"Run of the Red Queen" by Breznitz and Murphree in the News

May 9, 2011 | Georgia Tech

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  • Run of the Red Queen

  • Column in The Economist

  • Reuters Special Report on Innovation in China

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Marilu Suarez
The Sam Nunn School of International Affairs
Contact Marilu Suarez
404-894-3195

"Run of the Red Queen: Government, Innovation, Globalization, and Economic Growth in China" - a recent book by Associate Professor Dan Breznitz and MSIA Student Michael Murphree - praised and recognized through various news sources.

Abstract: Few observers are unimpressed by the economic ambition of China or by the nation's remarkable rate of growth. But what does the future hold? This meticulously researched book closely examines the strengths and weaknesses of the Chinese economic system to discover where the nation may be headed and what the Chinese experience reveals about emerging market economies. The authors find that contrary to popular belief, cutting edge innovation is not a prerequisite for sustained economic vitality—and that China is a perfect case in point.

The Economist devoted its special column about Innovation (Schumepeter) to the new book Danny Breznitz and Michael Murphree (MSIA and soon-to-be Ph.D. student) just published. Read COLUMN.

Beware of judging China's innovation engine by the standards of Silicon Valley. China's continued economic progress depends on mastering the art of mould-breaking innovation. President Hu Jintao intones that the "capacity for independent innovation" is the "core of our national development strategy". Sceptics agree with his premise, but scoff that innovation and autocracy do not mix. So long as China remains a dictatorship, it will be trapped in a world of mass production and routine assembly, they say. One scholar, Cong Cao, argues that the country faces a future of "premature senility".

The column proceeds to explain that China is investing and exploring ways of Innovation...

"Yet China's lack of originality matters less than you may think, believe Dan Breznitz and Michael Murphree of the Georgia Institute of Technology. In a new book, "Run of the Red Queen", they argue that it is wrong to equate innovation solely with the invention of breakthrough products. In an emerging economy, other forms of innovation can yield bigger dividends. One is "process innovation": the relentless improvement of factories and distribution systems. Another is "product innovation": the adaptation of existing goods to China’s unique requirements.

Reuters published a special report on Innovation in China and featured the new book as well. Read SPECIAL REPORT.

"Chinese companies have been doing wonderfully by being on the cusp of the latest available technologies developed elsewhere and then being able to work on it," said Dan Breznitz, a professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology. "It's a strategy that's basically against the central government's push. But those innovation capabilities are probably going to maintain Chinese growth for the next 15 years." That is, added Breznitz, if the Chinese government's thirst for big, state-directed projects doesn't undermine its privately owned companies.

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