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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Does China Do Capitalism Better than America?

On March 13th, Intelligence Squared US held a debate on the motion "China Does Capitalism Better than America." Arguing on behalf of the motion were Orville Schell and Peter Schiff; arguing against it were Ian Bremmer and Minxin Pei. The pairing of Schell and Schiff is an interesting one. Schiff is a libertarian; Schell clearly is not. I suspect that the only thing they agree on is that China does do capitalism better than America. In my opinion, of the four debaters, Bremmer and Schiff were the best. At least I found them the most engaging.

Those attending an Intelligence Squared debate vote before and after the debate, and the winning team is decided by how many minds were changed and in what direction. As always not only can you listen to the debate at the Intelligence Squared website ("China Does Capitalism Better than America"), but you can access transcripts of the debate as well. The debates can also be downloaded from iTunes.

Here's a brief description of the participants (from the Intelligence Squared website):

The former professor and Dean at the University of California, Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism, Orville Schell is the Arthur Ross Director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations at Asia Society in New York. The author of fourteen books, nine of them about China, Schell worked for the Ford Foundation in Indonesia, covered the war in Indochina as a journalist, and has traveled widely in China since the mid-70s. He is a Fellow at the Weatherhead East Asian Institute at Columbia University, a Senior Fellow at the Annenberg School of Communications at USC and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Schell was a Fellow at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism and the recipient of many prizes and fellowships, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Overseas Press Club Award, and the Harvard-Stanford Shorenstein Prize in Asian Journalism.

Peter Schiff is CEO & Chief Global Strategist of Euro Pacific Capital. He accurately and publically predicted the bursting of the housing market and the subsequent collapse of the financial sector and the broader U.S. economy. A staple figure in the media, he appears frequently on CNBC, Fox Business, CNN, and Fox News. He is the author of several books, including the bestselling Crash Proof: How to Profit from the Coming Economic Collapse, and an upcoming book, The Real Crash: A Blueprint for a Bankrupt America. Schiff served as an economic advisor to Ron Paul in 2008 and in 2011, launched The Peter Schiff Show, a daily radio talk show.

Ian Bremmer is the founder and president of Eurasia Group, a leading global political risk research and consulting firm providing financial, corporate, and government clients with information and insight on how political developments move markets. Bremmer created Wall Street’s first global political risk index and has authored several books, including the national bestseller, The End of the Free Market, The J Curve and the upcoming, Every Nation for Itself. Bremmer is a contributor for the Financial Times A-List and, writes "The Call" blog on, and is a panelist for CNN International’s "Connect the World.” He has a Ph.D. in political science from Stanford University, and presently teaches at Columbia University.

Minxin Pei is the Tom and Margot Pritzker '72 Professor of Government and the Director of the Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies. Formerly a Senior Associate and Director of the China Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, his research focuses on democratization in developing countries, economic reform and governance in China, and U.S.-China relations. He is the author of From Reform to Revolution: The Demise of Communism in China and the Soviet Union and China’s Trapped Transition: The Limits of Developmental Autocracy. Pei’s research has been published in Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, The National Interest, Modern China, China Quarterly, Journal of Democracy and many edited books. His op-eds have appeared in the Financial Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other major newspapers. Dr. Pei received his MA and PhD in political science from Harvard University.

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