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Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy 80 years later: Looking at capitalism today in light of its past and possible future
Arturo Hermann and Maria Alejandra Madi
The main aim of this conference is to promote a pluralist and interdisciplinary range of methodological frameworks and theoretical perspectives.
Through the Discussion Forum, we seek to facilitate a debate on current capitalism and its possible future course. The objective is to stimulate a deep examination of the complex and uncertain political, economic, and social paths after the 2008 financial crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the ongoing armed conflicts.
The current state of capitalism, socialism, and democracy presents an opportunity to reexamine the insightful ideas put forth by Schumpeter. Starting from Schumpeter’s book, the conference would promote an open debate on how the concepts of Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy characterise our economies and their possible evolution. Drawing on the controversies around Schumpeter’s great vision, our aim is to call for a reflection in connection with the economic, political and social complex and uncertain futures after the 2008 financial crisis, COVID-19 pandemic and Ukraine war.
In 1942, Joseph Schumpeter published Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy, a book that may still be read now. It was composed during the Great Depression, fascism and nazism’s early achievements in 1940 and 1941, and in a context of an uncertain future. Schumpeter’s book was easily forgotten or, at the best, considered as an interesting but unrealistic hypothesis. To this situation, some unclear aspects of his analysis may also have played a role. In particular, it is rather unclear why the rise of the modern corporation should lead automatically to socialism and not, as actually took place, to some form of mixed economy. Relatedly, in his analysis of socialism and democracy the adoption of a top-down approach ― in the sense that he considered socialism mainly in its centralised version and democracy mainly as a competition for leadership ― does not allow a fuller appraisal of the role that other forms of
socialism and democracy can play in realising the objective of human development and social justice.
However, despite these limitations, we think that the enduring relevance of Schumpeter’s analysis lies in grasping the evolution of modern economic systems, from the individual capitalism to the managed/concerted economies of our time. These economies are characterised by the rise not only of big corporations but also by a growing importance of public action in trying to manage the contradictions of the system.
In this respect, fifty years after Schumpeter’s study, in shedding light on major elements of our economies and societies, it shows fascinating similarities with numerous contributions that, from diverse but complementary viewpoints, assess the mixed economies of our day.
In order to shed more light on our uncertain times and to keep the practise of undertaking pluralist and multidisciplinary research, we encourage contributions from a wide variety of various theories and schools of thought.
The aspects that might be covered include, but are not limited to, the following
(I) Analysis of how capitalism, socialism and democracy have evolved in particular situations.
(II) Characteristics and evolution of modern corporations, public action and the related legal, institutional and policy framework.
(III) The legal and institutional analysis of the market at theoretical level and in specific situations.
(IV) The role and evolution of public sector and public spending from various theoretical perspectives (for instance, institutional, Marxist and Keynesian) and/or in specific situations.
(V) The various conceptions of socialism, social justice and democracy ― also considered in the central dimension of ecological sustainability ― and the most suited policies and institutions for their attainment.
(VI) Parallels, with the intention of shedding light on central components of our economies, considering the contributions of Marx, Hilferding, Polanyi, Keynes, Commons and the Veblen-Dewey-Ayres’ pragmatism and institutional tradition.
( VII) Democracy and pluralism in Economics.
Guidelines and Deadlines
- Extended abstracts consisting of up to 1,500 words and including references to be submitted between 15th October and 15th December 2023 to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Communication concerning approved abstracts until 15th January 2024
- The WEA Online Forum will take place between 1st March and 20th March 2024.
- A Google Meet symposium with the authors will take place at the start of the conference.
For complete, general guidelines about WEA Online Conferences, please see
Guide for first time visitors
Openness and flexibility are major trends in contemporary education, research, and business, influencing the whole spectrum of institutions and corporations across the globe. Indeed, technological innovations are bringing about a paradigm shift in contemporary livelihoods. Modes of interaction are becoming more open and flexible in terms of time, space, organization, infrastructure and requirements. With this background, the World Economics Association organises conferences which are held on-line.
WEA CONFERENCES are OPEN ACCESS. The World Economics Association strives to make its conferences accessible for all people around the world. The aim of the WEA ONLINE CONFERENCES is to enlarge the number of participants and to extend the period of discussion to provide for more developed exchanges than in typical, location-based conferences. WEA Conferences strive to be on the forefront of innovations in communicating and discussing high-quality research.
Each WEA CONFERENCE begins with a pre-conference stage with the announcement of the call, registration and selection of papers, culminating in a Discussion Forum. The interactive format of Conferences provide an online forum for visitors and commentators. All participants will be able to send comments on specific papers, or to contribute to a general discussion on the conference theme.
Each WEA ONLINE CONFERENCE is hosted by Maria Alejandra Madi, Chair of the WEA CONFERENCES. She selects the conference themes and Leaders with the expertise in the topic, and facilitates the process of the conference organization as well as the follow-up activities. The initial format of the WEA CONFERENCES was developed by Grazia Ietto-Gillies, whose ideas have continued to guide the current WEA CONFERENCES organizing team.
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