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2010: The Future of Capitalism

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 the values of Western Enlightenment. But happiness does not last forever. Today, twenty years after the fall of the Wall, nostalgia is spreading in the media, and many communists 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 simply 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 from a comparative perspective and then shift to speculations about the possibilities, or the impossibility, of correcting 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 in 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, India, 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?


Joel Mokyr: Commercial vs. Industrial Capi­talism and the Roots of the Modern Economy

Professor, Northwestern University, USA, and Eitan Berglas School of Economics, Israel

Donald Winch: Uses and Abuses of the History of Economics

Professor Emeritus, Sussex University, UK

Emma Rothschild: On Adam Smith and Globalisation

Professor, Harvard University, USA

Donald Sassoon: The Anxious Triumph of Capitalism

Professor, University of London, UK

Edward Chancellor: The Forgotten Lesson of Financial Crises

Investment Manager, Asset Allocation Division GMO, USA

Carlota Perez: The Advance of Technology in Boom and Bust

Professor of Technology and Socio-Economic Development, Tallinn University of Technology and Visiting Senior Research Fellow, Cambridge University, Estonia/UK

Philip Mirowski: Hunting Scapegoats vs. Clarifying Causes: How to Tell the Difference in the Crisis of 2007

Carl E. Koch Professor of Economics, University of Notre Dame, Illinois, USA

Oliver Kamm: The Crisis of Finance

Editorial Writer, The Times, UK

Johan Norberg: How We are All to Blame

Freelance Free-Marketeer and Author, Sweden

John Kay: On Inefficient Markets

Author and Economist, Visiting Professor, London School of Economics, UK

Robert Skidelsky: Re­flections on the Aftermath of the Shock of 2007–2008

Professor Emeritus, Warwick University, UK

Kevin Hassett: A Bump in the Road

Director of Economic Policy Studies and Senior Fellow at AEI, USA

Minxin Pei: Chinese Features of Capitalism

Professor and Director, Keck Centre for International and Strategic Studies, USA

Nathan Shachar: Statism or Development: the Brazi­lian Test Case

Foreign Correspondent, Member of the Editorial Board of Axess Magazine, Sweden

Deirdre McCloskey: The Virtues of Capitalism – the Sky is Rising, not Falling

Professor, University of Illinois, USA

Avner Offer: Self Control and The Future of Globalisation

Professor, Oxford University, UK

Gerard Baker: The Market Lives: Why the Financial Crisis Hasn’t Killed Capitalism

Deputy Editor-in-Chief, The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones, USA

Kjell A. Nordström: Future(s) of Global Capitalism

Doctor of Economy, Stockholm School of Economics, Sweden

Geoff Mulgan: What might Capitalism Evolve into?

Director, Young Foundation, UK

Rolf Ekéus: On Security Threats to the Global Economy

Ambassador, Sweden

Erik Berglöf: The Great Recession Wasn’t so Great – or Will It Be

Chief Economist, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Sweden

Wolfgang Münchau: The Implications of Crisis in the Eurozone

Co-Founder and Director of Eurointelligence Advisers and Associate Editor of the Financial Times, Belgium