Now what? – the AGORA Economic Conference
October 12th, 2013, 17.00-21.00
Former Athens Stock Exchange Building
8-10 Sofokleous St, Athens, Greece
At a time when the financial crisis in Greece and elsewhere is reaching a highpoint, the 4th Athens Biennale (AB4) cannot but respond to this bleak situation through a pertinent question: Now what? While Monodrome (AB3) attempted to reflect upon Modern Greek history and the origins of the crisis, this year the Biennale will set out to explore creative alternatives to a state of bankruptcy.
Pondering this turning point, AB4 is taking these economic questions literally: it is staging an economics conference, featuring blue chip economists from around the world, who will convey, as well as debate, current economic thinking about “the crisis” and possible ways forward. The date of the conference coincides with the World Bank / IMF Annual Meeting in Washington. The setting here, however, is not the seat of global financial power but instead, the now abandoned Athens Stock exchange, the site of the Biennale.
The conference offers several innovations: it is the first to bring mainstream well known economists into an art world setting, albeit one highly interested in economics and not at safe, removed from the impact and outcome of larger policy discussions. The second innovation is that these sorts of conferences are typically “closed” whereas this one is fully open to the public, and they are encouraged to participate. This is in keeping with the overall approach of AGORA, as a forum for the exchange of views, and a site of fermentation between professionals from different backgrounds.
The economic forum will consist of a ½ day event of informal talks on the crisis. Each guest will give a short presentation (approx. 20 mins) and then answer questions from the audience. Their remarks will be based on their own research and therefore the content will be substantive (versus “pop” economics). Lecture topics include the origin of the Euro debt crisis, the ongoing labor crisis, discussions about the effectiveness of austerity vs. fiscal expansion as well as the experiences and lessons of other afflicted countries. These are not abstract academic issues in Greece today and instead are impacting millions of people’s lives.
Confirmed List of Presenters
Nicholas Economides is an internationally recognized academic authority on network economics, electronic commerce and public policy. His fields of specialization and research include the economics of networks, especially of telecommunications, computers, and information, the economics of technical compatibility and standardization, industrial organization, the structure and organization of financial markets and payment systems, antitrust, application of public policy to network industries, strategic analysis of markets and law and economics. Professor Economides has published more than 100 articles in top academic journals in the areas of networks, telecommunications, oligopoly, antitrust, product positioning and on the liquidity and the organization of financial markets and exchanges. He holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in Economics from the University of California at Berkeley, as well as a B.Sc. (First Class Honors) in Mathematical Economics from the London School of Economics. Previously, he taught at Columbia University (1981-1988) and at Stanford University (1988-1990). He is editor of the Information Economics and Policy, Netnomics, Quarterly Journal of Electronic Commerce, the Journal of Financial Transformation, Journal of Network Industries, on the Advisory Board of the Social Science Research Network, editor of Economics of Networks Abstracts by SSRN and former editor of the International Journal of Industrial Organization. His website on the Economics of Networks has been ranked as one of the top four economics sites worldwide by The Economist magazine.
He is Executive Director of the NET Institute, http://www.NETinst.org, a worldwide focal point for research on the economics of network and high technology industries. He is advisor to the US Federal Trade Commission, the governments of Greece, Ireland, New Zealand and Portugal, the Attorney General of New York State, major telecommunications corporations, a number of the Federal Reserve Banks, the Bank of Greece and major Financial Exchanges. He serves on the Advisory Board of the Economist Intelligence Unit. He has commented extensively in broadcast and in print on high technology, antitrust and public policy issues.
Elias Papaioannou is Associate Professor of Economics at the London Business School. He is a research affiliate of the CEPR (Centre for Economic Policy Research) and the NBER (National Bureau of Economic Research). From 2007 till 2012 he served as Assistant Professor of Economics at Dartmouth College (NH, USA), while during the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 academic years he was a Visiting Assistant Professor at the Economics Department of Harvard University (MA, USA).
