TUESDAY

Ted Fishman’s China, Inc. is sure to scare the bejesus out of Americans: Fishman pretty much argues that in a decade or two, China is going to own our ass in the world economy, driven by its 1.3 billion people, loads of foreign investment, and a healthy disrespect for intellectual-property law. Fishman posits that by undercutting the developed world on labor costs and skipping out on fees to license advanced technologies, China will produce increasingly high-quality goods cheaply and in mass quantities. And Fishman knows from capitalism. A philosophy major at Princeton, he quit a law-firm job in New York to become the purest sort of capitalist: a floor trader in currency, cattle, and equities at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. It’s a job with a hard-boiled, working-class reputation; a fellow trader who was trying to finish his GED once “laughed his head off” when he found out that Fishman had graduated from Princeton, straining to understand why the kid wasn’t off making money some easier way. Fishman, now 46, was a trader from 1985 to 1992, then segued into freelance writing. He researched China, Inc. over almost two years, squeezing in two long trips to China as well as visits to other countries whose economies have felt its impact. With the help of a translator, he met with everyone from antique vendors to business titans. “My days began at 7 a.m. and sometimes ended at 2 a.m.,” he recalled in a recent interview. “I did extensive research with a drink in my hand. It was a go-go-go experience. That’s the way China is today.” Fishman speaks at 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 14, at Borders, 1801 K St. NW. Free. (202) 466-4999. (Louis Jacobson)