Lessons of History: The Rise and Fall of Technology in Chinese History

Lessons of History: The Rise and Fall of Technology in Chinese History

Thursday, September 28, 2023
4:30 PM - 6:30 PM

Green Library, Bing Wing, 5th floor, Bender Room

  • Yasheng Huang, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

2023 Dr. Sam-Chung Hsieh Memorial Lecture
Date & Time: Thursday, September 28, 2023     |    4:30 - 6:30 PM PT 
Location: Green Library, Bing Wing, 5th floor, Bender Room

Lessons of History: The Rise and Fall of Technology in Chinese History 

Stanford Libraries and the Stanford Center on China’s Economy and Institutions are pleased to present the 2023 Dr. Sam-Chung Hsieh Memorial Lecture featuring Professor Yasheng Huang who will be speaking on Lessons of History: The Rise and Fall of Technology in Chinese History.

China was once the most technologically advanced civilization in the world. Ancient Chinese achievements in technology are simply staggering. China led Europe in metallurgy, ship construction, navigation techniques, and many other fields, often by several centuries. The Chinese also invented gunpowder, paper, the water clock, the moveable printing press, and other consequential technologies way ahead of the West. For example, the Chinese invented the seismograph 1,700 years before the French.

But China’s technological development stalled, stagnated, and eventually collapsed and its early technological leadership did not set the country on a modernization path. This lecture examines the factors behind the rise and the fall of Chinese historical technology and draws lessons for today’s China.

Watch the Recorded Lecture

About the Speaker 

Yasheng Huang headshot.

Professor Yasheng Huang is the International Program Professor in Chinese Economy and Business and a professor of global economics and management at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Huang founded and runs China Lab and India Lab, which aim to help entrepreneurs in these countries improve their management skills. He is an expert source on international business, political economy, and international management. In collaboration with other scholars, Dr. Huang is conducting research on human capital formation in China and India, entrepreneurship, and ethnic and labor-intensive foreign direct investment (FDI). Prior to MIT Sloan, he held faculty positions at the University of Michigan and at Harvard Business School. Huang also served as a consultant to the World Bank.

The family of Dr. Sam-Chung Hsieh donated his personal archive to the Stanford Libraries' Special Collections and endowed the Dr. Sam-Chung Hsieh Memorial Lecture series to honor his legacy and to inspire future generations. Dr. Sam-Chung Hsieh (1919-2004) was former Governor of the Central Bank in Taiwan. During his tenure, he was responsible for the world's largest foreign exchange reserves, and was widely recognized for achieving stability and economic growth. In his long and distinguished career as economist and development specialist, he held key positions in multilateral institutions including the Asian Development Bank, where as founding Director, he was instrumental in advancing the green revolution and in the transformation of rural Asia. Read more about Dr. Hsieh.

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