Works of “Keynes of China“ Li Yining Published in English
Peking University, Dec. 12, 2010: Few economists have steered China's development path like Li Yining since his idea of joint-stock reforms guided China to transform itself from a planned to a market economy, a transition captured in his theses published recently in English.
His writings, collected between 1980 and 1998, were recently translated into English and published by Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press.
The collection, entitled "Economic Reform and Development the Chinese Way," features 16 selected theses.
"The book is one of my biggest contributions," said Li, "It can provide reference to two types of countries: countries with a planned economy and developing countries where government plays a bigger role than in a market economy."
As for why the book title uses "Chinese way" rather than "Chinese model," which has already gained some currency, Li said, "model sounds like it is unchangeable and can't keep up with the times, while the Chinese way simply refers to the path that China treads on."
As a member of the Standing Committee of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and Dean Emeritus of PKU Guanghua School of Management, Li is a famous economist in China and a cult figure at Peking University.
Prof. Li has been one of the most influential economists in China since the very beginning of China's transition to a market economy in 1979, said Justin Lin Yifu, Chief Economist and Vice President of the World Bank.
"The articles collected reflect Prof. Li's penetrating analyses of key challenges that China faced at various stages of her transition and his proposed policy options for addressing those challenges," said Lin.
For his advocacy of joint-share reform, he is known to many Chinese as the "Mr. Shareholding" and is sometimes called "the Keynes of China" because the joint-share reform transformed China as much as the work of the British economist, John Maynard Keynes, transformed Western economic ideas.
"This collection is a rare opportunity for the outside world to understand how the economist thinks and impacts China's policy making and success of the gradual approach to the transition," said Lin.
As for China's future path in the next 30 years, Li said,"there should be three priorities. First, the urban-rural dual economic structure should be reformed; second, the state-owned enterprises' monopoly should end, otherwise the SOE's reform will not be thorough; third, speed up the building of a social security system in which the difficulty is the integration of the urban and rural systems."
Li is not just a towering figure in economics, but also an accomplished poet who has been writing poems for more than half a century. The energetic 80-year-old also loves to cook in his spare time.
Li has been devoted to teaching for 55 years. On Nov. 27, 2010, a seminar on "Economic Theories and the Chinese Way" was held in Peking University Hall, and it was also a ceremony to recognize Li's 80th birthday and 55th year teaching.
Extended Reading: 55 Years’ Devotion to Economics and Education
Edited by: Bi Mingxin