Call for Papers : World Economics Association Online Conference 15th October to 30th November, 2018.

The 2008 Economic Crisis Ten Years On: In Retrospect, Context, and Prospect

Call for Papers

The 2008 economic crisis, which often is appraised only as a “financial crisis”, has in fact acquired a manifold character involving the socio-economic structures at worldwide level. Indeed, the crisis was triggered in the financial sector ─ in particular, with the crisis of the subprime mortgage market in the US, which ended up in a general banking crisis and the bankruptcy among many other institutions, and of the investment bank Lehman Brothers. But at the same time this event marked the culmination of a long-term trend of financialisation of the economic system, which gained more impetus with the neo-liberal shift of the 1980s.

Many studies, starting from Hyman Minsky’s seminal contributions on the effects of “financialisation” on the instability of the system, have investigated a number of imbalances that help to explain the widespread character of the crisis. After the bail-outs aimed at stabilising the financial markets, mainly between 2008 and 2011, it has been increasingly clear that deep structural and intertwined problems overwhelm the economic, political and social scenarios. Among them, we can highlight the following ones:

  • growing disparities of income between persons and economic areas, often accompanied by severe forms of poverty,
  • inflated financial markets, low investment trends and changes in the patterns of production and employment,
  • environmental unsustainability of the current way of production and consumption,
  • increasing unemployment, mainly among the youth, in the context of the adoption of disruptive technological innovations,
  • growing risks in the worldwide geopolitical contexts with a resurgence of massive migrations, xenophobia and armed conflicts.

This Conference addresses the fact that, after 10 years, structural problems are still present and waiting for policy responses. As a matter of fact, the policies addressing the crisis have rarely gone beyond “emergency measures”, such as bank recapitalisation, debt consolidation, and various forms of “quantitative easing”, sometimes accompanied by moderately expansive fiscal policies. These measures, while having the merit of avoiding a complete collapse (like that of the 1929 crisis) and allowing a slight recovery in some cases, are far from solving the structural aspects of the crisis.

With this background consideration, this Conference seeks to investigate into the challenges of economic theory and policy applications. In particular, this conference’s guiding question is how to render objectives of full employment, social justice, environmental sustainability, scientific and technological progress more compatible with each other.

Main Tracks

We welcome contributions aimed at casting light on the manifold aspects of the 2008 global crisis and how to address them in policy action. These contributions can be both theoretical and empirical, focusing on retrospective, contextual and prospective dimensions.

The main tracks include, but are not limited to, the following intertwined topics:

  1. The financialisation of the economy
    • Main economic and institutional features of the financialisation of capitalist economies
    • The relations between financialisation and economic crisis
    • Finance and changes in the pattern of production and employment
    • Indebtedness and consumption of middle-lower classes of incomes
    • The role of central banks’ and treasuries’ policies and of relevant supranational institutions like IMF, WTO and World Bank
    • The debate on secular stagnation, underconsumption, and on the growing importance of the “immaterial side” of consumption
    • The contradictions of The Affluent Society and their role in the emergence of economic crisis.
  2. Investment and global competition
    • Investment flows in the context of global value chains and the role of transnational corporations
    • The role of global trade competition in investment and innovation strategies
    • Trends in investment strategies and labor-saving technologies
    • The new mercantilism: nation states and competition for business
    • The fiscal war and global investments
  3. Employment and working conditions
    • The global labor marketplace: offshoring, outsourcing, crowdsourcing.
    • Working conditions and unequal income distribution
    • Disruptive technologies and technological unemployment
    • Policies to fix the problem of technological unemployment
  4. Social, economic and political imbalances
    • Global economic imbalances
    • Income and wealth inequalities
    • Concentration of economic, financial and political power
    • Environmental unsustainability and the notion of circular economy
    • New massive migration trends
  5. Institutional challenges and alternatives
    • Economic, social and cultural trends at national and supranational level
    • Policies to foster an equitable and sustainable economy
    • Alternative institutional frameworks at national and supranational level.

Relevant information