General Search for Knowledge of Self and Society
On November 19-20, 2014, HSE hosted the conference ‘Global Governance: Nominal, Real and Alternative Structures’. The conference focused largely on the paradigm shift in geopolitical and geoeconomic structures of the modern world, as well as the underlying causes and long-term implications of such changes. Professor Alan Cafruny of Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, presented a paper at the Conference focused on the crisis of Europe’s economic and monetary union. We talked with Professor Cafruny as he shared his opinion on the union, Germany’s role in NATO, and much more.
About Highlights of the Conference
‘My presentation addressed the origins and implications of the crisis of Europe’s economic and monetary union (EMU). I argued that the crisis is a crucial factor in explaining EU policy towards Russia.
At the present time the EU is mired in comprehensive political, economic, and social crisis. Most of the countries of the Eurozone are experiencing crippling austerity in the form of deep cuts in the welfare state, stagnant or declining real wages, and soaring unemployment. The proponents of EMU asserted that it would bring about greater integration, stability, and economic growth, and that a monetary union would eventually spill over into a political union. In fact, EMU has generated economic stagnation, disintegration, and nationalism. In the context of the present crisis, the Association Agreement signed between Kiev and Brussels will in my view only serve to exacerbate Ukraine’s economic problems.
The monetary union was fundamentally incompatible with Europe’s distinctive social model with its emphasis on full employment, redistributive policies, and a strong welfare state. The establishment of a single currency without a corresponding political and, hence, fiscal union meant that weaker countries would inevitably be compelled to implement austerity policies in order to remain within the monetary union. Moreover, although France supported EMU as a means of restraining German monetary power, over the long run the EMU has had the opposite effect of enhancing Germany’s ‘geoeconomic power’. The Franco-German partnership — the motor force of integration for half a century — has shattered amid France’s problems with high levels of debt, declining competitiveness, and record unemployment. The authority of Berlin in Eurozone crisis decision-making is unchallenged; however, Germany’s heavy reliance on an export-driven model not only destabilizes the EU but also exposes it more directly to international economic instability.
Austerity is transforming the political and electoral landscape all across the European continent. Nationalist movements and populist ‘mavericks’ are challenging established but declining mass parties of the center-left and center-right; however, these new movements have been unable to mobilize sufficient support for an alternative to EMU.
EMU was also supposed to underwrite greater European independence in international affairs. Germany’s traditionally close cultural and economic ties to Russia have traditionally enabled it to play a moderating role within NATO, yet Chancellor Angela Merkel’s strong support for U.S.-led coercive sanctions against Russia indicate that Germany is facing significant pressure from Washington to adhere to Atlanticism. The sanctions are very harmful not only to Russia but also to the European economy. Growing political fragmentation and economic stagnation have greatly increased the EU’s dependence on the United States’.
About Cooperation with the HSE
‘The conference was very successful. It included a variety of perspectives from scholars and experts in Russia, Western Europe, and North America. Many of the presentations naturally addressed various aspects of the crisis over Ukraine. At the same time, the participants also sought to focus on the bigger picture: there was a general recognition that the Ukraine crisis itself is both the cause and effect of a more general transformation of international relations.
I first came to HSE during the academic year 2013-4 as a Fulbright Teaching Scholar in the Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs. At the present time I am working on several collaborative projects and publications with former colleagues from HSE. I look forward to returning to Moscow and to HSE soon.
My commitment to scholarship derives from the more general search for knowledge of self and society. One of the most important benefits of such scholarship is its global and collaborative nature, more vital than ever at a time of growing international instability and conflict’.
HSE News Service
The Second ICEF Conference in Applied Economics will be held at HSE University on September 14. The HSE News service spoke with organizers and participants about the upcoming full-day event, which features eight papers presented by renowned specialists from Russia and across Europe and concludes with an evening dinner.
On July 31, the II International Economics Olympiad (IEO) for high school students came to a close in Saint Petersburg. In the team competition, the Brazilian team won the gold medal, while teams from China won silver and bronze. One of Russian teams placed fifth.
The HSE University and Kyung Hee University double degree programme ‘Economics and Politics in Asia’ is currently enrolling students. Its academic supervisor, Denis Shcherbakov, spoke about the advantages of the programme, internships at Asian universities and companies, as well as the new focus on Southeast Asia.
On July 24, the second annual International Economics Olympiad (IEO) for high school students kicked off at HSE University in St. Petersburg. The competition is organized by HSE University with the support of Sberbank. Students from 24 countries will compete over the course of a week. The winners will be able to enroll in any HSE Economics programme in 2020 with a full tuition scholarship.
In June, faculty members from HSE’s School of Cultural Studies, the School of Philosophy, and the Poletayev Institute for Theoretical and Historical Studies in the Humanities met with colleagues from the University of Pittsburgh (USA) and a Russian art historian to participate in a round table on the importance of gender studies in the humanities. The researchers discussed questions such as what historians, philosophers, and historians can achieve when approaching their fields of study from the standpoint of gender studies, and what the state of gender studies is in contemporary Russia and abroad.
Participants of Russian-Chinese Summer School on International Affairs Tackle Trade, International Institutions, and More
On Thursday, July 11, students and faculty of the International Russian-Chinese Summer School on International Affairs bid farewell with a festive awards ceremony and closing lecture by Professor Sergey Karaganov, Academic Supervisor and Dean of the Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs.
One of the perks of studying at HSE University is its wide range of academic mobility programmes. Ksenia Semykina, a master’s student of Comparative Social Research, recently spent a semester at the Free University of Berlin with the support of an Erasmus+ scholarship. She shared some practical advice on how to live and study abroad with HSE News Service.
HSE University and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme signed an agreement to conduct joint research on urban development. HSE Rector Yaroslav Kuzminov and UN Under-Secretary-General Maimunah Mohd Sharif, who heads the UN-Habitat programme, signed the letter of intent at the recent Moscow Urban Forum, which was held on July 4-7 at Moscow’s Zaryadye Park.
Students who have been accepted to the HSE bachelor’s programmes in ‘Law’ and ‘Private Law’ may simultaneously enroll in the second degree programme at the University of London to supplement their basic training. The second degree programme is also open to external students and working professionals.
On June 24 – 28, HSE University – St. Petersburg hosted the International University Startups & Spin-Offs Festival (HSE Fest), which brings together students from across the world to pitch their startups for a one-time chance to win grants that will help them take their projects to the next level.