Wednesday, 28 January 2009 4:30pm
Chichester Lecture Theatre
CGPE hosted a public roundtable to examine the causes, consequences and responses to the evolving crisis in the global political economy
Global Political Economy in Crisis: Causes, Consequences, Responses
Abstracts and Documents
'Financial Globalization' and the 'Crisis': A Critical Assessment and 'What Is to be Done'?
Grahame Thompson (Open University)
This contribution examines the three crucial aspects of its title; namely 'financial globalization', the 'crisis' and 'what is to be done?'. The argument is that each of these terms is highly problematic and needs critical attention. The presentation goes on to analyse why the existing explanatory frameworks for the financial crisis are at best partial and at worse wildly inadequate.
Grahame Thompson is Professor of Political Economy at the Open University. Prof. Thompson is best known for his work on 'globalization', where, with his then co-author Paul Hirst, he sketched out a basically sceptical position in the book Globalization in Question. Long term research interests in the nature of network forms of governance and the international system. Currently engaged in researching the fate of the categories of boarders, territories and jurisdictions in debates about globalization, and the meaning of 'global corporate citizenship'. Recent book publications included: Between Hierarchies and Markets: The Logic and Limits of Network Forms of Organization (Oxford University Press, 2003) and Globalization in Question, 3rd edition (Polity Press, 2009).
Crisis Narratives and the Politics of the Credit Crunch
Matthew Watson (University of Warwick)
In this presentation I argue that popular political narratives of the essence of the ongoing economic disjuncture have shifted decisively from a first to a second phase. In the earlier phase, when the word 'subprime' initially entered everyday political vocabulary, the dominant narrative exhibited at least two of the three prerequisites for the successful maintenance of a crisis narrative. It consistently attributed blame to a single source - namely, bank excesses in the mortgage lending bubble of 2002-2006 - and it also consistently emphasised the need for decisive action to prevent such excesses occurring again. It perhaps stopped short of securing the third aspect of a successful crisis narrative - constituting forms of societal common-sense commensurable with structural change in the prevailing model of bank self-regulation - but the potential for doing so remained clear. In the later phase, however, the concept of 'credit crunch' has dislodged assumptions about the malfunctioning of banks' subprime business models in popular constructions of the ongoing economic disjuncture. As a by-product of this shift, the expression of a dominant crisis narrative has been increasingly marginalised. I argue that this is due in large part to the way in which the governmental response to the breakdown in banks' subprime business models has itself defended rather than challenged the basis of bank self-regulation. To my mind, the issue to note in recent interventions to shore up bank liquidity is not the sheer scale of the taxpayer money being made available per se. It is that this has occurred in the absence of concerted attempts to fundamentally reassert public authority over bank regulation. In this respect the third element for sustaining a successful crisis narrative appears to have been effectively pre-empted.
Matthew Watson is Associate Professor (Reader) in International Political Economy at the University of Warwick. His book publications include International Political Economy (co-authored) (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), The Political Economy of International Capital Mobility (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), Foundations of International Political Economy (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005). He has published articles in a wide range of journals, including Economy and Society, Review of International Political Economy, Planning Policy and Practice, Political Quarterly, European Journal of International Relations, Global Society, British Journal of Politics and International Relations, New Political Economy. His New Political Economy article, 'What Makes a Market Economy?', won one of the three Templeton Enterprise Awards given in February 2007 at the Princeton Club in New York for the best article published worldwide in 2005 on the question of humane political economy in an era of globalisation.
The Impact of the Financial Crisis on Developing Countries
Neil McCulloch (IDS)
The debate in rich countries about the impact of the global financial crisis has largely ignored its impact on developing countries. But it is vital that policymakers from both North and South understand how this crisis may impact developing countries and the implications for development policy. This paper presents snapshots of the financial crisis as seen by 21 thinkers, academics and policymakers in 14 developing countries. IDS invited them to present their views on the likely impacts and possible responses to the crisis. Most importantly, results show that developing countries cannot be treated as a homogenous block - concerns vary significantly across countries, depending on their current economic situation, exposure to specific impacts and capacity to respond. Isolation from world financial markets will not protect the poorest countries, as the indirect impacts are likely to be severe.
Financial Crises, Regulatory Failure and the Policy Response
Ray Barrell (NIESR)
Ray Barrell, is Director of Macroeconomic research and Forecasting for the UK and World Economies, Senior Research Fellow at the National Institute of Economic and Social Research. He has taught at the universities of Sussex, Southampton, Stirling and Brunel and worked as an Economic Advisor at HM Treasury. He has worked on the financial market integration, determinants of growth, labour markets, fiscal and monetary policy, the impact of European integration, accession and expansion, and on macro economic modelling. He is currently a visiting professor at Brunel University, and was a visiting Professor of Economics at the Imperial College London, and part-time professor at the European University Institute, Florence. Since arriving at the Institute he has published over a hundred papers in books and academic journals, has authored or edited a number of books and official reports, and has also regularly contributed to the forecast and policy material in the Institute Review. His articles has been published in journals such as the Journal of Common Market Studies, Journal of Policy Modelling, Scottish Journal of Political Economy, National Institute Economic Review, Journal of Financial Stability, Economics Letters, Economic Modelling, European Economic Review, Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Labour Market Trends, Manchester School, Economic Journal, Bank of France Bulletin, German Economic Review, Economics of Transition.
More photos from the roundtable