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Professor Zeng Xiangquan Made a Speech on Capital in the Twenty-First Century
On November 11, School of Labor and Human Resources (SLHR) held the first lecture of the “Classic Reading” series. Professor Zeng Xiangquan, Director of CIER and Dean of SLHR analyzed Capital in the Twenty-First Century and led students discussed current academic topics. Party Secretary Tang Kuang, Deputy Dean Liu Erduo, other professors, undergraduate students of the class of 2013, and some students and professors participated in the lecture. 

Professor Zeng Xiangquan introduced the main content of Capital in the Twenty-First Century wrote by Thomas Piketty and discussed his understanding with students. He pointed out the book has generated heated discussion in eastern and western countries. Nobel prize winner, American economist Paul Krugman praised that it was “the most important economic work in the year”. The former editor-in-chief of Economist Clive Crook showed doubt on the horror of future economic disparity forecasted in the book. SLHR recommended this book to the class of 2013 and encouraged students to form their own understanding and improve the ability of research.
Professor Zeng Xiangquan believed that income allocation has become the hot topics worldwide. In the book, Thomas Piketty mainly criticized the reversed U hypothesis of Kuznets. The author drew the conclusion from statistical data of several countries: the main reason why the income disparity decreased during 2910-1950 was the two world wars and the related policy transformation. And the increase of income disparity after 1980s was mainly the result of the return of retention system of capitalism. The increasing inequality made lower-middle class’s purchasing power became lower and lower, which usually came with economic crisis or financial crisis from historical experience.

Professor Zeng Xiangquan pointed out that the issue of income disparity in China was also a serious problem and suggested that students independently think and seek to solve problems such as “how to deal with the relationship of equality and efficiency” and “how to invest in human capital as early as possible”. He analyzed the current income allocation situation and pointed out that the income gap in China has been to the highest level in the history and education has been contributing more and more to income inequality. Due to several reasons, the contribution rate of labor has been decreasing in economic development, which may lead to middle-income trap according to report of the World Bank. In the future more attention need to be paid to the long-term development of economy and society. It is necessary to comprehensively promote the rule of law and simultaneously improve beginning justice, process justice and result justice. More need to be done on tax, salary, education and labor market establishment to build a fair competition environment.
After the lecture, Professor Zeng Xiangquan exchanged ideas with students.

The lecture was one of the “Classic Reading” series and aimed to cultivate students’ good reading habits and interests, and improve students’ ability of independent study, group study and research, which will lay the foundation of future academic and career development. In the meantime, the lecture was also the theoretic training of student party members.
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