Prof. Tao Gives First Lecture to Class of 2023 New Students


On the morning of September 12, Prof. Tao Yitao, Director of China Center for Special Economic Zone Research (CCSEZR), Shenzhen University (SZU), Leader of the First-level Discipline of Theoretical Economics of SZU, and President of the Belt and Road Research Institute (Shenzhen) for International Cooperation and Development (BRRI), was invited to give the first lecture to class of 2023 new students from the College of Economics SZU, and the topic of her speech was “How to spend your time in college”.
Prof. Tao first congratulated the students for their admission to the College of Economics Shenzhen University with excellent scores. She pointed that this college has always been known for admitting students with the highest scores in SZU. She said that not every student will necessarily become an economist after graduation, but she hoped that every student can think like an economist. The process of our growth is actually a process of cost-benefit choices and trade-offs. The way to find a path of growth with low cost and high income is a process of learning and self-awareness enhancement for everyone. American economist Paul Samuelson once said, “Knowing economics may not make you a millionaire, but not knowing economics will surely make you a loser.”
Prof. Tao said that three things should be done well in college, namely “Learning knowledge, the way to learn knowledge, and learning to love”. She believes that learning knowledge is the duty of every student, whether he/she is an undergraduate, or graduate student because college is the place to learn knowledge. Learning knowledge starts with extensive reading because knowledge can always be comprehended by analogy. A good economist must first be a philosopher, a historian, a writer, a logician, and then a real economist. In this sense, students should read more books that are optional, and fewer books that have to be read. During the four years of college life, it would be unwise to only read or not read books specific to the field of your major. The real rewards in college may lie beyond specialized knowledge.
Prof. Tao believes that knowing the way to learn knowledge is sometimes more important than learning knowledge itself. That is because our brain should not be a container to be filled, but a torch to be lit. Methodology is the key to light it. Knowing the way to read so that you can harvest ideas from reading; and knowing the way to analyze problems so that you can find ways to explain reality with knowledge. Although methodology is a means rather than a purpose, everything is inseparable from methodology, just like the world is inseparable from orders. Karl Marx has a famous saying in his book “Capital: Critique of Political Economy” that “The problem and the means of solution arise simultaneously.” But the premise is to have the accumulation of methodology because a problem is not necessarily in every case or for anyone to facilitate or bring about the generation of the means of solution. Learning, development and training of a good methodology will benefit every student in their whole life.
Prof. Tao believes that learning to love is an important part of college life. Students should learn to love themselves and others and be grateful for everything around them. Having a good philosophy of how to behave towards others is mutually supportive of having a wide range of knowledge. Confucius’ philosophy of “All living things can grow in harmony without hurting one another, and different ways can run in parallel without interfering with one another” and behavior principle of “Now the man of perfect virtue, wishing to be established himself, seeks also to establish others; wishing to be enlarged himself, he seeks also to enlarge others” are not something other than knowledge, but knowledge itself. It is an immutable truth to have a good morality before doing things because a person’s achievements will never be higher than his morality and quality. Cultivation of students with ideals, morality, spirit, and responsibility is the foundation and goal of a college or university. The motto of “self-reliance, self-discipline, self-improvement” of Shenzhen University embodies the ancient precept of “perseverance and great virtue”.
At the end of the speech, Prof. Tao concluded: “I believe that, after four years of college life, all students will not only grow in knowledge, but also in ability; not only gain a degree, but also a friendship; and not only have an improvement in academic quality, but also in morality and spirit.” She also wished all the students to be creative and imaginative to enter the campus with passion and enter society with achievements, and to be a person with ideals, beliefs, and commitment.

Representative of the new students of the College of Economics presenting a bouquet to Prof. Tao