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
On October 2-4, HSE University hosted the international conference Trends in Logic 19. Current Issues in Philosophical Logic for the first time in Russia. The conference, which attracted a number of prominent Russian and international scholars, was organized jointly by the journal Studia Logica and the HSE International Laboratory for Logic, Linguistics and Formal Philosophy.
On October 2 and 3, HSE University simultaneously celebrated two anniversaries of Russian-Dutch academic cooperation: the 25th anniversary of joint educational programmes between HSE University and Erasmus University Rotterdam, and the 10th anniversary of the Dutch educational center, Nuffic Neso Russia, with which HSE has a long-standing partnership.
The Second Russia-China Education Research Conference – Digital Transformation of Education and Artificial Intelligence – was held last week at HSE University. Researchers from the two countries discussed changes taking place in the national education systems thanks to the digital revolution, as well as what can be borrowed from mutual experiences.
The agreement provides for academic and cultural cooperation between the universities, student exchange, and joint research. HSE University and the University of Bergen have been partners in educational initiatives for eight years. The partnership began when the HSE Faculty of Law signed an agreement with the Norwegian university.
Economists and Researchers Gather at International Conference on Wealth and Income in Eastern Europe and CIS Countries
On September 17-18, HSE University hosted a special conference with the International Association for Research in Income and Wealth (IARIW) on the topic of Experiences and Challenges in Measuring Income and Wealth in Eastern Europe and CIS Countries. This was the first IARIW conference to be held in a CIS country. HSE News Service spoke with American economist Barbara Fraumeni about her work with economic accounting and human capital and her experience attending the conference in Moscow.
On September 20, HSE University Rector Yaroslav Kuzminov and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Italian Republic Pasquale Terracciano signed a cooperation agreement between the Embassy of Italy and HSE University.
On September 23-24, the CCCP19 Symposium ‘Cognition, Computation, Neuroeconomics and Performance’ will be held at HSE University. The goal of the symposium is to exhibit cutting edge research at the CCDM, a leading cognitive neuroscience research centre in Russia, and LNC2, a leading European research centre in neuroeconomics, cognitive neuroscience and neural theory. Ahead of CCCP19, the HSE News Service spoke with the conference organizer and several invited speakers about the plan for this symposium and the importance of their research in the field.
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.