Conference on The Economics of the New Imperialism at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India, 22 - 24 January 2004.

Following upon the World Social Forum events organised at Mumbai, IDEAs organized an international Conference on ‘The Economics of the New Imperialism’ at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi, during 22-24 January, 2004, with the support of the UNDP. The conference, as the title suggested, was to focus on the emergence of ‘new’ imperialism and to analyse the workings of national and international markets in the age of ‘free’ global trade and the dominance of finance. Apart from very eminent economists of the likes of Samir Amin from the ‘Third World Forum’ based in Dakar, Senegal; Korkut Boratav from the Ankara University, Turkey; Prabhat Patnaik from the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, JNU, Utsa Patnaik of the same Centre, William Tabb from the Queens University, New York; Jomo K.S. from the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur and IDEAs Executive Committee Chairman; Terry McKinley from the UNDP; etc., the conference also benefited from the presence of some eminent Indian thinkers such as Prof. Irfan Habib.

The conference was organised around three central sub-themes namely: The Contours of the New Imperialism; Instruments and Mechanisms of Neoliberalism with focus on international trade and international finance; and Current Processes in the International Economy. Thus, in the very first session, papers by Prabhat Patnaik, Samir Amin and Korkut Boratav looked at defining “New Imperialism”. As Prabhat Patnaik captured it very aptly, while imperialism in the sense of a structured relationship of domination and subordination among the capitalist and pre-capitalist economies of the world has been with us since the very beginnings of capitalism, new imperialism was being used in the conference in the sense of a condition and an accompaniment of capitalism.  There are however different phases of imperialism, corresponding to the metamorphoses occurring in the nature of capitalism, each of which has its own specific characteristics. The era of new imperialism is generally associated with the pervasive imposition of neo-liberal economic policies and marked by an unmistakable preference for a deflationary policy, which in turn points to the hegemony of a new form of international finance capital in the contemporary period.  Along this line of thought, there were other papers which looked at the homogenization of financial structures across the world and issues of capital flows and capital flight from the developing world. Other papers focused on international trade as the other major instrument through which new imperialism manifests itself and included topics on commodity terms of trade, multilateral trading system of the WTO, regional trade agreements, etc. Under current processes in the international economy, presentations were made on Africa’s encounter with neoliberalism, the Chinese State’s currency management under US pressure, the Venezuelan state’s resistance against US imperialism, etc.

The conference brought together about sixty economists and social scientists from across the four continents, including: Alicia Puyana from La Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO), Mexico; Madhavan Palat Dean of the School of Social Sciences, JNU; Jimi O. Adesina, Rhodes University, South Africa; Venkatesh Athreya, Professor and Head, Dept. of Economics, Bharathidasan University, Tiruchirapalli (Tamil Nadu); Sheila Bhalla from the Centre for Human Development, New Delhi; Alejandro Bendana from the Centre for International Studies, Managua, Nicaragua, Mumtaz Keklik who is a Policy Advisor, Trade and Investment South & West Asia Sub-Regional Resource Facility (SURF), UNDP, Katmandu, Pat Mooney, Bob Pollin, Rathin Roy, Public Resource Management Advisor, UNDP, New York; Sunanda Sen from the Academy of Third World Studies, Jamila Milia Islamia University in New Delhi; Ravi Srivastava from the Centre for Strategic and Regional Development, JNU, Madhura Swaminathan, Indian Statistical Institute, Calcutta, Todd Tucker from the Centre for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), Washington; Erinc Yeldan fro the Bilkent University Ankara, and Ahmet Dikmen and Galip Yalman from  Turkey; Cui Zhiyuan, Fellow Wissenschaftskolleg Zu Berlin and now Professor Tsinghua University, Beijing; B. Bhattacharyya, Dean of the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, New Delhi; C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh both from the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning (JNU) and IDEAs Executive Board members, Abhijit Sen, Praveen Jha and Subrata Guha from the same Centre, Ashwini Deshpande from the Delhi School of Economics; Murali Kallummal from the Centre for WTO Studies, IIFT, New Delhi; Prasenjit Bose from the Academy of Third World Studies, New Delhi; Parthapratim Pal, Ranja Sengupta and Smitha Francis from IDEAs; among other  academicians from within Delhi.

The following papers were presented at the conference:

