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Globalisation, Growth and (In)Equality

Conference Outline

The University of Warwick's ESRC Centre for the Study of Globalisation and Regionalisation (CSGR) invites scholars and practitioners to its fifth annual international conference. This international event will focus on how globalisation impinges upon growth and (in)equality.

Inequality in the global order is not simply a division between the so-called North and South. Inequality rests in cleavages within societies as well as between them. Nor is it evident that growth alone resolves these disparities. Instead, aggregate global growth may disguise the lack of growth for some and cultivate myopia towards the persistent problems faced by marginal states and communities. Development is not simply a question of improved growth. Ameliorating conditions of material poverty and socio-political inequalities increasingly focus on ‘capabilities’, ‘empowerment’ and ‘entitlements’ of individuals, communities and nations. Assessing the social, political and economic modalities of inequalities in the context of globalisation is one avenue for re-evaluating the meaning, measures, prospects and quality of growth. It is also a means to understand why globalisation has produced winners and losers.

Paper proposals are invited from scholars across disciplines on the multi-dimensional character of growth and (in)equality in the global order as well as on the theoretical and policy issues which arise. Proposals from economics, political science, law, sociology, geography, social policy and other fields are welcome.

The conference will consider themes including:

  • Has globalisation promoted growth?
  • What has been the quality of that growth?
  • What are the most appropriate criteria or indexes for evaluating growth and inequality?
  • How has globalisation affected structures of inequality?
  • Who bears the costs of global and regional financial crises?
  • What scope does globalisation afford for redistribution?
  • What are the roles of state, market, civil society and global governance in promoting a more equitable globalisation?

Two plenary session will be organised during the course of the conference. Paper panels will be organised around specific streams. Three streams have already been determined. These are:

  • The Global Governance of Inequality and Redistribution
  • Growth, Poverty and Equality
  • UK Global Futures

Further streams will be determined on the basis of paper proposals received.

Stream 1. The Global Governance of Growth and Redistribution

Global pressures on the ‘redistributive state’, the contraction of overseas development assistance and the concentration of growth potential and rewards in OECD countries have contributed to new dimensions of social stratification and widened disparities between the North and South. It has contributed to cleavages within states and to tensions that spill over national borders. Political challenges arise in the search for common ground in policy responses to questions of global equity that are also characterised by conflicts of ideology, faith, race or culture. Post-sovereign governance has prompted the emergence of multi-layered governance structures in the global order. There have been several important consequences in the global and regional order: the privatisation of governance, new forms of regulation, the development of innovative modes of policy delivery in the form of global networks and partnerships. Many questions arise concerning the accountability of these arrangements, issues of access to global public spaces, the marginalisation of alternative voices as well as broader concerns of democracy and representation in the formulation and implementation of policy.

Stream 2. Growth, Poverty and Equality

Should governments pursue economic growth as a primary objective, in anticipation that it will also deliver a reduction in poverty, or does there have to be an explicit focus on poverty reduction as part of the growth strategy? Recent debate on this question has been intense, partly becoming embroiled in broader political controversies on globalisation and the impact of World Bank and IMF programmes on developing economies. There is now some accumulating evidence to suggest that growth and poverty reduction may be correlated. However, the impact of growth varies considerably. Thus, countries with similar incomes and growth performance over the past three decades have achieved widely differing outcomes in education, health and environmental protection. Questions about the quality of growth – in particular, the social, political and economic processes by which growth is achieved – and concerns about the different capacities of social groups and countries to participate and find opportunity in growth, complicate simple assumptions that growth is good for all. A concern for all are finding policies that lead to both growth and poverty reduction? However, it is not just poverty that is the issue, but the distribution of growth. Globalisation has created new winners and new losers, with social and political consequences arising from relative and perceived deprivation.

Stream 3. UK Global Futures

The United Kingdom is affected in at least two ways: firstly, the political economy is subjected to globalisation dynamics; and secondly, the UK government, corporations and other actors search for responses to globalisation dynamics. The DfID White Paper, Eliminating World Poverty: Making Globalisation Work for the Poor is one such response and resulted in a call for international co-operation. However, the globalisation of financial markets, trade liberalisation and the global trend of deregulation are re-shaping, some say undermining, the capacities of the nation-state to respond effectively in areas such as setting interest rate policy. Concurrently, the market power and policy roles of global intermediaries are enhanced. Surveillance of global trends and constructive engagement with global market/policy actors becomes essential to managing the national political economy and ensuring global competitive advantages. Questions that arise are whether the UK can participate in global growth while maintaining social standards that forestall rising inequities. These questions are not only a concern to government but are also confronted by the political parties, numerous non-governmental organisations, think tanks, universities and others. Policy responses for social and economic growth, under conditions of compromised sovereignty, pose new challenges in steering the political economy and meeting guarantees of social equity.

2. Paper Proposals and Support to Paper Presenters

The deadline for paper proposals is 10th September 2001. In addition, we require paper proposals to be submitted in the following manner:

  • a provisional title
  • full name of author(s) and their institutional affiliation
  • clear and accurate details concerning postal address, telephone and fax numbers, along with email address(es).
  • an abstract of 300-500 words
  • abstracts to be submitted electronically to the convenors, or sent via posted disk (preferably in word format) to the conference office

The decision by the organisers of the conference to accept papers, and to which panel they are assigned will be final. The recommended length for completed papers is 7000 – 9000 words. Final drafts will be required in advance of the conference to post on the CSGR website. This will be password protected..

Support will be given to individuals whose paper proposals have been selected for presentation at the conference. For paper presenters accommodation and meals will be covered by CSGR during the course of the conference.

Conference Programme PDF icon

Conference Publications

The conference organisers anticipate the production of an edited volume based on some of the papers presented at the conference. The book will be published in the Routledge / Warwick 'Studies in Globalisation'. In addition, the editors of 'The World Economy' (John Whalley) and 'The Pacific Review' (Richard Higgott) are based in CSGR and will use the conference as an opportunity to solicit papers for publication in these journals

Conference Office

Denise Hewlett & Domenica Scinaldi
Centre for the Study of Globalisation and Regionalisation
University of Warwick
Coventry, CV4 7AL, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)24 7657 2533
Fax: +44 (0)24 7657 2548
Email: Denise.Hewlett@warwick.ac.uk or D.Scinaldi@warwick.ac.uk

More about the Conference Sponsors PDF icon