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Past Real World Economics events

A list of past events organized at CREA by Real World Economics (the list is not complete, and does not comprise some of the events we held in other places). This also only lists the originally planned speakers, sometimes in the final version other speakers performed.

11 min leestijd
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#10 October 2011

Successes and Failures against Europe’s Crisis Management

The sovereign debt crisis in Greece, Portugal, Ireland and Spain has been met with an unprecedented level of austerity measures. Under joint political pressures from the European Union and the IMF (spurred on by ‘the markets’), governments are currently implementing harsh social welfare cuts, including cuts in infrastructural programmes and public employment, as well as the privatization of the last remnants of state-owned companies. Social protests against these developments, the politicians and institutions who are perceived responsible have been vocal, ranging from strikes, demonstrations and manifestations, street assemblies and sometimes violence. Even though a few political parties from the left attempted to form coalitions with social grassroots movements, the most visible contestation is still taking place in the streets and not in the parliaments. Alongside the fragmentation of protests however, the chances for a viable counter-political strategy seem to ebb away.

This Real World Economics session focuses on two interlinked set of questions. On the one hand the nature, successes and future challenges for Greek protests against the imposed crisis management by the EU-IMF tandem. What forms has political contestation taken so far, and who has been driving it? How do the Greek protests differ from other contemporary movements, such as for example the Indignados in Spain? Are these protests indeed ‘anti-political’, as many observers have argued, or are they an expression of a new generation challenging established notions of representative democracy and ‘business as usual’ European politics? At the same time, these processes need to be seen against the broader political economy of the current crisis. Are there alternatives to the austerity and privatisation programmes? How could democratically legitimated actors, or grassroots movements, (re)assert an influence on these restructuring measures?

Virginie Mamadouh (human geography, UvA) provides a broader social movement perspective. Dimitris Pavlopoulos (sociology of labour markets, VU) speaks on the Greek situation and provide a political economy analysis of the current situation. Participants in the 15-M movement and the protests in Greece (names tba) offer their own experience with the movements and their consequences and challenges/.

Moderator: Laura Horn (VU). English spoken throughout the evening.


#22 March 2011

Food prices and speculation

The year 2011 started once more with alarming figures on rising prices of basic food commodities. Rising food prices are often disastrous and literally murderous for poor people. Financial deregulation in many ways augments the problem. As a result of the overall deregulation of financial markets, speculation on food commodities continues to prevail. Progressive development organizations demand regulation to stop this. With Rens van Tilburg, researcher at SOMO, and Koert Jansen, Fund manager at Triodos Bank. English spoken.

#28 February 2011

The controversial past and future of the euro

The global economic crisis is far from over. What started with pure conjunctures in early 2010 eventually led to the collapse of Greece and Ireland, two EU member states that have been cut off from financial markets once interest rates skyrocketed. They now depend on ad hoc funding mechanisms provided by the EU and the IMF, under harsh conditions with regard to reducing public spending and government debts. Portugal, Spain, and perhaps Belgium, might be next in line. Whereas previous crisis responses in Europe focused on stabilizing the financial sector, the stabilization of state finances through austerity programs now takes centre-stage. This Real World Economics session discusses the past and the future of the euro. What were the academic and political debates in the 1990s before the launch of the euro? What can we conclude 10 years after the start of this European project? And what are the potential long-term geopolitical consequences of the euro crisis? With dr. Jasper Blom, co-author of The credit crunch: a political-economical perspective (AUP, 2010) and dr. James Sidaway, professor Political geography (AISSR/UvA). English spoken.



# 18 January 2011

Universities and globalization

In this era of globalization, universities are immersed in a sea of profound transformations. Among other changes universities are forced to generate increasing levels of revenue and to adapt their education and research programs to the capricious and changing needs of the market. The Bologna Process has been one of the main causal forces of the neoliberal reconfiguration of universities in Europe. This Real World Economics event explores the causes and nature of these important transformations, as well as its main implications for the role of universities in contemporary society. With dr. Henk Overbeek (VU), dr. Steve Klees (University of Maryland, US) and representatives of the student movement in The Netherlands. The event will be presented by dr. Antoni Verger (UvA). English spoken.


#15 November 2010

Dependency, Oligarchies and the Critique of Neoliberal Economics

This evening is an homage to dr. Alex Fernandez Jilberto, as this year the University of Amsterdam lost an important lecturer and its most prolific writer in the area of international political economy. With roots in (neo-)marxist and dependency theories, his work covered the role of oligarchies in Latin America to business conglomerates in developing countries and transition economies worldwide. With Barbara Hogenboom (Centre for Latin American Research and Documentation, UvA), who wrote Latin America Facing China: South-South Relations beyond the Washington Consensus with Jilberto, Gerd Junne (UvA Dept. of Political Science) and Kwame Nimako (National Institute for the Study of Dutch Slavery and its Legacy). Moderator: Antonio Carmona Baez of Real World Economics. Organised by Real World Economics and CREA.



#7 October 2010

Crisis, debt and wages

An analysis of the current global economic crisis with one of the most renowned ‘crisis-watchers’: prof. Herman Schwartz (University of Virginia,US), author of the book Subprime Nation. American Power, Global Capital, and the Housing Bubble. One of the factors he stresses is the general development of wages and the housing market, which led to a massive increase in household debts since the 1970’s. He is joined by Henk Overbeek, professor of Global Political Economy (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam), specialised in the global economic crisis and the rise of state capitalism, and Rodrigo Fernandez (research group Space and Economy, UvA).