  • ‘The Contours of the New Imperialism’ by Samir Amin
  • ‘The New Imperialism’ by Prabhat Patnaik
  • ‘Some Recent Changes in Relatıons Between the Metropoles and the Periphery of the Imperialist System’ by Korkut Boratav
  • ‘Development under the Current Multilateral Trading System: An Oxymoron’ by Mumtaz Keklik
  • ‘Regionalism, Foreign Investment and Control: The New Rules of the Game Outside the WTO’ by Jayati Ghosh
  • ‘Is There Convergence Between North American Free Trade Agreement Partners?’ by Alicia Puyana
  • ‘Capital Management Techniques in Developing Countries’ by Jomo K.S.
  • ‘Capital’s Response to Globalisation: A Comparative Analysis of the Adjustment Patterns of Mark-Ups in Post-Liberalisation Developing Countries’ by Erinc Yeldan
  • ‘Homogenising Financial Structures: The New Instrument of Imperialism’ by C.P. Chandrasekhar
  • ‘The Chinese Response to the US Pressure on RMB Appreciation’ by Cui Zhiyuan
  • ‘Oil State in Revolt: Venezuela and the Fight Against Neo-Liberalism’ by Todd Tucker
  • ‘From Development Crisis to Development Tragedy: Africa’s Encounter with Neoliberalism’ by Jimi O. Adesina
  • ‘Understanding and Challenging Global State Economic Governance’ by William Tabb
  • ‘Economic Policies for Growth and Poverty Reduction: PRSPs, Neo-Liberal Conditionalities and ‘Post-Consensus’ Alternatives’ by Terry McKinley
  • ‘Agrarian Crisis in Developing Countries in the Current Context’ by Abhijit Sen
  • Panel Discussion on ‘Resisting Imperialism Today: Prospects and Challenges’ chaired by Irfan Habib with panelists Samir Amin, Korkut Boratav, Utsa Patnaik, Alicia Puyana, Prabhat Patnaik, Aijaz Ahmad.

Having been held at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), widely known for its intellectual vigour and tradition of student debates, the conference saw widespread and active participation from the students of the University, not just from economics, but covering a wider spectrum of disciplines such as sociology, political science, etc.

Programme Schedule

22 – 24 January, 2004,

School of Social Sciences (SSS-I) Committee Room,

Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi. 

Program

    DAY 1: Thursday 22nd January.

    Venue: Committee Room, School of Social Sciences (SSS)-I, Jawaharlal
Nehru University (JNU).

9.00 – 9.30: Registration

9.30 – Welcome by Jayati Ghosh, Executive Secretary of IDEAs.

   9.45 – 10.00: Conference Opening by Madhavan Palat, Dean, School
of Sciences, JNU.

10.00 – 1.15: Session I

  The Contours of the New Imperialism

             Chairs: Madhavan Palat & Sunanda Sen

(1) Samir Amin – The Contours of the New Imperialism

Discussant: Venkatesh Athreya

(2) Prabhat Patnaik – ‘ The New Imperialism’

Discussant: Jomo K.S.

(3) Korkut Boratav – ‘ Some Recent Changes in Relations
Between the Metropoles and the Periphery of the
Imperialist System’

Discussant: C. P. Chandrasekhar.

 1.15 – 2.30: Lunch Break

2.30 – 5.45: Session II 

  Instruments and Mechanisms of Neoliberalism: International Trade

          Chair: B. Bhattacharyya

        (1) Mumtaz Keklik – ‘Development under the Current
Multilateral Trading

System: An Oxymoron’

Discussant: Smitha Francis

(2) Jayati Ghosh – ‘Regionalism, Foreign Investment and Control:
The New Rules of the Game Outside the WTO’

Discussant: Rathin Roy

(3) Alicia Puyana – ‘Is There Convergence Between
North American Free Trade Agreement Partners?’

Discussant: Subrata Guha

Day II: Friday 23rd January.

10.00 – 1.15: Session I 

  Instruments and Mechanisms of Neoliberalism: International Finance 

             Chair: Ravi Srivastava

(1) Jomo K.S. – Capital Controls

Discussant: Parthapratim Pal

(2) Erinc Yeldan – ‘Capital’s Response to Globalisation:
A Comparative Analysis of the Adjustment Patterns of
Mark-Ups in Post-Liberalisation Developing Countries’

Discussant: Murali Kallummal

(3) C.P. Chandrasekhar – ‘Homogenising Financial Structures:
The New Instrument of Imperialism’

Discussant: Prasenjit Bose

1.15 – 2.30: Lunch Break

2.30 – 5.45: Session II

   Current Processes in the International Economy- I

Chair:

 (1) Cui Zhiyuan – ‘The Chinese Response to the US Pressure on
RMB Appreciation’.

Discussant: Madhura Swaminathan

        (2) Todd Tucker – ‘Oil State in Revolt: Venezuela and the
Fight Against Neo-Liberalism’

Discussant: Praveen Jha

  (3) Jimi O. Adesina – ‘From Development Crisis to
Development Tragedy: Africa’s Encounter with Neoliberalism’

Discussant: Ashwini Deshpande

Day III: Saturday 24th January.

10.00 – 1.15: Session I

   Current Processes in the International Economy- II

Chair: Sheila Bhalla

        (1) William Tabb – ‘Understanding and Challenging Global
State Economic Governance’

Discussant: Atul Sood

    (2) Terry McKinley – ‘Economic Policies for Growth and
Poverty Reduction: PRSPs, Neo-Liberal Conditionalities
and ‘Post-Consensus’ Alternatives’

Discussant: Ranja Sengupta

        (3) Abhijit Sen – Agrarian Crisis in Developing Countries in
the Current Context

Discussant: Korkut Boratav 

1.15 – 2.30: Lunch Break

 2.30 – 5.30:

Panel Discussion on ‘Resisting Imperialism Today: Prospects and   Challenges’ 

Chair: Irfan Habib

Samir Amin, Korkut Boratav, Utsa Patnaik, Alicia Puyana,
Prabhat Patnaik, Aijaz Ahmad.