On Friday 21st, December 2018, Professor Deepanshu Mohan, Assistant Professor of Economics and Executive Director at the Centre for New Economics Studies, O.P. Jindal Global University visited Paragon International University and offered students a lecture related to two of his research topics. The first was regarding China’s debt and its impacts on the global economic system while the second was related to Cambodian entrepreneurs in the informal sector.
In the first topic, Prof. Mohan asserted that China’s rising debt could be a potential threat to regional and global economies. However, he stressed that China could still continue its robust economic growth even after the 2008-2009 global financial crisis because both private and public sectors keep increasing their credits so that China can attract investments and support infrastructure development. However, growth from rising debt is like a bubble that stands a chance of breaking. If the bubble of growth breaks it does not only impact the Chinese economy but the global economy too as the burden of the debt crisis could put pressure on other countries in Asia and Europe. Those countries rely on China’s foreign direct investment, as well as assistance and loans through projects such as the One Belt One Road Initiative. As evident, a reduction by 1% of Chinese economic growth leads to a 1% decrease of the economic growth in trading hub countries like Hong Kong and Singapore. It also leads to a reduction by 0.4-0.5% in countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.
In his second topic, Prof. Mohan discussed the large number of Cambodian entrepreneurs in the informal sector, known as the Invisible Entrepreneur. Those entrepreneurs are small entrepreneurs in careers such as taxi drivers, vehicle-repair service, food, accommodation, domestic helpers, street vendors, etc. The International Labor Organization reported in 2016 that out of 7.2 million employed people in Cambodia, there were 81.2% working in the informal sector without social protections such as bank savings, unemployment insurance and healthcare insurance. The term “Invisible Entrepreneurs” is also due to the fact that those entrepreneurs are often missing from the government’s data. According to a 2013 report by the National Institute of Statistics, out of 505,134 business establishments, there were 41,771 businesses which operated on the street side.
At the end of his lecture, Dr. Mohan offered ZamanU students opportunities to ask questions and debate his arguments. Being curious, some students asked critical and insightful questions about the two topics. In closing, the students thanked Prof. Mohan for his contribution to their knowledge.