My guest for the 24th episode of the Hale Report is Elizabeth C. Economy. We first met while she was Director of Asia Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. On leave from the Hoover Institution at Stanford, she now serves as Senior Advisor for China to the Secretary of Commerce. Everyone who follows China follows Liz Economy. She has become one of the most listened to voices in her field in the Biden Administration.
Dr Economy is an amazingly prolific and prescient writer. In the River Runs Black in 2011 to give just one example, she was one of the first China watchers to write about China’s environmental degradation. Her newest book, The World According to China, is equally pathbreaking. Her thesis is that China under Xi Jinping has a new vision of how it wishes to project itself on the world stage, and we need to correctly interpret their plans in order to formulate effective US foreign and trade policy. Her most recent article in Foreign Affairs, Xi Jinping’s New World Order has been widely quoted and discussed. I highly recommend both.
We spoke on a host of topics, from US-China relations to the Olympics to China’s zero Covid policy. “In a system of performative rather than electoral accountability, a perceived failure in pandemic management could result in a governance crisis” she says in her book. China is not out of the pandemic woods yet; please subscribe to hear CFR’s Yanzhong Huang on this topic next week.
She disagreed with my previous guest John Mearsheimer’s criticism of the US response to the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989. I hadn’t realized before that she began her career as a Soviet specialist, before pivoting to China Studies at Stanford.
I told Liz I was delighted to promote the work of the US Department of Commerce where she now works because it literally changed my life. I was focused on Japan after graduation, but in 1979 Maryavis Bokol at their Chicago office suggested that China was the next big thing and I had better get there as soon as I could. She arranged my first trip on a mission with the States of Illinois and Arkansas to Hainan Island. I am forever grateful to her and the Foreign Commercial Service, a huge support to US businesses abroad.
This Super Bowl weekend, I am reminded of a second reason to be grateful to the Commerce Department. David Hughes, serendipitiously assigned to their Chicago office and fluent in Chinese, called me up one afternoon in 1986 and suggested that I buy the rights to the Bears/Patriots Super Bowl telecast in China from the NFL. I thought someone else must have done it, but they hadn’t. I bought the rights for $200 and produced the first NFL telecast in Chinese for China Central Television. Full story is below for fellow (American) football fans.
Books by Elizabeth Economy
October 25, 2021
In this compelling book, Elizabeth Economy reveals China’s ambitious new strategy to reclaim the country’s past glory and reshape the geostrategic landscape in dramatic new ways.
September 2, 2019
In The Third Revolution, eminent China scholar Elizabeth C. Economy provides an incisive look at the transformative changes underway in China today.
August 15, 2010
In The River Runs Black, Elizabeth C. Economy examines China's growing environmental crisis and its implications for the country's future development.
Elizabeth Economy in the Media
January 22, 2022 / Washington Post
Book review by Dexter Roberts, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Asia Security Initiative. on Elizabeth Economy’s latest book, The World According to China.
January 20, 2022 / The Philadelphia Inquirer
Elizabeth Economy's new book, The World According to China, describes Xi Jinping's military and economic coercion, which is echoed by Russia's threat to Ukraine.
January 10, 2022/ CNN
Hoover Institution fellow Elizabeth Economy discusses what China's priorities might be in 2022.
December 21, 2021 / Princeton Economics
This paper shows that as trade slowed between the U.S. and China, bystander countries found new trade opportunities that resulted in a global export growth of 3 percent.
January 31, 2022 /Twitter
January 28, 2022 / NPR
China's ambassador to the United States issued a warning: The U.S. could face military conflict with China over the future status of Taiwan.
January 28, 2022 / ChinaFile
The 2022 Olympics will not be as significant as the 2008 Games for China.
The Super Bowl in China
February 6, 2016/ Yahoo News
The story of the first Super Bowl broadcast in China. Audience was estimated at 300 million people.
January 26, 1987 / New York Times
February 10, 2022 / The Economist
Are we simply getting more and more used to taking risks?
Enjoy your weekend—this week promises to offer both the thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat.
With all best wishes,
Lyric Hughes Hale