The triple crisis: Finance, development and environment

Last updated, 26 Jan 2014
Additional info: 
16th conference of the Association for Heterodox Economics
University of Greenwich, London
02/07/2014 to 04/07/2014

In more than ten years the AHE has established a reputation as a major international forum for the discussion of alternatives to mainstream economics, and for the interdisciplinary and pluralistic nature of its discussions. It also plays an on-going role in strengthening the community of heterodox economists, and in the development of heterodox economic theories on various topics through the dissemination of ideas and arguments.

For 2014 the AHE Conference theme is The Triple Crisis.

The term ‘Triple Crisis’ may have first gained international currency when the International Trade Union Confederation made a plea to the 2009 meeting of the World Economic Forum (Davos): “The world is in the midst of an all-encompassing, unprecedented, triple crisis that has already had a dramatic impact on the real economy”. The triple crisis referred to the interaction of three specific issues which have reached crisis points: the financial and debt crisis; potentially catastrophic environmental damage; and the level of inequality across and within societies.

For a while the alarm was raised across the political spectrum. In June 2012 Christine Lagarde (Managing director of the IMF), addressing the Centre for Global Development, said that: “The global economy is still rocked by turmoil, with uncertain prospects for growth and jobs. The planet is warming rapidly, with unknown and possibly dire consequences down the line. Across too many societies, the gap between the haves and have-nots is getting wider and strains are getting fiercer.”

A blog of broadly heterodox economists now exists entitled Triple Crisis Global Perspectives on Finance, Development and Environment. The three elements of the triple crisis, they say, “are seemingly disparate but actually interact with each other in forceful ways to reflect major structural imbalances between finance and the real economy; between the higher income and developing economies; between the human economic system and the earth’s ecosystems”. Lagarde likewise insisted on the need to view “different economic, environmental and social objectives as ……..essential parts of a connected whole."

The aim of the AHE conference in 2014 is to begin to make the interactions explicit. We will be inviting keynote speakers to outline integrated solutions, such as the plea for ‘steady-state’ economy, the development of the ‘circular’ economy or ‘prosperity without growth’. We would welcome contributions on each element of the three crises. It is also possible to suggest papers and streams which analyst the links between two of the three, for instance how does the organization of world food and biofuel production and procurement contribute both to social inequality and to environmental degradation? How is environmental degradation to be limited without further intensifying poverty and reducing the national incomes of LDCs? What does social protest about the privatization of public spaces in Turkey and Brazil have to say about the inequalities engendered as the pressures on the earth’s resources increase?

Last but not least, the global triple crisis is experienced at the local level and South East London has been in the news for the level of public concern regarding the impact of health service PFI debts. Therefore, this conference will seek to make links with local campaigns, such as the Save Lewisham Hospital campaign or the campaigns around the redevelopment of disused wharves for private residential development.

The conference invites submissions for single papers, panels and sessions of relevance to the overarching conference theme or address topics or issues of importance to heterodox economics from standpoints which differ from, or critically examine, mainstream economics.


Important Dates:

Abstracts: 14 February, Decisions on abstracts by 28 February

Refereed papers: 14 May, Review comments to authors by 28 May

Final papers (and non-refereed papers) 10 June

Submission, Registration and Venue details.