Episode 7

Chinese Economy: Mounting Debt, Deeper Headaches

Released on February 12, 2020


China’s economy is facing its biggest challenges for years as growth slows and debt piled up. How worried should we be? This episode, Andrew is joined by Stephen Roach (@SSRoachUSChina), former Chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia and Senior Fellow at Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs; and Dinny McMahon (@DinnyMcMahon), author of the book China’s Great Wall of Debt, which chronicles the country’s growing debt problem. A note to listeners - this episode was recorded before the true scale of the coronavirus outbreak was revealed.

Stephen Roach

Stephen Roach is a Senior Fellow at Yale University’s Jackson Institute of Global Affairs and a Senior Lecturer at Yale’s School of Management. He was formerly Chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia and the firm’s Chief Economist for the bulk of his 30-year career at Morgan Stanley. His writing and research addresses globalization, trade policy, the post-crisis policy architecture, and the capital markets implications of global imbalances. He has authored numerous books, including Unbalanced: The Codependency of America and China and The Next Asia: Opportunities and Challenges for a New Globalization. Prior to joining Morgan Stanley in 1982, Mr. Roach served on the research staff of the Federal Reserve Board and was also a research fellow at the Brookings Institution. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from New York University.

Dinny McMahon

Dinny McMahon is a journalist and author, known for his book China's Great Wall of Debt: Shadow Banks, Ghost Cities, Massive Loans, and the End of the Chinese Miracle. He spent ten years as a financial journalist in China, including six years in Beijing at The Wall Street Journal, and four years with Dow Jones Newswires in Shanghai, where he also contributed to the Far Eastern Economic Review. In 2015, he left China and The Wall Street Journal to take up a fellowship at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. He is also a Nonresident Associate at the Think Tank of the Paulson Institute. He holds a Bcom. and a B.A. from the University of New South Wales in Sydney. He also attended the Johns Hopkins SAIS program in Nanjing for Chinese and American Studies.


China’s Great Wall of Debt: Shadow Banks, Ghost Cities, Massive Loans and the End of the Chinese Miracle

By Dinny McMahon
China's Great Wall of Debt is a penetrating examination of the country's opaque financial system and the complex factors that have brought the country to the brink of crisis. Anchored by stories of China's cities and its people, the narrative takes readers inside the country's ghost cities, zombie companies, and regulatory institutions as it explains how things got so bad, why fixing the problems is so hard, and what the economic outlook means for China and for the rest of us.
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