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Conference "The Nation-State and the World Economy between Two Eras of Globalization, 1913-1975"

Tuesday 14 July - Thursday 16 July 2015, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna (SSSUP), Pisa, Italy.
Conférence organisée par Clara Mattei, BETA & SSSUP (doctorante sous la direction de Claude Diebolt et de Giovanni Dosi) et Nicholas Mulder, Columbia University.

The conference will focus on the dialectic between nation-states and global markets during the long middle of the twentieth century, from the peak of the first era of globalization before the First World War to the end of the Bretton Woods System and the advent of a new wave of financial globalization. Spanning two world wars, the Great Depression, global decolonization and a tremendous thirty-year economic boom, this period is of pivotal importance for understanding today’s economic world. These six tumultuous decades have assumed a central role in modern economic history—among others due to the long-term analysis of Thomas Piketty—as a unique period of high growth, low returns on capital, and declining income inequality.

The conference will focus on the conditions under which nation-states weathered successive crises and transformations of the world economy, pioneering new economic models and techniques of growth, trade, taxation, and redistribution. Was the interwar era of unprecedented crisis necessarily followed by a period of unprecedented prosperity ? If so, does this mean that the gains of the mid-century moment cannot be repeated ? Has the globalization of the last three decades changed the relationship between the nation-state and the world economy, or has it merely continued tendencies that were already apparent before ? And has an excessive focus on the postwar success of the West blinded us to wider global trends in this period ? We welcome papers on all of these questions, as well as on related topics (see below for a list of suggestions).

It is clear at the start of the twenty-first century that the nation-state has not at all departed the historical stage ; indeed, in many ways it has returned with a vengeance, busily expanding its power in new domains. What can we learn about the murky future of the world economy by studying the nation-state’s mid-twentieth-century Golden Age, if there ever was such a thing in the first place ? This is one of the underlying questions that researchers are invited to think about.

We are particularly (but not exclusively) interested in contributions on the following themes :

· Effects of global market forces on domestic political economy : distribution, protectionism, inequality
· International monetary order and political sovereignty
· The emergence of ‘interstitial’ capitalism : capital mobility, tax evasion and offshore assets
· The place of democracy and political representation in the mid-century national economy
· Theories of the world economy and their effect on political practice
· Bringing the economic histories of Asia, Latin America and Africa into the Eurocentric narrative of the interwar period and the post-war ’Golden Age’
· The mid-twentieth century world economy within the longer history of globalization.

Deadlines : Scholars interested in participating are invited to send a paper abstract of no more than 400 words either to Clara Mattei (clara.mattei or Nicholas Mulder (nicholas.mulder by 21 April 2015. Accepted papers will be notified by 1 May. Final drafts of accepted papers are due by 1 July.

Funding, travel and accommodation : Funding to meet the travel expenditures and accommodation costs of accepted speakers will be available. The YSI Economic History Conference will be hosted by the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, and is generously supported by funding from the Banca d’Italia and the Institute for New Economic Thinking.

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