FEPS Next Left and Policy Network conference

Following the previous exchange with the scholars of the North-East Universities of Harvard Law School […]
Speakers

02 - 03/07/2012
00:00:00 - 00:00:00

Following the previous exchange with the scholars of the North-East Universities of Harvard Law School and Brown University, FEPS together with Policy Network are proud and thrilled to reengage in a new chapter of the transatlantic debate about the future of progressivism. The event, which will take place in Nuffield College, will gather 60 outstanding academics, senior politicians and strategic thinkers from both sides of the Atlantic, who during those two exciting days will deliberate on issues such as: historical legacy of liberalism social democracy and the perspective for their future; democracy and trust in politics; challenge of market capitalism – between politics, economy and finance; the politics of redistributions – wealth, power and life chances; rhetoric and reality – the crisis as a paradigm shift. Each day will feature 4 sessions with academic introductions based on papers submitted especially for this event, which ideas are then to be commented upon during the round with invited politicians. Among the speakers there are: Douglas Alexander, Tony Atkinson, Sheri Berman, Jared Bernstein, Craig Calhoun, Olaf Cramme, Colin Crouch, Paul De Grauwe, Catherine de Vries, Patrick Diamond, Jeffrey Frieden, Andrew Gamble, Alfred Gusenbauer, Jackob Hacker, Peter A. Hall; Anton Hemerijk, Jane Jenson, Lane Kenworthy, Roger Liddle, Will Marshal, David Milliband, Pippa Norris, Claus Offe, Bruno Palier, Rachel Reeves, Leopold Specht, Ania Skrzypek, Ernst Stetter, Frans Timmermans, Shirley Williams. FEPS will also use this opportunity to promote the latest volume of the Next Left book series “Building New Communities. The Notes from the Transatlantic Dialogue of Dialogues”.

The background of the event:

The American political traditions of progressivism and liberalism have long provided European social democracy with a rich vein of ideas and inspiration: from the progressive-liberal reformism exemplified by Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal and, later, Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society to Bill Clinton and the New Democrat’s centrist fusion of moderate economic conservatism and social liberalism they have served–up restless models for social and economic progress, ideological contestation and political revisionism. The nation’s founding ideals, the civil rights era and the traditions of democratic accountability, civic duty and Republican liberty can all be mentioned in this regard.

Today, however, progressive parties on both sides of the Atlantic appear to be disorientated and rudderless, crucially lacking the ideological and intellectual vitality which underpinned their strength in the post-war political landscape. The US political system is in a state of paralysis and Europe’s centre-left parties have lost 19 out of the 25 elections since the fall of Lehman brothers in 2008. Progressives recognise that neoliberalism proved to be a dead end. But no new variety of capitalism has emerged to fill the void. The crisis has shifted from financial market failure to sovereign debt and on to the practice of politics and democracy: it is the question of the state – its size, its role, its efficiency – and the scale of national debt and deficits that have become the central issues in a period defined by protracted periods of low growth, austerity and squeezed living standards.

Against this backdrop, this high-level conference will explore how American and European centre-left traditions are adapting to 21st century structural constraints and ideological pressures. The circumstance of western capitalist democracies will provide for a compelling comparison of how new doctrines, new concepts and new interpretations might shape the next stages of centre-left political thought and whether they afford the possibility of a paradigm shift beyond neoliberalism. Through a rigorous series of papers and presentations participants will analyze the extent to which these historic traditions are converging or diverging in key policy areas and provide a critical platform for ideas and debate.

Sessions will be held on: (1) The next centre-left century; (2) Government versus governance? (3) Market capitalism after the crash: politics, economics and finance; (4) The new politics of redistribution: wealth, power and life chances; (5) Rhetoric and reality: The crisis as a paradigm shift; (6) A new centre‐left century: Where next for centre‐left politics?

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