Are you interested in or concerned about today’s economic situation? Up for discussions and controversy? Keen to meet like-minded and enthusiastic economists and fellow students? There is a conference for you coming to Maastricht soon! Quick Facts at the bottom!
Think about the global economy for a second. What are its principles? Most countries trade with each other to differing degrees of intensity, all economies are based on the capitalist notion of consumerism, trade and the profit-motive. Even nominally socialist countries like China or Cuba depend on their domestic businesses trading with the rest of the world to ensure their national income. Capitalism has won the Cold War, decisively and completely. Ever since then, it has produced impressive amounts of goods, accompanied by the quantitative improvement of Europe’s and other continents’ living standards. At the same time, the outsourcing of labour to developing countries has produced intense income inequality globally and perpetuated some countries’ abhorrent economic conditions. As Professor Teun Dekker of University College Maastricht points out; “Capitalism is extremely good at allocating resources. And it is extremely bad at fairly distributing them.” As prevalent as it may be, our global economic system has not rid itself completely of scrutiny or scepticism. Its fundamentals are still worth considering and discussion of principles should not be dismissed as irrelevant, given the situations in some parts of the world and even within European economies. Traditionally, it has been the university students’ role to be at the forefront of criticising the status quo.
In this spirit, one student initiative from UCM made the effort to organise a conference on 23 June to talk about these issues. Under the motto ‘Capitalism and Inequality’, the student committee PINE will host guest lecturers and many motivated participants. Over the course of one day, participants will listen to lectures, discuss in workshops and engage in controversial panel debates.
The conference includes distinguished academics like Professor Jo Ritzen, former Dutch Minister for Education and Science, or UCM’s vice-dean Professor Teun Dekker. Everybody is welcomed to join; students, academics and anyone else! People from all over the Netherlands and the region will join and bring with them differing perspectives.
The organisers’ team name PINE stands for ‘Pluralism in Economics’, which essentially means looking at the economy’s problems from multiple disciplines’ perspectives. PINE believes that, in the age of globalisation and thus ever-increasingly complex problems, solutions must be equally multi-facetted. Therefore, participants can choose one of four working tracks that will tackle the global economy’s problems differently. One track follows a Marxist methodology, another looks at globalisation theory, the third puts special focus on emancipation and the fourth on environmental questions. Some tracks will work within the neo-classical, capitalist paradigm, others outside it. The conference does not propagate one political stance itself; rather, PINE wants to open the conversation in Maastricht to include approaches beyond the consensus!
If you care about economics and would like to hear positions that may not be as much represented in Maastricht, then consider signing up for the conference on June 23rd at UCM Maastricht.
23 June 2018. Location at UCM Maastricht. One-day conference. Link: https://www.facebook.com/pineucm/