Inauguration of NYU Shanghai - Pudong Forum on Economics, Business, and Finance

Oct 27 2014

On October 27, 2014 Peter Blair Henry, Dean of New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business gave the inaugural address, an enlightening and thought-provoking discussion on his book Turnaround: Third World Lessons for First World Growth, at opening of the Shanghai-Pudong Forum on Economics, Business, and Finance.

Throughout Turnaround, which was recently published in Chinese, Henry argues that the secret to success for both emerging and advanced countries is discipline as well as an overarching commitment to growth strategy and economic efficiency.

Using a wide range of examples including the drastic income disparity in Caribbean islands, the “catch up” theory of economics in China, and the struggle to tame inflation in Latin America, Henry illustrated that in many emerging countries, policies tend to be more conservative and controlled.

Henry credited his upbringing in Jamaica for having a strong influence on his economic, business and financial views. During this period in his life, he routinely observed how his grandmother dealt with a woman who repeatedly appeared at the front gate of their house to beg for food.  “Poverty will still be there looking at you, even if you don’t have the courage to return its gaze,” he noted. Henry posited that empowerment is the direct result of teaching people how to help themselves.  He explained how imperative it is for advanced economies to learn from the global growth of emerging economies which have recently surpassed their advanced counterparts in three crucial categories: discipline, clarity, and trust.

“Advanced economies have yet to embrace these common elements,” Henry stated. “It’s time for advanced economies to do what they've been teaching emerging economies to do.”

In fact, many former Third World nations are today’s emerging markets. These nations have achieved dramatic economic change through hard-won reforms and some have even become global leaders in the 21st century. Unfortunately, Henry stated, many advanced economies have gotten off track. Third world nations have turned themselves around by learning and adopting market principles from advanced economies, but those advanced economies aren’t adhering to those lessons themselves. Henry concluded that First World nations must instill more discipline in order to see economic recovery and long-term prosperity. 

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