This conference will be on the theme of ‘The New Face of American Capitalism and Its Impact on the World’. The conference will be open to everybody and there will be a nominal £5 registration fee so that undergraduates can easily attend. Speakers include Amartya Sen, Richard Sennett, George Soros, Robert Skidelsky and Ronald Dworkin. The full programme and registration details can be found at:
While the primary focus of the conference will be on the US, the profound influence which American business practices have had throughout the global economy means that the conference will, we believe, shed light on much that has been happening in Europe and throughout the developing world.
What will be unusual about the conference is that it will be held in honour of the New York Review of Books, and the editorship of Robert Silvers and the late Barbara Epstein, joint editors of the Review for forty three years. The New York Review has been achieving the highest standards of literary and journalistic excellence so consistently and for so long that its easy to take its achievement for granted. So we felt that, particularly following the very sad news of Barbara Epstein’s death last summer, this was a good time to honour the Review and through it, Silvers and Epstein. Robert Silvers, editor of the Review, and Rea Hederman, its publisher, will be attending the conference.
The unique position that the New York Review of Books has created for itself in the United States and throughout the world has enabled us to put together an unusual conference, and a distinguished panel of speakers. We think the conference will command considerable attention, and can affirm the role of progressive values in illuminating some of the critical and complex issues now facing us. For example, is the growth of economic inequality, especially marked in the US and the UK, an inevitable consequence of globalization, and a price that has to be paid for strong growth and low unemployment in economies increasingly drive by technological innovation ?
Does the ‘flexible’ labor market of the new American economy sufficiently respect the dignity of employees and if not, is there a role for fiscal, legal and regulatory reform in changing this ? What is the role of educational reform in providing better career and earning opportunities and better lives generally, for middle and lower income Americans? How can corporate executives be made more accountable to their stakeholders, and especially their employees ? And finally, is there any longer a European or indeed Asian variant of capitalism and if so, does the US have anything to learn from it?
The purpose of the conference is to bring together some of the most powerful intellects in the English speaking world and have them discuss these topics with the clarity, boldness and originality which, as editors, Bob Silvers and Barbara Epstein have consistently achieved in the pages of the New York Review of Books over the past forty four years. With this in mind we’ve deliberately avoided trying to channel the conference agenda within narrow policy limits, and we’re encouraging the speakers to spread their wings. We’ve also given the conference a strongly interdisciplinary bent with not only economists, but also historians, sociologists, political scientists, philosophers, but also a politician and a distinguished practicing capitalist. We hope to open new perspectives.
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