How China Became Capitalist


  • 26/04/2012
The growth of a form of capitalism in China is one of the major economic events of the post-war period. Even though incomes are low by western standards, given the size of the Chinese population the country is now a major economic power. Few envisaged this happening a generation ago. China’s future development now has important implications for the economic prospects of the West.

The IEA has just co-published a book, co-authored by Nobel Laureate Professor Ronald Coase and Ning Wang, that traces how China became capitalist. The results of their research leads to some new – and perhaps surprising – insights. Perhaps the most important aspect of their work, however, is their conclusion that intellectual freedom will be a key ingredient in ensuring that China remains capitalist.

This panel discussion will examine the history of and prospects for China in the context of the work of Professor Coase and Ning Wang. It will begin by a video on the book presented by Professor Coase.

Speakers on the panel include:

Dr Kerry Brown, Head, Asia Programme, Chatham House

Charles Dumas, Chairman, Lombard Street Research

Bill Emmott, International Author & Adviser

RSVP (acceptances only) using the form below or to IEA reception by email to [email protected] or by phone on 020 7799 8900.

What has been said about How China Became Capitalist:

This is a major contribution to the whole literature on economic change as well as on China. Nowhere in all of the literature on economic change and development that I know is there such a detailed study of the fumbling efforts of a society to evolve and particularly one that had as long and as far to go as China did.’ – Douglass C. North, 1993 Nobel laureate in Economics

This book is one of the greatest works in economics and in studies of China, not only for today, but for the future.’ – Chenggang Xu, University of Hong Kong

Ronald Coase, now 100 years plus, and Ning Wang have written a compelling and exhaustive commentary about China’s fitful transition from Socialism under Mao to today’s distinctive capitalist economy. No student of China or socialism can afford to miss this volume.’ – Richard Epstein, University of Chicago Law School

Coase finds a nation whose philosophy and policy have reflected the same simple principle – “seeking truth from facts” – that has inspired his own path-breaking analyses of firms, markets and law. A fascinating and exceptionally thought-provoking account of how China, repeatedly seeking more efficient socialism, found itself turning capitalist.’  – Stephen Littlechild, Emeritus Professor, University of Birmingham, and Fellow, Judge Business School, University of Cambridge