This interview was published in the December 2015 issue of Man and the Economy journal, founded by Nobel Prize winning economist Ronald Coase. For access to full text, subscription to the journal or payment for the individual article is required.
Holding a PhD in economics from Monash University, Australia, GZ SUN now teaches economics at the University of Macau, Macao Special Administrative Region, China. His research interests are mainly microeconomics and the history of economic thought.
His joint work with collaborators helped establish the theoretical foundation of a literature on endogenous labor specialization. He has also published at times on topics in axiomatization, public choice, theory of the firm, evolutionary economics, etc., and on less-dismal-than-normal topics such as general equilibrium analysis of how large-scale societies of ants self-organize. Among the services he has provided to the scientific community of economists, the commitment he currently takes most seriously is his editorial job at a new journal, Man and the Economy, founded by the late Mr. Ronald H Coase.
His book The Division of Labor in Economics: A History provides, for the first time, a systematic and comprehensive narrative of the history of one central idea in economics, namely the division of labour, over the past two and a half millennia, with special focus on that having occurred in the most recent two and a half centuries. Quite contrary to the widely held belief, the idea has a fascinating biography, much richer than that exemplified by the pin-making story that was popularized by Adam Smith’s classical work published in 1776.