On Capitalism (2010)

The Engelsberg Seminar 2010

June 3rd to 5th 2010 at Avesta Manor, Sweden

With the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and later Fukuyama’s famous thesis about the “end of history”, many people believed that history had taken a completely new turn towards freedom, liberalism and values of Western Enlightenment. But happiness does not last forever. Today, twenty years after the fall of the Wall, ostalgia is spreading in the media, and critics of the free market are seeing their chances after the dramatic economic developments we have experienced in the stock markets and elsewhere since the summer of 2007. Are we really facing a return to a society governed by planned economies at the global level or is it merely a blip on a curve from the perspective of eternity? What does the future of capitalism look like? Will the successful variety of capitalism from the past few decades that we call globalisation continue or will regional and perhaps even strong national forces gain ground in the international arena on economic matters? In this conference, we will first look back in time and consider the rise of economic man in the anthropological sense. We will follow this development in history through the theories and ideologies that mankind has used to try to control economic impacts and movements in history. We will reflect on the lessons that can be drawn from the recent crisis in intellectual and political terms crisis from a comparative perspective and then shift to speculations about the possibilities, or the impossibility, of corrrecting or preventing financial bubbles. What non-economic factors influence capitalism in its various forms of expression? Weber talked about the Protestant work ethic and the spirit of capitalism, Montesquieu emphasised the importance of climate to our economic activity. Today, when capitalism is advancing in Russia, China, Brazil and India, we consider what importance culture, religion and climate have for the development of capitalism in these countries and what social and political consequences this will have, for instance, in rural parts of India and China. Will we see new environments of Dickensian dimensions develop for instance in Asia? Who will be winners and who will be losers in the future capitalist game: Asia, the US, Europe, or will regions without national agendas step up and form new centres of power? What are the real threats to global capitalism and what social problems do they create? Will there be not just enormous economic growth but also acute poverty and alienation in the wake of global capitalism? What sleeping forces will come to life when traditional patterns of living, culture and religion are challenged by this capitalist wave, what security problems will this development give rise to, and how will the absence of nations as objects of identification affect the identity and self-image of people in the future?


Homo Economicus

Joel Mokyr
Professor, Northwestern University, USA and Eitan Berglas School of Economics
Lecture: Commercial vs. Industrial Capitalism and the Roots of the Modern Economy

Donald Winch
Professor Emeritus, Sussex University
Lecture: Uses and Abuses of the History of Economics

Emma Rothschild
Professor, Harvard University
Lecture: On Adam Smith and Globalisation


History of Boom and Bust

Donald Sassoon
Professor, University of London
Lecture: The Anxious Triumph of Capitalism

Edward Chancellor
Investment Manager, Asset Allocation Division GMO
Lecture: The Forgotten Lessons of Financial Crises

Carlota Perez
Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia, and Cambridge University
Lecture: The Advance of Technology in Boom and Bust


The Present State of Capitalism Causes of the Late Crisis

Philip Mirowski
Professor, University of Notre Dame
Lecture: Hunting Scapegoats vs. Clarifying Causes: How to Tell the Difference in the Crisis of 2007-?

Oliver Kamm
Leader Writer, The Times
Lecture: The Crisis of Finance

Johan Norberg
Freelance free-marketer, Author
Lecture: How We are All to Blame


Where We Go From Here

John Kay
Author and Economist, Visiting Professor, London School of Economics
Lecture: On Inefficient Markets

Robert Skidelsky
Professor Emeritus, Warwick University
Lecture: Reflections on the Aftermath of the Shock of 2007-2008

Kevin Hassett
Director of Economic Policy Studies and Senior Fellow at AEI
Lecture: A Bump in the Road


The Rise of China, India and Brazil: The Challenge of Capitalism

Minxin Pei
Professor and Director, Keck Centre for International and Strategic Studies
Lecture: Chinese Features of Capitalism

Nathan Shachar
Foreign Correspondent, Member of the Editorial Board of Axess Magazine
Lecture: Statism or Development: the Brazilian Test Case

Akash Kapur
Author and Journalist, Columnist, The International Herald Tribune
Lecture: India: A Different Kind of Crisis


The Culture of Capitalism

Deirdre McCloskey
Professor, University of Illinois
Lecture: The Virtues of Capitalism – the Sky is Rising, not Falling

Avner Offer
Professor, Oxford University
Lecture: Self Control and The Future of Globalisation


Globalisation and its Discontents

Gerard Baker
Deputy Editor-in-Chief, The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones
Lecture: The Market Lives: Why the Financial Crisis hasn´t Killed Capitalism

Kjell A. Nordström
Dr. of Economy, Stockholm School of Economics
Lecture: Future(s) of Global Capitalism

Geoff Mulgan
Director, Young Foundation
Lecture: What Might Capitalism Evolve into?

Rolf Ekéus
Lecture: On Security Threats to the Global Economy

Erik Berglöf
Chief Economist, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
Lecture: The Great Recession wasn’t so great – or will it be

Wolfgang Münchau
Co-founder and director of Eurointelligence Advisers, and associate editor of the Financial Times
Lecture: The Implications of Crisis in the Eurozone