His research interests cover the areas of international finance, political economy, applied econometrics, macro aspects of regulation, law and finance, and growth and development. He has published in many leading peer-refereed journals, such as the Journal of Finance, Econometrica, the Economic Journal, the Review of Economics and Statistics, the Journal of Development Economics, the Journal of the European Economic Association, the Journal of International Economics, and more. His work has also appeared in numerous edited book volumes. His research has been recognized with the 2005 Young Economist Award by the European Economic Association and the 2008 Austin Robinson memorial prize by the Royal Economic Association.
Heiner Flassbeck has served since 2006 as Director of the Division on Globalization and Development Strategies of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). He is the principal author and the leader of the team preparing UNCTAD’s Trade and Development Report. The Trade and Development Report is the flagship annual publication of UNCTAD covering both recent and longer term issues in the world economy, with particular emphasis on the implications for developing countries.
Mr. Flassbeck is a member of international fora dealing with prospective development issues or with burning topics facing the world economy. He is a member of the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress, he participates in “The Shadow GN” meetings (chaired by Professor Joseph Stiglitz) and he is a guest speaker in many academic institutions. He is the author of numerous books and articles on macroeconomic issues, in particular on the current financial crisis and its impact on the real economy.
Prior to joining UNCTAD in 2000, Mr. Flassbeck worked with the German Council of Economic Experts, Wiesbaden between 1976 and 1980, followed by the Federal Ministry of Economics until January 1986. He was chief macroeconomist in the German Institute for Economic Research between 1988 and 1998, and State Secretary (Vice Minister) from October 1998 to April 1999 at the Federal Ministry of Finance responsible for international affairs, the European Union and IMF.
Paolo Manasse is Professor of Macroeconomics and International Economic Policy at the University of Bologna. He also taught at L. Bocconi (where he currently teaches Macro in the PhD program) , at Sorbonne (Paris I), Johns Hopkins (Bologna Center) and other Italian universities. He obtained his PhD from the LSE with Rick van der Ploeg and Charlie Bean. He worked as a Consultant for the OECD, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and was a resident Consultant, Visiting Scholar and Technical Assistance Advisor for the IMF. He is a research fellow of IGIER-Bocconi in Milan, and of the Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis. His research interests are in international macroeconomics, including a wide range of issues such as monetary and fiscal policy in currency unions, fiscal federalism and asymmetric information, international trade and the labor market, international policy coordination, sovereign debt and banking crises. His publications include, among others, the American Economic Review, the European Economic Review, the Journal of International Economics, the Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, the Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control. His writes on current Italian and European issues on his blog “Back-of The-Envelope Economics” (in Italian, but Google Translator friendly).
Professor Frances Ruane has been Director of the ESRI since December 2006. She is currently a member of the Commission of the National Pensions Reserve Fund, the Economic Advisory Group in Northern Ireland and the Council of Economic Advisors in Scotland. She is also a Research Associate of the Institute of International Integration Studies, and an Honorary Professor at the Department of Economics at Trinity College.
Her previous position was as Associate Professor in the Department of Economics in Trinity College Dublin, where she also held the posts of Director of the Policy Institute and Director of the MSc programme in Economic Policy Studies. Earlier in her career, Professor Ruane held positions in the Industrial Development Authority, the Central Bank of Ireland and Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario.
Following her undergraduate studies in Economics, Politics and Statistics at University College Dublin, Frances Ruane studied at Nuffield College and was awarded the degrees of B.Phil. and D.Phil. from the University of Oxford. She is member of the Royal Irish Academy, the Council of the Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland, the Council of Economic and Social Studies, and the editorial boards of the Journal of International and Economic Policy and the International Review of Economics and Finance. In April 2010 she was elected an Honorary Fellow of Trinity College Dublin.
Frances Ruane has published extensively, especially in the fields of international economic and industrial development. Her current research interests centre on exploring the innovation and exporting behaviour of enterprises in the manufacturing and service sectors.
From 2007 to 2012, Professor Ruane was a member of the Higher Education Authority and of the Health Research Board. During 2009/2010 she chaired the Expert Group on Resource Allocation and Financing in the Health Sector, which reported in July 2010.
