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Taking stock of global change

by E+Z/D+C

In brief

Who has benefited most from trade liberalisation, and to what extent has this global trend helped to reduce poverty? Will populist movements in North America and Europe undermine the comparatively open global system and thwart efforts to improve global governance? What impact will the Sustainable Development Goals have? Scholars will discuss these important matters at a conference in Bergen, Norway, from 21 August to 23 August 2017.

The topic of the conference will be: “Globalisation at the crossroads: rethinking inequalities and boundaries.” The call for papers and panels is online: The deadline for submitting abstracts of papers is 16 January 2017; an interest in panels must be expressed at the latest on 17 October 2016.

The conference's background is that the world has changed dramatically in the past 30 years. The Soviet-dominated Eastern bloc has collapsed, China and India have opened up their economies, and for a while, it seemed as though capitalism and democracy were the answer to all problems. The American scholar Francis Fukuyama even spoke of “the end of history”. Nonetheless, environmental problems were evidently becoming ever more pressing back then, and in 1992, the international community adopted the notion of sustainable development, pledging to fight climate change and stem the loss of biodiversity. So far, success has been limited on both fronts.

In the meantime, western confidence has been dwindling, not least because of the global financial crisis of 2007/2008 which resulted from market failure in the USA. Today, the financial sector’s share in national economies often looks excessive. Populist movement, moreover, are casting doubt on the west’s commitment to a liberal world order.

The goal of the conference in Norway is to assess these issues. It will be hosted by the University of Bergen in cooperation with EADI (the European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes) and NFU (the Norwegian Association of Development Research). It will be EADI’s general conference, which is held every third year. At the same time, it will serve as the Nordic Development Conference, a biannual series that is run by Scandinavian research associations. 


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