Posted: October 30, 2008
With financial markets and economies around the globe in turmoil, economic scholars meeting at Mount Holyoke College November 14-16 will discuss how market forces can be harnessed along with state action to effect positive programs of economic growth in emerging and low-income economies.
Sponsored by the College's economics department, the conference, Markets as Means or Master? "New-Developmentalism" vs. Neoliberalism, will bring together leading scholars in the field and explore key issues in international development.
Since the early 1980s, neoliberalism, an economic approach favoring free market capitalism, has been the dominant approach in development economics. Although critiques of it have been persistent, they are based on many different perspectives and have not yet coalesced into a recognizable alternative framework. The main objective of the Mount Holyoke conference and the subsequent publication of the proceedings will be to define and articulate such an alternative approach and to project it onto the academic landscape.
"The roller coaster ride that the world financial markets have been on in recent months makes the issues we will discuss at the conference more relevant than ever," said economics professor Jens Christiansen, the conference coorganizer. "In short, it is unlikely that we can we look to the models of capitalism in the developed world to play a positive role in emerging and low-income economies."
The conference will open 7:30 pm Friday, November 14, in Gamble Auditorium. Keynote speaker Robert Wade, an internationally recognized scholar and author, will discuss why the prevailing approach to development strategy (variously called neoliberalism, the Washington Consensus, or the globalization consensus) needs rethinking of its assumptions about the role of the market and the state. He will suggest that we need a developmental state as an agent for governing the market and thus enabling sustained and sustainable development.
Wade is professor of political economy at the London School of Economics and the 2008 recipient of the prestigious Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought. His research focuses on globalization, growth, poverty, and wealth distribution; multilateral economic organizations (including the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and WTO); industrial policy; and the links between the financial system and the "real" economy. All these are central issues for the conference.
Twelve other leading development economists will present papers at the conference and participate in roundtable discussions Saturday and Sunday morning. These discussions will also involve Five College scholars and Mount Holyoke students who are currently enrolled in a seminar on advanced topics in economic development taught by visiting professor of economics Shahrukh Rafi Khan, the other coorganizer of the conference.
The conference is free and open to the public and will take place at various locations around the South Hadley campus.