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January 25, 2020

‘Joan Robinson had predicted China would lead world economy in late 20th century’


January 25, 2020

Joan Robinson, one of the well-known female economists, after her first two visits to China in 1953 and 1957, had predicted that China would lead the world’s economy in the late 20th century.

She had paid eight visits to China from the early ‘50s to the late ‘70s – 1963, 1964, 1967, 1972, 1975 and finally 1978. Joan Robinson had a different point of view as compared to other economists of her time and had taken an interest in the development of China.

These views were expressed by senior economist, writer and speaker Dr Pervez Tahir on Friday. Dr Tahir is the author of ‘Making Sense of Joan Robinson on China’ and was the chief guest at the book-launching ceremony, which was held at the Arts Auditorium, University of Karachi.

The Quality Enhancement Cell of the KU organised the event during which the author shed light on different aspects of Joan Robinson’s personal and professional life and also discussed what she had learned during her visits to India and China.

Dr Tahir said that Joan Robinson had observed that China had made a lot of changes in its political system due to which it was able to progress so well.

He informed the audience about the contributions which she had made in her work on China

and urged students to read the book to understand how country could change them from poor, underprivileged to a developed country.

“Joan Robinson has witnessed poverty in England, India and China and was able to observe industrial development in England and China and was familiar with the power of economics.”

Acting Vice Chancellor Professor Dr Khalid Mahmood Iraqi said that the author, Dr Pervez Tahir, had collected published and unpublished writing and work of Joan Robinson in the book. He said that China has surprised the whole world by eradicating poverty and used its massive population so wisely that they were now a new economic superpower of the world.

He further said that the Pakistani government should study the business model China used for its development but not necessarily copy-paste it because every country had to design, establish or implement a business model according to its ground realities.

Prof Iraqi mentioned that the government should create more jobs and make policies to boost the agricultural sector and industries of the country; otherwise, we would not be able to eradicate poverty from the country.

He observed that we could increase our foreign reserves by bringing reforms to the business sector and by adopting policies which helped us in completing with the foreign markets. “China has challenged different theories and models of business and its success is remarkable.”

Renowned industrialist Mirza Ikhtiar Baig talked about business development with China and said that since January 1, 2020, Pakistan had been sending more than 300 products to different Chinese markets and this duty-free export would help in strengthening the country’s economy.

He shared that due to the cost-production issue China was planning to shift various industries to Pakistan, which would open the doors of employment and opportunity to the transfer of knowledge and technology.

Baig said that in the past Europe and the US established their industries in China and made a huge investment to boost their businesses and now China wanted to utilise cheap labour available in Pakistan.

He observed that China would be able to avoid high labour rate issues if they shifted their industries to Pakistan.

Another speaker, Arshad Zaman, said that China had faced civil war and revolution, but owing to the great leadership and determination of the Chinese nation they were now one of the economic superpowers of the world.

Renewed artist Muhammad Aslam Sheikh said that we have to learn how China has eradicated poverty and how it has used the latest technology in its development.

China without and doubt has surprisingly changed its economy in just 50 years. A researcher and journalist, Sohaib Jamali, said that the creation of new jobs and giving more opportunities to the people was something Pakistani governments should learn and implement in the


Executive Director Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research Karamat Ali observed that people in governments often forget about the problems faced by the public, but Dr Pervez Tahir is none of them because he always talks about the common man’s issues and wants to solve them.

A senior faculty member, Professor Dr Jamil Hasan Kazmi, urged students to read books and observed that universities should also discuss such topics so that students, young scholars and researchers could learn from the experts.

Chairperson Department of Economics Professor Dr Roohi Ahmed, and the Dean Faculty of Arts and Scoial Sciences, Professor Dr Nasreen Aslam Shah, also spoke on this occasion.