On Wednesday 5th March, the latest in our series of Topic events was held, to tie in with the launch of Cities. The talk was by Professor Peter Nolan, an expert on Chinese affairs who lectures at the Judge Institute of Management in Cambridge University as well as doing consulting work for (among others) the Chinese Government and the Coca-Cola corporation.
The talk was on the subject 'China at the Crossroads' (broadening out from Peter's original subject of Shanghai) and was extremely well-attended and well-received. Peter was introduced by Topic Editor in Chief David Haskell, and then began his talk. While recognising the immense strides China has made since the 1970s, he highlighted eight key challenges facing the Chinese state in the immediate future. These were its 800 million impoverished rural labourers, the weakness of the financial system, loss of state capacity through non-payment of taxes, the need to mollify the US, the problem of floating the Chinese currency, the dependent nature of China's economy as regards the West, ecological problems caused by massive pollution and finally the psychological impact of the massive changes in Chinese society, especially the one-child policy. His conclusion was that China should remain on its current pragmatic and cautious path towards development.
After the talk there were drinks and food, kindly provided by the Judge Institute.
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