Frances Ruane was Chair of the National Statistics Board from 1996 to 2003 and represented Ireland on the European Advisory Committee on Statistical Information in the Economic and Social Spheres (CEIES) from 1998 to 2008. She has also served as a member on a number of Irish State Boards, including the National Board for Science and Technology, the National Theatre Company (the Abbey Theatre), the Industrial Development Authority, Forfás and Bord Gáis Eireann. In addition, she has participated on numerous governmental advisory committees/groups, including Funding of Third Level Education, Tax & Social Welfare Reform, Future Skills Needs and the Research Prioritisation Steering Group.
Professor Deirdre McCloskey is a Distinguished Professor of Economics, History and Communication at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Professor of Economic History at the Gothenburg University in Sweden. She is known as a “conservative” economist, but protests that “I’m a literary, quantitative, postmodern, free-market, progressive Episcopalian, Midwestern woman from Boston who was once a man. Not ‘conservative’! I’m a Christian libertarian.” Her scientific work has been on economic history, especially British. Her philosophical books concern the maladies of social scientific positivism, the epistemological limits of a future social science, and the promise of a rhetorically sophisticated philosophy of science. Recently she has turned to ethics and to a philosophical-historical apology for modern economies.
Dr Vito Polito, is Lecturer in Economics at Cardiff Business School. His research interests include: Applied macroeconometrics; Capital income taxation; Fiscal policy sustainability; Optimal macroeconomic control, and Time-varying macroeconomic volatility. His special conference paper, written with Michael Wickens, “How the euro crisis evolved and how to avoid another: EMU, fiscal policy and credit ratings,” was presented at the Bank of Greece conference on the crisis in the Eurozone and will be published in the Journal of Macroeconomics.
Loukas Tsoukalis is Jean Monnet Professor of European Organisation at the University of Athens and President of the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy, ELIAMEP. He is one of Europe’s foremost scholars of European integration, focusing on investigating the impact of the current political and economic crisis within the EU on the European integration process and suggesting possible remedies to the current malaise by returning to the question he posed in his seminal 2005 work What Kind of Europe? (Oxford University Press).
David Adler is an economic analyst and author whose most recent project is the monograph “Financial Frictions” to be published by the Research Foundation of the CFA Institute. For the Research Institute he also completed a lit review on “liquidity.” He is the author of the book “Snap Judgment” (Financial Times Press) about behavioral economics, and co-editor of the anthology “Understanding American Economic Decline”(Cambridge University Press). Additionally, he produced the PBS documentaries, “Mind Over Money” (NOVA, about behavioral economics) and “Financial Insecurity.” Currently he is the moderator of the Bloomberg Markets Live Insights investment conference series.
David Adler is interested in the intersection of economic theory and art theory. He is researching outsider art produced for alternative systems to the gallery system. He has written for Frieze and other art publications.
The “Now What?” AGORA Economic Conference is realised with the kind support of OUTSET Greece. Conference supporters are Athens Exchange S.A. and MANH MANH restaurant.
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Background on the Athens Biennale
The Athens Biennale attracts thousands of visitors as well as directors, artists, curators, administrators and collectors from the world’s foremost institutions of contemporary art (MoMA, Tate Britain, Istanbul Biennale, Lyon Biennale, Sacatar Foundation, De Appel, Liverpool School of Fine Arts, Palais de Tokyo, Biennale of Sydney, Whitechapel Gallery and White Cube Gallery).
The last Athens Biennale – Monodrome – took place in 2011 and was covered extensively in the international press, TV, radio, and online media. This attention came both from the art world (Artforum, Art Monthly, Art in America, Frieze) as well as other newspapers and TV channels (Handelsblatt, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, New Statesman, Le Monde, and ZDF) some with lengthy features on the exhibition.
The Athens Biennale functions within an international network of large-scale periodic contemporary art events. It emerged from the intense cultural activity that makes Athens one of the most interesting places for contemporary art, and it aims to be an agent of constant change and innovation, provide a context for creativity and dialogue and constitute a wide platform for the designation and the critical engagement of local artistic production, as well as a forum of discussion and exchange with the international scene.