Policy Forum

China’s Future Depends on a Free Market for Ideas

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Date and Time
October 6, 2016 12 - 1:30 PM EDT
Hayek Auditorium, Cato Institute

China’s turn to the free market in goods and services has enabled it to achieve high growth and remarkable material progress for decades, but growth in recent years has slowed markedly. Weiying Zhang, one of China’s most influential economists, will explain why the country needs a free market for ideas if it is to become prosperous. Competing viewpoints, scholarship, and faiths are necessary to test out new ideas and for a society to progress. After 2003, however, the Chinese government has stalled reforms and is increasingly restricting the market for ideas. Zhang will draw from ancient through contemporary Chinese history to show how this restriction is jeopardizing China’s future. Ning Wang will explain how the government’s monopoly on ideas is responsible for China’s lack of innovation in science and technology, and is holding back its economy in a world that is becoming increasingly knowledge intensive.

Featuring Weiying Zhang, Professor of Economics, Peking University, and author, The Logic of the Market: An Insider’s View of Chinese Economic Reform (Cato, 2015); with comments by Ning Wang, Senior Fellow, Ronald Coase Institute, and co‐​author, How China Became Capitalist (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012); moderated by Ian Vasquez, Director, Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity, Cato Institute.