The Monk Debates: China
I am seeing, as I am sure you are, an ever increasing amount of media coverage on China's ability to sustain its growth in the face of what many are concerned about. This is evidenced by much-discussed China inflation, possible over-building, reduced growth rates, and so on - all in circumstances where many believe continued and successful economic recovery in both the developed and developing countries is dependent on the continued successful economic growth of China.
On June 17, 2011, The Munk Debates sponsored a debate "Be it Resolved, The 21st Century Will Belong To China" which I believe to be very much on point and timely. The Munk Debates were initiated a few years ago by Peter Munk (Barrick Gold) and his wife. In this debate Niall Ferguson and David Daokui Li argued for the affirmative, and Henry Kissinger and Fareed Zakaria argued for the negative. You can watch the debate, follow-up interaction among the debaters, and a question and answer session. In order to watch, you will need to pay $10 to join The Munk Debates as a Premium Member. The debate, and follow-up interaction and questions, lasted about 90 minutes and was attended by a live audience of 2,800 along with being watched live on the internet by many thousands.
If you participate in the equity markets as an investor, are an investment advisor or otherwise involved in the investment business, are a public or private company director or executive, or just interested in learning about the evolving geo-political world, I say you absolutely 'owe it to yourself' to commit the time to watch, listen to, and think carefully about what you will hear from the four internationally acclaimed debaters. I will go so far as to say that I believe anyone who falls into one of the categories I have listed is very foolish not to commit the time and spend $10 and watch this debate.
My views on the debaters:
• Henry Kissinger at age 88 is worth many multiples the price of admission;
• Niall Ferguson is not only a great debater, but I think a seriously historically detailed and good thinker;
• Fareed Zakaria is glib, articulate, but not as convincing in his arguments as the others; and,
• David Daokui Li brings a very balanced, thoughtful, dignified, and at times 'useful forcefulness' to the points he makes. I think his comments, based on his knowledge and heritage, need to be heard and thought about by all of us in 'the West'.
For anyone who does not recognize all of the debaters or their respective backgrounds, the following are brief biographies of the four debaters:
• Niall Ferguson is Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard and William Ziegler Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. He is also a Senior Research Fellow at Jesus College, Oxford, and a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University
• David Daokui Li is the Director of the Center for China in the World Economy at the Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management in Beijing. He currently teaches courses on economic transition, corporate finance, international economics, and China's economy. Professor Li holds a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard, and is one of three academic members of the monetary policy committee of the central bank of China. Li is delegate to the Beijing People's Congress and a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Committee.
• Henry Kissinger was the 56th Secretary of State of the United States from 1973 to 1977. He is one of the world's most influential commentators on geopolitics. Among his many accomplishments as a public servant Dr. Kissinger has been credited for normalizing relations between the United States and China at a crucial juncture in the history of both countries. Dr. Kissinger recently wrote 'On China', a book that canvassed the geopolitical history of China, and sets out Dr. Kissinger's views on China's future. The book, published earlier this year, is receiving wide acclaim. I am in the process of reading that book, and will be writing a book review on it that I plan to include in an upcoming e-mail; and,
• Fareed Zakaria is host of CNN's flagship international affairs program - Fareed Zakaria GPS, and the Editor-at-Large of TIME. He is the author of the internationally bestselling books The Future of Freedom and The Post American World. He was described by Esquire Magazine as "the most influential foreign policy adviser of his generation."