XV International Colloquium
Paris – May 2-4, 2018
The Role and Impact of International Institutions
on Economic Theory and Policy
at Maison des Sciences de l'Homme in Paris Nord [*]
1. Digital Currencies in a Globalized World -- the sudden spread of digital currencies has fundamental implications for the governance of the world in coming years and the role of the international organizations in global regulation and development. The panel explored the implications for business, banking, central banks, taxation, financing of global projects, lending and investment. It also examined the need to redefine a role for international law, organizations and regulation of global finance and financialization in view of this development.
2. Integrated Strategies for Implementation of the SDGs -- agreement on the SDGs is a remarkable achievement, but agreement on goals and targets is far easier than actually achieving them. The challenge is aggravated by the fact that none of the goals can be achieved in isolation from the rest and most of them require levels of international cooperation beyond what presently exists. Effective and timely implementation lies beyond the capacity and will of most national governments. Prevailing economic, social, political and ecological theory fails to provide unambiguous integrated pathways to global human security. Research on the interdependence between SDGs is urgently needed. Effective action will require concerted initiatives by a broad coalition of stakeholders at the national and international level at a time when an international social consensus is strained by widening disparities, fear for the future, and withdrawal from international commitments. This will require enhancing cooperation, coordinated action and consensus to overcome the gaps and divisions between theoretical knowledge, public policy, public opinion, business and civil society. The panel assessed the role of international organizations in meeting the need for inter-disciplinary research, theory, policy formulation, financing and coordinated implementation of actions to support achievement of the SDGs.
3. Economic Theoretical Framework of International Organizations -- growing disenchantment with mainstream economic theory has inflamed debate within academia about the need for formulation of new theoretical concepts in economics that are human-centered, transdisciplinary, ecologically sound and socially relevant and also make explicit the underlying values and assumptions on which economic theory should be based. This panel reviewed the explicit and implicit theoretical frameworks presently accepted by international organizations to assess their validity and relevance to global society in the 21st century and considered ways to effectuate a change in thinking on which policy recommendations and decisions are based.
4. Role of Social Power in the Governance & Actions of International Organizations -- the distribution and exercise of social power is the invisible elephant dominating economic policies at the national and international level. Broadly defined social power takes many forms -- political, legal, economic, financial, technological, military, etc. At the national level money and business exercise an inordinately powerful role through both legal and illegal channels . This panel examined the role of different forms of social power in determining the actions of international organizations and the measures needed to promote greater democracy, transparency and equity in their activities.
5. The Evolving Organization of Global Society -- humanity organizes society through innumerable formal and informal, public and private, for multiple purposes -- security, legal, trade, transport, communication, ecology, etc., in all fields -- economic and political, social and cultural, educational and scientific, etc. -- ranging from local to global, from village fairs to global financial markets, from bilateral treaties to global strategic arms control, from local newspapers to the global internet. And that organization is evolving continuously in response to the development of society. The recent spread of fake news illustrates how thoroughly humanity is organized at the informal level of rumor and gossip and how powerful that organization can be for good or ill. Speculation is another dramatic instance of unregulated informal organization. This panel examined the present stage and state of social organization at the international level, identify the the fields in which the international community has developed the highest and most effective forms of organization and in those in which it lags furthest behind in meeting the pressing challenges confronting global society today, and framed recommendations for accelerating the development of effective organization to address critical gaps.