LSE Events Tues: Ballmer, Ha-Joon Chang, KGB

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in at 10/04/2010 12:05:00 AM
I sometimes wonder if we here at the LSE have a monopoly on having the most intriguing speakers coming to campus to deliver a talk. Is there any place you'd rather be if you're at all interested in the social sciences? I certainly can't think of one as an embarrassment of riches always seems to occur, especially at the start of term.

Sometime last term, I wrote about a day that had both Paul Collier and Adam Posen deliver interesting talks that I unfortunately wasn't able to attend since there was a third I was more interested in. Well, this Tuesday, there's going to be Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and longtime critic of development orthodoxy Ha-Joon Chang coming to speak who I probably won't be able to see because there are other presentations I'm keener on. You see, there are another four events occurring that should hold interest to a general audience. Incredible.

Once more, London readers are invited to come along and listen to any of these presentations. Those who can't make it can hear the podcasts as we make them publicly available, too. I guess part of what makes LSE unique is its ability to draw so many interesting authorities discussing a myriad of topics. If you're thinking of a place to get an MA for a year, it's certainly an unparalleled draw. On Tuesday, let me count the ways:

(1) Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, needs no introduction. While Bill Gates has dedicated his life to good causes, the often-combative tech supremo is still keen on growing the software giant. Microsoft almost famously missed the Internet wagon due to Gates' reluctance to recognize its potential. Apparently, Ballmer & Microsoft are keen on not missing out on possibly the Next Big Thing--cloud computing. He's spoken about it at length before, and now it's his turn to address a British audience:

Seizing the Opportunity of the Cloud: the Next Wave of Business Growth
Department of Management public lecture

Date: Tuesday 5 October 2010
Time: 8.30-9.30am
Venue: Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building
Speaker: Steve Ballmer

The pervasive nature of technology and the ever increasing pace of development are rapidly changing the way we work, live and play. These changes bring enormous opportunity for individuals, organisations and society. For more than three decades, Microsoft, and current CEO Steve Ballmer, have played a vital role in leading a technology industry that has transformed the world of business in dramatic fashion. In one of the opening public lectures of the LSE term, Ballmer will discuss what's next, how cloud computing is radically altering paradigms, and new business opportunities enabled by the cloud.

Steve Ballmer is Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft Corporation. He joined Microsoft in 1980 as the first business manager hired by Bill Gates. Since then, Ballmer's leadership and passion have become hallmarks of his tenure at the company. Ballmer and the company's business and technical leaders are focused on continuing Microsoft's innovation and leadership across each of the company's core businesses. Variously described as ebullient, focused, funny, passionate, sincere, hard-charging and dynamic, Ballmer has infused Microsoft with his own brand of energetic leadership, vision and spirit over the years.

(2) There' s also a promising looking engagement dealing with how Spain's third largest savings institution is dealing with Europe's trying times. Financial institutions are likely the focal point in whether the EU gets out of this episode alive, and among EU nations, Spain is definitely too big to fail. So, if the survival of Spain and, indeed, European Union interests you, do come along:

Some thoughts on the macroeconomic situation: the role of La Caixa
LSE Enterprise and the Catalan Observatory

Date: Tuesday 5 October 2010
Time: 11.30am-12.45pm
Venue: Thai Theatre, New Academic Building
Speaker: Juan Maria Nin

Juan Maria Nin will be discussing the financial crisis with reference to the Spanish economy.
Juan Maria Nin is President and CEO of La Caixa.

(3) For those interested in how former KGB have assumed positions of political-economic power in Russia and beyond, we also have an interesting talk for you courtesy of Andrei Soldatov who's followed the rise of the likes of Vladimir Putin:

The New Nobility: The Restoration of Russia's Security State and the Enduring Legacy of the KGB
LSE public lecture

Date: Tuesday 5 October 2010
Time: 6.30-8pm
Venue: Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House
Speaker: Andrei Soldatov
Chair: Dr Roy Allison

Andrei Soldatov – a journalist who has covered Russia's security services for more than a decade – penetrates the secret world of the FSB to illustrate how, abetted by their most famous alumnus Vladimir Putin, the security services were given unprecedented rein, and emerged a more shadowy and powerful force than the Soviet KGB.

