Book News: DR Show Podcast, 'Economist' Review, Live Chat Text

By James Fallows
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As mentioned earlier, soon I'll have a standalone page on our site for info related to my new book China Airborne. For the moment, I'm putting it here.

1) Diane Rehm show podcast. I enjoyed being on Diane Rehm's show two days ago, and the podcast of that hour is here.

2) Economist review. Given my somewhat stormy relationship with the Economist over the decades, I was grateful for a very fair and generous-toned review in the magazine yesterday. Its one point of criticism may reflect a misunderstanding. The magazine's reviewer suggest that I go too far in using aerospace success as a proxy for China's larger maturity and sophistication. Eg:

After all, Switzerland and Costa Rica became robust democracies with flourishing economies without developing jet engines. And the Soviet Union managed a world-class space programme, yet was an economic and political basket case.

My point is a little different. Not every fully mature, high-value economy will have an important aerospace component. Reasons of scale, or history, or comparative advantage can make this unrealistic or undesirable. South Korea is better example of that point, or Australia, than Switzerland, since Switzerland in fact plays a significant role in world aerospace, as do many other European countries. Rather I was arguing the proposition from the other end: if a country decides, as China clearly has, that it wants to be a player in modern commercial aviation, success in that realm depends on a variety of traits that the Chinese economy has yet to display. (I also explain why a space program, like the old Soviet Union's, is "easier" for a country like China to pull off than entering the Boeing/Airbus league.)

Still, my thanks to whoever wrote the review.

3) Yesterday I did an hour-long "live chat" on the Atlantic's site. The transcript is here. Thanks to all for questions. My main discovery: typing as fast as you can for an hour wears out your fingers, and pretty much drains out your brain.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/05/book-news-dr-show-podcast-economist-review-live-chat-text/257095/