The Rise and Fall of the EASTVIEW EVENT DETAILS
Yasheng Huang in Conversation
From ancient times through the present, Chinese society has been shaped by the interplay of the EAST — exams, autocracy, stability, and technology. From the Sui dynasty’s introduction of the civil service exam, known as Keju, in 587 CE to the various successor tools used by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) today, Chinese autocracies have developed exceptional tools for homogenizing ideas, norms, and practices.
However, this uniformity came with a huge downside: stifled creativity. China’s most prosperous period — such as the Tang dynasty (618–907) and the reformist CCP Era —occurred when the emphasis on the size of bureaucracy was balanced with diversity of ideas. Xi Jinping has reverted China to its long-standing commitment to uniformity, which has potentially detrimental consequences for China's economic growth and stability.
Join Yasheng Huang to discuss his new book The Rise and Fall of the EAST: How Exams, Autocracy, Stability, and Technology Brought China Success, and Why They Might Lead to Its Decline, a look at how China transitioned from dynamism to extreme stagnation after the Keju was instituted, as well as what lessons these historical trends hold for China's current trajectory. The discussion will be moderated by Orville Schell and will be followed by a book signing.
Yasheng Huang is the Epoch Foundation Professor of International Management and Faculty Director of Action Learning at the MIT Sloan School of Management. Between 2013 and 2017, he served as an Associate Dean in charge of MIT Sloan’s global partnership programs and its action learning initiatives. His previous appointments include faculty positions at the University of Michigan and at Harvard Business School. At MIT Sloan, Huang founded and directs China Lab and India Lab, which have provided low-cost consulting services to more than 360 small and medium enterprises in China and India. Between 2015 and 2018, he ran a program in Yunnan province to train women entrepreneurs (funded by Goldman Sachs Foundation). He has held or received prestigious fellowships, such as the National Fellowship at Stanford University and the Social Science Research Council-MacArthur Fellowship.
Orville Schell (moderator) is Vice President and Arthur Ross Director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations at the Asia Society, and a former dean of the University of California, Berkeley, Graduate School of Journalism. Schell is the author of fifteen books, ten of them about China, and a contributor to numerous edited volumes, including The New Yorker, the Atlantic, The New York Times, The Nation, and The New York Review of Books. His most recent book My Old Home: A Novel of Exile, was published in 2021. Schell worked for the Ford Foundation in Indonesia, covered the war in Indochina as a journalist, and has traveled widely in China since the mid-‘70s.