Terms of Reference

 

TOWARDS A SUSTAINABLE WORLD

The Role of Asia and Africa in Global Economy

 

International Seminar

Commemoration of the 55th Anniversary of the 1955 Bandung Asian-African Conference

Yogyakarta, October 25-27, 2010

 

 

PROBLEMATICS

 

Mainstream economic thinking has led to a rather distorted picture of the world with, on the one hand, the official discourse on the virtues of the neo-classically based economic system characterized by growth, prosperity and democracy, and on the other, a stark reality of rising inequalities, social exclusion, poverty, wars, all of which have now been amplified by one of the worst economic crises experienced by the western economies of the world. 

 

Although the concept of ‘sustainable development’ is now part of the official discourse, its integration into daily business life has posed little challenge to an economic system shaped by a few international institutions (such as the WTO and the IMF) and actors. Born in the very core of the capitalist world system, the current economic crisis shows that the Governments of the crisis-hit countries are adamant to maintain the statu quo, by subjugating themselves to the imperative of international finance. The current uncertainty, in relation to the impact of the proffered solutions to the crisis, creates many tensions that could ultimately undermine the current capitalist system and that will certainly strike the socio-economic formations of the South, in Asia, Oceania, Africa and Latin America. It is as if the current capitalist system were less and less capable of circumscribing and managing a level of poverty and social tension that it has itself created. The effects of the crisis, both human and environmental, will be destructive.

 

At a time when Milton Friedman’s doctrine has proceeded without being forcefully challenged, but when the crisis seems nevertheless to open a new vista, it becomes urgent to reflect on the consequences of the workings of the current capitalist system so as to propose a number of viable alternatives. Many solutions proposed by the dominant industrial countries come up against serious limits, since they still aim at avoiding a deeper ‘devalorization’ of capital, without opening the perspective of a better world for all the people of the world, both in the North and in the South. In spite of this, some current experiences are making an inroad, especially in Latin America, and are contributing to enhance the 1955 Bandung spirit. What is the progress already achieved? What are the difficulties to be solved? What are the opportunities to reinforce such anti-systemic alternatives? What types of solidarity between the countries of the South are to be supported? These questions will be investigated by inviting representatives from both academia and private business entities to share their views on the delineation of a new model of capitalistic development centered around a revised notion of ‘sustainable development’. In particular, business representatives will present their view on the changing nature of sustainable development and social responsibility, in the current evolving economic environment. The various sub-themes of the Seminar will encompass also the explanation for the increase in inequalities (in Western, emerging, and developing countries), and the way these inequalities are created and nurtured by the logic of mainstream economic thinking. Another important sub-theme is the evolving role of the State before and since the current crisis. An important objective of mainstream economic thinking has been to minimize the role of the State, whilst at the same time, allowing the State to favor the emergence of large business entities, to the detriment of both small firms and other economic and social actors. From the withdrawal of Keynesianism from Western countries’ economic policies to the current crisis, the State played a major role in depleting the fiscal receipts emanating from corporate taxes, and in creating an ‘optimal business environment’ through the building up of an appropriate infrastructure to attract capital. With the advent of the current crisis, the socialization of (private) losses and the shrinking of the public sector show yet another acute trend in which the State is unquestionably subservient to the objective of a minority of economic actors, namely that of private business organizations in the financial sector and large business organizations.

 

The thematic areas include the following:

- Income distribution and inequality

- the GNH (Gross National Happiness) movement as an alternative model

- business organizations, economic growth and corporate social responsibility

- the evolving role of the State (socialization of private losses; impact of government policy on small firms, another …)
-
alternative experiences of economic development: micro-finance, Islamic finance, micro-economic activities – role of the informal sector, credit unions…

- the economy of sharing in Sub-Saharan Africa

- Buddhist economics, philosophical and theological contributions to a new humanist economic theory.

-South-South Trade and Investment Relationship: Has There Any Significant Progress Since The 1955 AAC?

- The Meaning of the 1955 AAC for Indonesia, especially in economic and social areas.

-The 1955 AAC and the Ongoing Struggle of Poor/Least Developed Countries for Justice and Welfare.

 

Seminar Coordinators

 

Ms Bernadette Andreosso O’Callaghan, France / Ireland — Professor, Doctor, Economist, Euro-Asia Centre, University of Limerick, Ireland.

Ms Hassania Chalbi-Drissi, Morocco / Tunisia — Doctor, Economist and Sociologist; I.G.T.N. (International Gender and Trade Network)-Africa, Tunis, Tunisia.

Ms Nathalie Aubourg, France — Doctor, Management Sciences, Associate Professor, Faculty of International Affairs, University of Le Havre, France; CERENE (Centre d'Etude et de Recherche en économiE et gestioN LogistiquE), University of Le Havre, France.

Mr. Rémy Herrera, France — Doctor, Economist, Researcher, CNRS (National Centre of Scientific Research), Maison des Sciences économiques, University of Paris I Pantheon-Sorbonne, Paris.

Ms Sri Adiningsih, Indonesia — Doctor, Economist, Faculty of Economy, Gadjah Mada University; Centre for Asia-Pacific Studies, Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta.

Mr. Tulus Tambunan, Indonesia — Professor, Doctor, Economist, Faculty of Economy, Trisakti University, Jakarta; Director, Centre of Studies on Industries, Small-scale and Medium Enterprises, and Enterprise Competition, Trisakti University, Jakarta; Editorial Board of several international scientific journals including Journal of Asian Business, African Journal of Business Management, Economic Development and Cultural Change.

 

 

Seminar Co-organising Institutions

 

CERENE

(Centre d'Etude et de Recherche en économiE et gestioN LogistiquE / Economy and Logisctic Management Research and Studies Centre) Université du Havre

25, rue Philippe Lebon BP420, 76057 Le Havre cedex FRANCE

Phone: +33-2 32 74 41 21 http://www.univ-lehavre.fr/recherche/cerene/index.php

 

PSAP

(Pusat Studi Asia-Pasifik / Centre for Asia-Pacific Studies) Universitas Gadjah Mada

Bulaksumur B-13 Yogyakarta 55281 INDONESIA

Phone +62-274-557 845 / 649 1054 Fax +62-274-557 845 http://caps.ugm.ac.id/