Yasheng Huang: Does democracy stifle economic growth?

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Yasheng Huang is an economist and professor at MIT, originally from China. He is known for studying and writing about the history of China's economic growth. The speech he gave is depicted clearly in the title: Does democracy stifle economic growth? I thought he was going to give arguments that it does, but the case that he makes is giving evidence to his opinion that democracy is good for economic growth. He describes that the misconception that democracy stifles growth stems from the comparison of India and China, but explains that the two shouldn't be compared. It so happened that China became an economic "super star," and India has much slower growth when compared to China. However, when compared to other emerging economies, India's democratic government helps the country top the list over other authoritarian governments.


I found the content of Yasheng's speech interesting. He talks about a topic that I know very little about, however, it is easy to understand even without background knowledge. He does a good job communicating his points. His intro makes sense and provides an understanding of what the rest of the speech will be about. He gives persuasive points throughout his presentation. Quite a few slides were used that had illustrations and statistics, which made it both more interesting and more believable. There was one point of the speech that I found irrelevant. He gave a couple long examples of how infrastructure doesn't correlate with economic success and I didn't think it helped his case. His closing was a little different than what his original argument was. He made a statement about what he believes China should do, not about what democracy does to an economy.


Yasheng's delivery was mostly good with a few exceptions. His attention grabber at the beginning was good, made me interested to here his arguments. He kept his hands and gestures above his waist. The speech had a nice pace throughout with some good pauses. His voice inflections made sense and came at appropriate times. One downfall was that he kept his hand in his pocket for a decent duration of the speech. Some pauses were missed, which created confusing transitions. I liked the jokes that he made; there were only two or three but they were well timed and funny. He spent the majority of the time looking out into the audience. In my opinion, though, he talked too fast at some points. Overall he was able to keep me engaged and was enthusiastic about his subject.


Although Yasheng Huang was born in China, he has developed a style of presenting mostly similar to traditional western style. The speech had good structure, he used humor and appropriate hand gestures. He gave evidence supporting his case and other than his accent seemed to resemble many other speeches given in the west. I'm sure much of this is due to his role as a professor at MIT.

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This page contains a single entry by hesse136 published on March 31, 2013 10:52 PM.

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