George Lihui Tian: Youth must remain confident in the face of challenges and blaze new trails

DATE: 2023-04-27

George Lihui Tian: Youth must remain confident in the face of challenges and have the courage to bla

The following is a summary of George Lihui Tian's comments made during a panel discussion at the Fifth Conference of Government and Economics held at Tsinghua University, Beijing, on April 22, 2022. Dr. Tian is the Vice President of Guangxi University and Dean of Nankai University's Institute of Finance and Development.


On April 27, 2023, the Fifth Annual Conference of Government and Economics, co-hosted by the Society for the Analysis of Government and Economics (SAGE) along with Tsinghua University's School of Social Sciences and the Academic Center for Chinese Economic Practice and Thinking (ACCEPT), was broadcasted online. George Lihui Tian, the Vice President of Guangxi University and Dean of Nankai University's Institute of Finance and Development, joined SAGE Co-President and ACCEPT Director David Daokui Li and a panel of distinguished guests for a roundtable discussion after the conclusion of opening remarks and keynote speeches.


George Lihui Tian outlined three major concerns he has about the future of the economy. First, he referred to the potential for market excesses. In an era of rapid  advances in science and technology such as our own, there is often a small number of companies whose businesses first take off with the support of debt financing, and permitting they are left to their own devices to continue developing at breakneck speed, capital will continue to flow in as the company uses more and more leverage to expand its scale and expected profits, which eventually ends up in its failure and bankruptcy. Thus, if one is to bring an end to this phenomenon, one needs to consult the insights laid out in the discipline of government and economics.The second concern is with government overreach. Governments are indispensable and natural participants in the market economy—playing the roles of both an athlete and the referee. While the market economy and the planned economy stand in opposition to one another, the government itself need not be incompatible with the former. However, if the government attempts to undertake and get involved in anything and everything, this will simply be a return to the planned economy that characterized economic models of the past. The third concern is with  youth disengagement. In our era of revolutionary advances in science and technology, young people should continue striving to make advances in knowledge, promote the development of China, and contribute to changing the world for the better. In the face of the impacts from ongoing transformations, we must counteract the inclination towards 'neijuan' (involution) and 'neihao' (internal friction), remain confident, modest and calm in the face of challenges, while putting in the necessary effort and having the courage to innovate and blaze new trails.


In returning to the question of the relationship between the government and the market, Tian suggested that the fundamental problem is to give due regard to the study of mechanisms. For instance: 1) What is the role of the government in the real and virtual economies? 2) How can we prevent and punish violations of laws, regulations and rules by market entities? 3) How can we encourage a greater focus on the economics of education, incorporating into all levels of schooling the best practices from the highest caliber education models around the world and mobilizing the initiative of the government to this end? And finally: 4) How should we go about designing other mechanisms such as incentives and supervisory systems? Consequently, he is of the firm belief that researchers should position themselves at the leading edge and contribute new ways of thinking to solve current problems.

Society for the Analysis of Government and Economics
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