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Speaker Series in 2009/10

Professor Ha-Joon Chang, Reader in Economics, Cambridge University - The MicroFinance Illusion

Professor Chang is the author of several influential policy books, including Kicking Away the Ladder: Development Strategy in Historical Perspective. His latest book is Bad Samaritans : Rich Nations, Poor Policies and the Threat to the Developing World. He has served as a consultant to the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the European Investment Bank as well as to Oxfam and various United Nations agencies. He is a reader in Economics at Cambridge University and also a fellow at the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington.

Professor Richard Wilkinson, Professor Emeritus of Social Epidemiology, University of Nottingham - "Dysfunctional Societies: Why Inequality Matters"

February 1st, 6pm, S0.21

Professor Wilkinson is one of the world's leading scholars of inequality who has been researching the costs of inequality for many years. See his biography.

In this lecture he will show that the empirical evidence is compelling that not only are large inequalities of income divisive and socially corrosive, and that the poor have shorter lives, poorer health and suffer more from every social problem, but that more unequal societies are bad for almost everyone within them - the well-off as well as the poor.

His latest book, which has been hailed as profoundly important, is "The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better" (with Kate Pickett), published by Penguin, 2009. Abstract. Webpage. See the website of the Equality Trust

Robert Skidelsky, Emeritus Professor of Political Economy, University of Warwick - "The Crisis of Capitalism: Keynes versus Marx"

November 4th, 5pm S0.21

Professor Iain McLean, Professor of Politics, University of Oxford - "Adam Smith as Philosopher, Political Scientist and Economist"

October 19th, 6pm, Venue L4

Professor McLean is the author of "Adam Smith: Radical and Egalitarian" (with a Foreword by Gordon Brown), published by Edinburgh University Press, 2006. Link.

We know Adam Smith as the father of economics and he is usually portrayed as a proponent of laisser faire capitalism. (For example his name has been used by a high profile right wing market fundamentalist think tank called the Adam Smith Institute.) But he was also a moral philosopher more famous in his lifetime for his earlier book "The Theory of Moral Sentiments" than "The Wealth of Nations" (and the latter book was by no means simply a case for free-market policies). Smith argued for a non-religious grounding for morals, and proposed the principle of sympathy, which should lead an impartial spectator to understand others' problems. Professor Mclean shows that Smith should be properly regarded as not only the author of the idea of the invisible hand but equally a believer in the helping hand, and that he would be equally as much at home on the left as the right. He argues that Smith was one of the few thinkers who have made significant contributions to all three of philosophy, politics as well as economics (along with Hume and MIll).