#12 April 2010

Corporate Europe?

How much influence do corporations have on European decision making? The influence of lobbyists at national and EU level is increasingly being challenged by civil society organizations, who call for more transparency. Which implications does the penetration of corporate influence in EU politics have for social, ecological and political developments in the EU and beyond? With Bastiaan van Apeldoorn, UHD International relations (VU) and Ben Hayes (Statewatch), who will present his research on the EU Security-Industrial Complex, NeoConOpticon (TNI and Statewatch, 2009).



# 1 March 2010

Neoliberal city development

I Amsterdam. The Creative City. Topstad Amsterdam. In recent years Amsterdam has tried to promote itself and to attract business with all sorts of slogans. Now that it has become clear that the recent growth of the world economy was one of the largest credit bubbles in history, Real World Economics analyses the process of globalisation and city development for Amsterdam and other cities. With prof. Erik Swyngedouw (University of Manchester), Justus Uitermark (UvA, Erasmus) en Rodrigo Fernandez (UvA).



# 21 December 2009

Straight Towards the Next Crisis?

Has the financial crisis passed, or is the worst maybe still to come? At the end of the year Real World Economics takes the opportunity to look back at the financial crisis of 2009, and try to predict some events in the coming year. In our program in November 2008 economists Howard Nicholas and Rodrigo Fernandez explained the background of the crisis and made some frightening predictions. Now Rodrigo Fernandez (promovendus UvA/AMIDSt) tells us what really happened, and highlight some amazing recent developments in the wondrous world of the financial markets. Peter Waterman tells about the reactions on the crisis by trade unions and social movements. Dutch journalist and sociologist Olav Velthuis, author of Op Naar de Volgende Crisis (‘Onwards to the next crisis’), points at the troubles of the present rulers to solve the causes of the crisis, and at the ideological and cultural aspects of this crisis.


# 2 November 2009

The Financial Crisis – Left Alternatives or Left Out?

What are the left alternative solutions offered for the current financial crisis? The New Green Deal, a programmatic scheme put forward by green parties, appears to be the most coherent alternative proposal at the moment. Has the left missed its window of opportunity to put forward viable alternatives to neoliberal policies? In his introductory lecture, Bob Jessop (University of Lancaster) provides an overview of the different alternatives and responses to the crisis. Christiaan Hogenhuis (Oikos and Platform DSE) outlines the policies underlying the NGD and the Dutch more farfetching variation Fair Green New Deal. Ewout Irrgang is a member of parliament for the SP and explains their strategy so far. English spoken.

# 9 March 2009

Globalisation and Labour Movements: Obstacles and Strategies – i.s.m. XminY

Speakers: Dr Mario Novelli (AMIDst, UvA; co-author of Globalisation, Knowledge and Labour, 2009), Jeroen Merk (International Secretariat Clean Clothes Campaign; has published on the global athletic footwear industry), and Peter Waterman (em. lecturer in Labour Studies Programmas, IIS, The Hague).

The speakers will provide an overview of the different ways the neoliberal globalisation affects workers and labour movements, demonstrate the obstacles faced by workers and labour movements in an increasingly unequal and globalised economy, but also explore the strategies they are developing to act both locally and globally in new and imaginative ways. English spoken.



# 8 December 2008

De mythe van de economische groei – i.s.m. XminY

– Over de schaduwzijden van het groeidenken. Spreker: Bob Goudzwaard (em. hoogleraar Economie, VU). Goudzwaard werd bekend door zijn concept ‘economie van het genoeg’, n.a.v. zijn boek ‘Genoeg van te veel – genoeg van te weinig’;

– Het groeidenken en de derde wereld Spreker: Piet Terhal (em. hoogleraar ontwikkelingseconomie, EUR). Terhal deed ontwikkelingsonderzoek in India en richtte met Jan Tinbergen de Vereniging voor Economie en Vrede op.


# 10 November 2008

Explaining the credit crisis – i.s.m. XminY

Real World Economics (2) – Speakers: Rodrigo Fernandez (research group Space and Economy, UvA), who will talk about the local effects of the credit crisis for Amsterdam. He is an expert in financial markets and the developments of the welfare state under neoliberalism.

and Howard Nicholas (Senior Lecturer in Economics at ISS, The Hague), who will deal with the effects of the credit crisis for the global South. His area of interest is non-neoclassical economics. He has been advising the government of Sri Lanka about economical strategies.


#13 October 2008

Hunger Amidst plenty: Understanding the Global Food Crisis i.s.m. XminY

Real World Economics (1) – Speakers: Max Merbis (Centre for World Food Studies, SOW-VU), Gudrun Muller (Foodfirst Information and Action Network, FIAN) and Roel Jongeneel (Agricultural Economics and Rural Policy Group, University of Wageningen).

The recent rise in world food prices and the sudden scarcity of available food for many poor people in the developing world has taken many economists and academics working in this area by surprise. In a world characterized by a potentially abundant supply of food and in a year of reasonably good harvests, why have we seen scenes that remind us of a tragic past of hunger and destitution in so many developing countries?

The first session of the “Real World Economics” debates addresses precisely this question by analyzing the contradictions of a world facing “Hunger amidst plenty”. Academics and activists will discuss both the underlying causes and the policies that governments and international organisations are proposing to deal with the ongoing crisis. English spoken.