank Center, and he is a Fellow at the Center for Chinese Economic Research at Tsinghua University and the Institute of International Relations at Peking University.
The discussion will be free and open to the public and will include opportunity for members of the audience to ask questions.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on October 3, 2001.