» Archive for: July, 2013

irene van staverenIrene van Staveren, Professor of Pluralist Development Economics and Professor of Economics and Christian Ethics, named as one of the best 25 articles published in the Review of Political Economy over the past quarter century:

Irene Van Staveren (2007) Beyond Utilitarianism and Deontology: Ethics in Economics, Review of Political Economy, 19:1, 21-35

The complete list will be published in the October 2013 issue of ROPE. The full list of 25 Years of Review of Political Economy here

Got the article here




Howard Nicholas, Senior Lecturer in Economics gave a lecture on the real causes of the crisis at CREA.


Howard Nicholas first described how the current crisis has evolved, since the start in 2007. He did this with the help of graphs and statistics that you can find  in the slideshow to illustrate his talk.


You can find the audio files of his lecture here.



Parallel Sessions:


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Coffee Break:















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Lunch Time Meeting:

Aleksandr Buzgalin, International Moscow Economic Forum.



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Volunteers at work

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Plenary I: Political Economy, Activism and Alternative Economic Strategies in Europe

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Conference dinner at Strandpaviljeon Escubelle on the seafront


DSC_0083The paper will show how an introductory economics book, currently being written for  (under) graduate students not majoring in economics, can be both pluralist and gobally  inclusive. The first principle, pluralism, will be shaped through presenting in each  chapter first more general theoretical perspectives and ending with more narrow  theories. The more general perspective will begin with theory-independent concepts,  such as markets, prices, demand, and labour. The theories will range from socioeconomics, to institutional economics, post-Keynesian and structuralism, to neoclassical  economics as a special case under ideal conditions. The second principle, global  inclusiveness, will be shaped through the applications and examples that each chapter  will use. Instead of a US or EU oriented context, the book will relate to countries all over  the world, including developing and emerging economies. For example, the labour  market chapter will go into labour market institutions, policies and statistics from South  Africa, whereas the chapter on financial markets will compare the 1997 Asian financial  crisis with the current US and European one as illustrations.  The paper will argue why and how such a pluralist and inclusive approach is taken and  will give examples from various chapters, micro and macro, of the book-in-process.

Get the draft paper here

IIPPE is International Initiative for Promoting Political Economy Fourth Annual Conference in Political Economy which is taking place from July 9-11, 2013 at International Institute for Social Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Hague, Netherlands


The article looks critically at Piero Sraffa’s theory of price and implied theory of money  against a backdrop of renewed interest in the great economist’s work. The focus is the  theory of price in his Production of Commodities by Means of Commodities. It is argued that  for all its apparent logical (read mathematical) rigour, Sraffa’s explanation of prices (and  implied theory of money) is (are) essentially flawed. The flaws are traced to his concern to  eliminate the labour theory of value from this explanation. It is this concern that causes  Sraffa to make the numerous dubious assumptions and constructs which underpin his explanation of prices and that ultimately brings into question its validity as an explanation of actual price magnitudes and their movement.


Get the draft article here


IIPPE is International Initiative for Promoting Political Economy Fourth Annual Conference in Political Economy which is taking place from July 9-11, 2013 at International Institute for Social Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Hague, Netherlands


This article attempts to critically review existing literature on the existence and nature of business cycles, particularly in developing countries context with a view to highlighting its deficiencies and suggesting methodologies for their analysis. The justification for this focus is the renewed interest in business cycle analysis and the relative dearth of studies of these aspects of cycle analyses, particularly in developing countries. The arguments that I would like to advance in this paper are two-fold. Firstly, existing studies of cycles in general, and developing countries in particular, do not pay adequate attention to the issue of their existence or non-existence. Of particular note is in this regard is the absence of studies which consider why cycles exist in some countries and not others. In fact, the majority of studies simply select developing countries where cycles can be assumed to exist and then apply standard methodologies used in the context of advanced countries to test for existence. Secondly, most studies tend to ignore the causes of cycles when analyzing the nature of business cycles in developing countries, or, worse still, implicitly assume these causes to be random exogenous shocks. There seems to be no recognition that the nature of cycles will very much depend on their causes.


Get the draft article here

IIPPE is International Initiative for Promoting Political Economy Fourth Annual Conference in Political Economy which is taking place from July 9-11, 2013 at International Institute for Social Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Hague, Netherlands

LogoInternational Initiative for Promoting Political Economy

Fourth Annual Conference in Political Economy

“Political Economy, Activism and Alternative Economic Strategies”
July 9-11, 2013

International Institute for Social Studies, The Hague, Netherlands


The financial crisis revealed its first signs over five years ago, on August 9, 2007, when BNP Paribus suspended payment on three of its funds. It has since morphed into the deepest US and then world economic crisis since the Great Depression. The “green shoots” of recovery of some Third World economies, that the IMF had acclaimed in 2010, had withered within a year. By 2012 it was admitted that the “world recovery had stalled”, as even the handful of large, better-performing, developing economies slowed. But, ever upbeat except when imposing adjustment, the IMF predicts not only an improved 2013 but continual yearly growth over the following four years as well.

