This is a meme out there that I shall not link to because it is all over the place. All I am going to do is provide my own version of what really happened, which I have posted various versions of which both Mark Thoma and Marginal Revolution have on their lists, but way down low on their threads. And in fact I think most of the serious discussion of this on various venues has been ignorant garbage, including by many of the principals.
So, Bob Solow, Tyler Cowen, and Noah Smith enter a Chinese bar to debate the curious vicissitudes of the current path of the Chinese economy.
Bob orders a Tsingtao beer. He is brought one, but it only fills 13% of his glass. He asks where the residual is. Both Tyler and Noah assure him that they will resolve this mystery, despite the well-known problems with Chinese macro data. He promises to think less about sex, having some decades ago having accused Milton Friedman of spending too much time thinking about M.
Tyler orders hot tea, and proceeds to praise the bar for having a menu that shows the influence of such advanced foreign technological innovations chow mein, chop suey, and egg foo young. Clearly this bar in on to the global trends, even as Tyler notes that they seem to be ignoring traditional provincial cuisines such as Sichuanese and Yunnanese. I mean, yuk. But in any case he did the best he could to praise technogical innovation before he was thrown out and ended up being run over by a driverless tank in Tiananmen Square.
As for Noah, well, this notoriously Japanophiliac was clearly in a difficult location. Of course he ordered sake and sushi. The bartender served him multiply spiked mao tais along with large plates of chop suey. Before he passed out he declared that what the Chinese should do is to build many more breweries mildly adjusted from the original German-modeled plant so that Bob could have as much good "Chinese" beer as he might choose to consume.
PS: The original post by Dietz Vollrath is here. For what it is worth Vollrath sides with Noah against Tyler mostly.