If, God forbid, Ted Fishman should die tomorrow, his epitaph might read, “He saw it coming.” Not death. China. A Highland Park native who once traded on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and now writes primarily about economic issues for Harper’s, Money, Esquire, USA Today, and the New York Times Magazine, Fishman recognized earlier than most that the Middle Kingdom has moved far beyond assembling cross trainers and knocking off DVDs: it’s a giant in expansion mode, on its way to global economic dominance. Which is to say, displacing the United States. Fishman’s 2005 book, China, Inc.: How the Rise of the Next Superpower Challenges America and the World (Scribner), uses a vivid combination of human detail and big numbers to report on the anomalous rise of a communist-capitalist powerhouse and what it means for Americans. In person, Fishman is charming, amusing, and incredibly well-informed. His tales of traveling China at a moment of unprecedented transformation should alone be worth the price of admission to this two-hour event. Reservations are required; lunch is included. Tue 1/31, 11:30 AM, Columbia College Film Row Cinema, 1104 S. Wabash, eighth floor, 312-344-7870, $10

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Alan Thomas.