Monday Night May Be the Greatest in LSE History

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in ,,, at 5/22/2010 10:09:00 PM
Coming from a well-respected but comparably modest institution in the University of Birmingham, I really had no idea about how vast the difference was between its like and the LSE. Sure, Birmingham hosted the last televised debate among the prime ministerial contenders, but the LSE name is recognized as perhaps the last word in the social sciences. Not only do the world's prominent social scientists and politicians inevitably make a pit stop at our patch in what I still regard as the world's capital, but they come in droves. Tina Turner sang once about it, and I will leave with fond memories of my time here.

But before that time comes, Monday, 24 May, will leave a great impression on me as we will host, during virtually the same time slot, not one but three presentations I would like to go to. The good part, of course, is that they are all open to the general public. So, if you are in London and have any interest in social science (as evidenced by reading the IPE Zone), there is no real excuse not to pay us a visit. First up will be the famous development economist Paul Collier, whose recent book The Bottom Billion has received much favourable notice. On this night, however, we will focus on environmental matters:
The Plundered Planet

Date: Monday 24 May 2010
Time: 6.30-8pm
Venue: Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building
Speaker: Professor Paul Collier

There is a battle for the future of our planet between profiteers who threaten to destroy natural resources for gain and backward-looking environmental romantics who thwart constructive development. Paul Collier uses his ground-breaking research to offer realistic and sustainable solutions that reconcile the immediate needs of the world's growing population without despoiling the planet for future generations.

Paul Collier is a professor of economics and Director of the Centre for the Study of African Economies at Oxford University. He also serves as co-director of the International Growth Centre. The author of The Bottom Billion, which won the 2008 Lionel Gelber Prize for the world's best book on international affairs, he has lectured widely on the subjects of economics and international relations. He was the senior advisor to Tony Blair's Commission on Africa, and was Director of the Development Research group at the World Bank for five years.

This event celebrates the publication of his latest book The Plundered Planet: How to Reconcile Prosperity with Nature.
That would have been a great event to go to if it were not this one from Adam Posen speaking about how Japan's "lost decade" wasn't inevitable. There are many lessons for our current situation, methinks:
The Realities and Relevance of Japan's Great Recession

Date: Monday 24 May 2010
Time: 6.30-8pm
Venue: Old Theatre, Old Building
Speaker: Dr Adam S Posen

Japan's lost decade was not inevitable, and recovery came when policies changed. In some ways, Japan was better positioned to overcome its crisis than we are today.

Adam S Posen is an external member of the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics and author of Restoring Japan's Economic Growth.
That event sounds fantastic too...but it's still not the one I am ultimately planning to attend. Sometime ago, I discussed Bob Jessop's notion of "cultural political economy." Though Professor Jessop is well to the left of me, I still think his work is very insightful in describing how sociocultural factors underpin economic interactions. Also, the area of interest is in my part of the world, so I will be off to...
A cultural political economy of a Global City Region: the Competitiveness-Integration Order in the Pearl River Delta

Date: Monday 24 May 2010
Time: 6-8pm
Venue: Graham Wallas Room, A550, 5th floor, Old Building
Speaker: Dr Ngai-Ling Sum
Discussant: Dr Nancy Holman
Chair: Dr Hyun Shin

Adopting a cultural political economy (CPE) approach, the talk examines the role of knowledge brands (e.g., Porter's competitive advantage diamond; Lundvall's national innovation system approach) in mediating regional planning and economic restructuring. The case of the Pearl River Delta (PRD) in China and the region's response to the current crisis since mid-2007 is at the focus of this talk.

Ngai-Ling Sum is Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Relations and Co-Director (with Bob Jessop). Dr Nancy Holman and Dr Hyun Shin are at the Department of Geography and Environment, LSE.
Unfortunately, I cannot be at three places at the same time. So, I will just have to listen to the podcasts of the first two events. (Fortunately, we do take care to record these events for those who can't come.) And what about the night after that, you ask? We have Nobel Peace Prize award winner Muhammad Yunus. If social science is your thing--or are keen on making pseudo intellectual affectations like yours truly [!]--then I cannot help but say the LSE is without peer.