Andrei Soldatov and his The New Nobility co-author Irina Borogan are-founders of, a highly respected website covering the Russian security services. Soldatov and Borogan worked for Novaya Gazeta from January 2006 to November 2008

(4) Negotiation is a very interesting and important field of study. At the global level, trade agreements and peace pacts are forged. At the corporate level, deals are done and contracts must be negotiated, At the individual level, you and I need to haggle prices with vendors and hammer out salary details with employers. Stuart Diamond, one of the experts in this area, has a new book he's introducing that he will talk about:

Getting More
Department of Management public lecture

Date: Tuesday 5 October 2010
Time: 6.30-8pm
Venue: Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building
Speaker: Professor Stuart Diamond

You're always negotiating. Whether making a business deal, talking to friends or even driving a car, negotiation is going on. And most of us are terrible at it. Experts tell us to negotiate as if we live in a rational world. But people can be angry, fearful and irrational. To achieve your goals you have to be able to deal with the unpredictable.

Negotiation expert Stuart Diamond reveals the real secrets behind getting more in any negotiation - whatever 'more' means to you - in his new book Getting More|, published on the 7th October by Portfolio Penguin, and joins us at LSE to offer accessible, jargon-free and innovative insights into negotiation.

Stuart Diamond is Practice Professor of Legal Studies and Adjunct Professor of Law at Wharton. He has taught and advised on negotiation to corporate and government leaders in more than 40 countries. He teaches negotiation and entrepreneurship at Wharton Business School, where he runs the most popular course. Diamond is President of Global Strategy Group which advises companies and governments on negotiating, and also CEO of Four Star Airlines. He has consulted extensively for the United Nations, and worked as a journalist for the New York Times.

(5) Development students are undoubtedly familiar with Ha-Joon Chang who believes globalization is rigged in favour of developed countries via Friedrich List's metaphor of "kicking away the ladder." (More on him in a recent post.) Not only did the likes of the US freely violate intellectual property of European powers when it was in its infancy, but it also made frequent use of subsidies and tariffs to promote activity earlier on. However, today's international regimes prohibit such practices, allegedly disfavouring the rest of us latecomers. Chang is here to promote his new book 23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism:

23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism
Department of International Development public lecture

Date: Tuesday 5 October 2010
Time: 6.30-8pm
Venue: Old Theatre, Old Building
Speaker: Professor Ha-Joon Chang
Chair: Professor Robert Wade

We may like or dislike capitalism, but surely we all know how it works. Right? Wrong. Today, most arguments about capitalism are dominated by free-market ideology and unfounded assumptions that parade as 'facts'. This lecture in which Ha-Joon Chang will talk about his new book 23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism| tells the story of capitalism as it is and shows how capitalism as we know it can be, and should be, made better.

Ha-Joon Chang is a professor in the faculty of politics and economics at Cambridge University where he has taught since 1990. In addition to numerous articles in journals and edited volumes, he has published seven authored books (three of them co-authored) and eight edited books (six of them co-edited). His most recent books include Bad Samaritans: Rich Nations, Poor Policies and the Threat to the Developing World (2007), Kicking Away the Ladder - Development Strategy in Historical Perspective (2002), which won the 2003 Myrdal Prize, Restructuring Korea Inc. (with Jang-Sup Shin, 2003), Globalization, Economic Development and The Role of the State (2003), and Reclaiming Development - An Alternative Economic Policy Manual (with Ilene Grabel, 2004). His writings have been translated into 13 languages.

Ha-Joon Chang has worked as a consultant for many international organisations, including various UN agencies such as UNDP (United Nations Development Program) and UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development), the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, and a number of governments on development policies. He was awarded the 2005 Wassily Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought.

(6) And lastly we at LSE IDEAS are hosting Philip S. Golub, the French journalist who's (surprise!) not keen on American bossiness post-Cold War:

Power Profit and Prestige: A History of American Expansionism
5 October 2010, 6.30pm, COL.B212

Power, Profit and Prestige applies incisive historical and sociological analysis to make sense of the United States' post-Cold War imperial behaviour.

Philip Golub argues that an embedded culture of force and expansion has shaped American foreign policy. He will show how these deeply rooted assumptions about American primacy, in a world where America is no longer able to set the global agenda, may lead the US empire into a crisis of its own making.

It's a mind-boggling line-up of interesting events, I'm sure you'll agree. I'd go to all of them if I could but I'm afraid I can't separate myself into four!