Yet, the world’s largest economy remains stuck. While even the weak economic growth in the USA looks good by comparison with Europe, measured unemployment remains around 8%. Home loss, homelessness, poverty and hunger remain at their highest levels in decades. Nor is there a prospect of a recovery across Europe. The northern economies, and especially Germany, that until now have performed better in the core- periphery division of the continent, have stagnated, inevitable perhaps given the prolonged implosion of the economies of their most important foreign customers. There is a particularly severe crisis of youth unemployment. And the stagnation of the economies of the First World has caused a sharp slowing of growth in their BRIC counterparts and the few other better-performing Third World economies that the recovery Pollyannas had projected for several years as the engines that would drive the world rebound. Popular discontent has manifested itself in varieties of ways, from the Arab Spring to the renewal of Latin American left radicalism. In the global North, it has erupted in the form of the movements of the Indignados in Spain, Occupy Wall Street in the USA, and popular resistance in Greece. Whilst the Greek political system has been transformed beyond recognition but without resolution of the ongoing economic and political crisis, action in the rest of the North has appeared to have limited lifespan and effects, even with polls showing very high dissatisfaction with the current economic and political situation. It is striking how no broadly supported political movements have arisen, successfully promoting and engaging in a struggle for alternative economic policies. And, in their absence, finance has slowly , if not rapidly, and surely restored its economic, political and ideological hegemony over everything from our daily lives to our longer-term prospects, from the environment to our social and economic prospects.

The ongoing economic and political crises place two related questions on history’s agenda. In the face of the dismal failure of the continuing, mostly overt neoliberal policies to resolve the deep problems, what alternative economic strategies should be pursued? And a more radical form of that same question, are alternative economic structures and an entirely different system of economic structures and practices necessary? The second question is concerns the sorts of actions that must be engaged to move the political process on to a path of alternative outcomes, from mild reforms to major transformation (and the connection between the two).

The 2013 Annual Conference of IIPPE will focus on these questions. In doing so, it will need to acknowledge: the breadth and depth of discontent and the more or less spontaneous protest and conflict against the consequences of the crisis; how struggles have been conditioned by the crisis and the failure to resolve it without either determining their form and strength, their diversity and their complex dependence on non-economic factors; and the lack of strength, unity and coherence of oppositions and posing of alternatives. In this light, the conference will bring together scholars from all strands of political economy and heterodox economics, in seeking to engage debate with political parties and other progressive organisations in order to explain the incidence of struggles and how they might best be supported in bringing about broader, deeper and more unified responses to the crisis. In particular, it will be necessary to interrogate how continuing general conceptualisations, such as financialisation and neoliberalism, can (or cannot) be put to these purposes, when set against the diverse experiences of, and response to, the crisis.

Conference registration:

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Welcome address by Peter van Bergeijk, Professor of International/Macroeconomics and head of the Economics of Development and Emerging Markets (EDEM) research programme





Vote of thanks by Dimitris Milonakis, Professor of Economics, University of Crete, IIPPE Interim Coordinator




Practical information by Susan Newman, ISS, Erasmus University, the Netherlands




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Conference participants at ISS (Aula)

Peter_SpeechThis conference on “Political Economy, Activism and Alternative Economic Strategies” is timely. Many doubt the validity of traditional economic recipes. All around the word popular movements are expressing discontent with unemployment, austerity and unequal burden sharing. Discontent is not a bad thing. Indeed, discontent is necessary for progress. It is difficult to get change without discontent. So let’s find out where discontent brings us during this conference.

A recurring topic in the conference is the impact and consequences of the financial crisis of 2008, the great recession, the on-going European debt crisis, the crisis of
Capitalism and the crisis of orthodox economic thought. While some see these crises as individual crises that can be solved one by one, I would argue that a concerted effort is needed to understand these manifestations of the Big One. I expect that the perspectives at this conference constitute such a concerted effort.

Our institute, the Institute of Social Studies or ISS is a natural home for this year’s annual conference of the International Initiative for Promoting Political Economy. ISS scholars have historically, and continued to be, engaged not only in academic progress but also in translating societal relevant social research into action, impact and policy. Most ISS academics play key roles in social movements, advocacy and policy making, Moreover, ISS has a strong tradition in the fields of political economy and pluralist economic thought crossing borders and bridging divides between disciplines, mainstreams and heterodox alternatives. One keynote session on the relationship between scholarship and activism this afternoon with Susan George and Bridget O Laughlin is organised by ISS. I also invite you to enjoy this afternoon the panel “Transforming Activisms Post-2010” that draws from an initiative of ISS academics

At this three-day conference we welcome 250 researchers from over 30 countries and from 6 continents. On top of 66 panels there will be plenary sessions on Political Economy, Activism and Alternative Economic Strategies in Europe and Outside. Most important yesterday the conference was preceded with a one day summer school on Marxist Political Economy which had over 65 participants. That is important because it signals that a new generation of researchers is very much interested in the ideas of IIPPE. It is also evident in the large numbers of PhD researchers presenting at the conference. I also find it very encouraging that this conference shows that this is in particular the case for researchers from the Hague. 18 ISS people will be presenting in the panel sessions (13 staff members and 5 PhD students)

The participation of this conference reflects shifts in the constellation of power across the globe. The geoeconomics are changing rapidly due to the rise of the BRIICS (Brazil, Russia, India, Indonesia, China and South-Africa) and other emerging economies. These shifts will ultimately offer the new perspectives that challenge the mainstream in many respects. It is not the challenge that matters. It is the perspective that there are other ways to actually solve the crisis. As I said before: discontent is necessary for change. In times like this and at conferences as this it becomes clear that change is vital. But discontent is not sufficient for change. That is why this conference addresses this theme in the context of activism. Let’s move forward!

I look forward to the conference and wish you fruitful discussions.

International Institute of Social Studies

Economics of Development (ECD) is a Major in the MA in Development Studies. This blog provides a platform for discussion for researchers, students and others interested in this field of studies. The blog is administered by the ECD teaching team.