Over the past decades, the wired world of tech and business have come to dominate economies around the world, and nowhere more than in China and the United States. Interestingly, the power of these massive, almost monopolistic, tech giants, as well as their role and impact on society, are now finally being reconsidered in both places.
Pronouncements that the Belt and Road Initiative is failing are premature, argues Tom Miller, author of China’s Asian Dream and Senior Asia Analyst at Gavekal Research. He is well-versed in the problems facing the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and predicted many of them. In his 2017 book China’s Asian Dream, he warned that China’s preference for cultivating close relationships with individual leaders could be a long-term risk for BRI. Eighteen months on, this looks prescient. New governments have won power in Malaysia, Pakistan and the Maldives, and renegotiating deals signed by their predecessors are high on the agendas.
Many developing nations see China as a champion and as an investor. Western countries wish to see China shoulder a greater share of the burden of global leadership, and a growing number of Chinese citizens want China to reclaim its ancient role of international dominance. But is China ready to “lead the world?” Has it reached the stage where it can set the international tone, take the central role on global issues and provide preeminent guidance toward the future? To many the answer might be “yes”, but as the foundations of the powerhouse economy are actually weaker than they seem, that assessment may be premature.
Before Daniel Kahneman, few if any psychologists influenced the field of economics. But the Nobel laureate reversed the assumption underpinning most economic theories: people always make rational choices. “People are rational, except they are myopic,” says Kahneman. As a result of his work, which pioneered the ideas of behavioral economics, individuals learned how to modify their less-than-perfect decisions and organizations learned to take human limitations into consideration in decision-making. In this interview, Kahneman talks about the history of his research, how he, who began as a psychologist, ended up influencing economics, and why his work generated so much impact.
Back in 2014, Stephen Hawking warned that people should be careful about artificial intelligence (AI)—the full development of it could spell the end of the human race, he said. Brad Nelson, professor of robotics and intelligent systems at ETH Zürich, is optimistic about the technology’s development. To him, machines and robotics are augmenting instead of replacing the human workforce. In this interview with CKGSB Knowledge, Nelson talks about the state of AI so far, China’s advantages in this industry and, as an engineer, his insights into the relation between humans and machines.
Global trade used to be hailed with no doubt. But today, the international mood for globalization has to a great extent shifted. The deeply-held views on free trade and open access for all, which are at the heart of the globalization trend of recent decades, have been joined by ever-more insistent drum beats of dissent. From Europe and North America particularly, but from other places as well, there are calls for a rollback, for trade restrictions, for sanctions and barriers. There are those in the West who believe that to protect jobs and industries, it is necessary to replace “globalization” with “de-globalization.”
A common view of China’s central planning is that it has failed; since China grew faster when its reforms replaced planning with markets, the sooner China gets rid of Five Year Plans the better. This view is rather simplistic. Evidence shows that the Five Year Plans have played an important role in China’s progress. It was the fastest way for China to mobilize capital and labor for industrialization. And when China transitioned from a planned to a market economy and the two worked in parallel, it maintained employment, livelihoods, infrastructure and the supply of basic goods, hence a stable foundation for the nascent market economy.
Anil K. Gupta, the Michael Dingman Chair in Strategy, Globalization and Entrepreneurship at University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business, questions the logic behind Haier’s giant leap towards its new platform strategy. What’s at stake for Haier if it doesn’t embark upon this ambitious plan? According to Gupta: Haier now faces a major conundrum. Unless the company can find other growth opportunities fast, it faces years of potentially very slow growth. It is in this context that one can understand why CEO Zhang Ruimin has embarked on this new strategy.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a Chinese state-owned enterprise (SOE) in possession of industrial assets must be in want of reform. China’s reforms have released many assets into private ownership, but large blocks remain in corporations linked either to the central government or to a local government via chains of corporate ownership. The State Council’s latest guidelines on the reform of state-linked enterprises envisage more private ownership, some mergers, and a greater role for state asset management companies. But would that ensure better corporate governance?
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