Convergence in the Modern World: Ideas, Disciplines and Researchers Come Closer
On November 20th and 21st, 2015, an international conference ‘Convergence in a Complex World – Social, Political and Economic Perspectives’ took place in Germany. Olga Komshukova, second-year student of the master’s programme ‘
Convergence is a fruitful theme for academic debate, and one which has become an integral part of many disciplines. Can we observe a global convergence of values and norms today? Is it possible to acknowledge convergence among various countries in terms of living standards, or, on the contrary, is there divergence due to growing inequality? East and West, developing and developed countries – can we find evidence of a gradual blur of borders between them due to convergence? These and other issues were the subject of discussion at this international forum.
Leading professors from several German universities spoke at the conference. A workshop by Prof. Joachim Zweynert studied the currently popular theory by Doublass North on limited and open orders from the perspective of convergence and divergence. Prof. Dirk Baecher conducted a workshop on the economy of complexity. Prof. Baecker looked at the economy from the perspective of the theological concept of order suggested by Giorgio Agamben. Another interesting idea was studied by Prof. Heiner Flassbeck in his presentation on ‘The Euro: A single currency without convergence?’ He presented his views on the reasons for the current economic problems and the Euro crisis. Prof. Flassbeck named Germany’s ‘strict economy’ as one of the main causes, including the labour market policy, which has led to growing unemployment and decreasing salaries throughout Europe.
The conference paid a lot of attention to discussing interdisciplinary research, as well as the specifics of teaching and developing such interdisciplinary courses as ‘Politics, Economics, Philosophy’ and ‘Politics, Economics, Sociology’.
I presented my paper on the influence of sanctions on autocratic regimes at one of the student discussion panels. Some other interesting student papers suggested for discussion included research on evaluating the effectiveness of the Euro as a common currency, and about the inequality of income in Russian regions.
Olga Komshukova, second-year student of the master’s programme ‘