Annual Conference

The 69th (2021) Annual Conference

Check Conference Webpage for the details: https://english-hokuseigakuen69.jimdosite.com

Date: October 16-17, 2021

Venue: Hokusei Gakuen University, 2-3-1, Ohyachi-Nishi, Atsubetsu-ku, Sapporo 004-8631, Japan

General Theme

COVID-19 Global Pandemic and The Modern Capitalism

The ongoing global pandemic of COVID-19 has exerted severe impacts on the global economy, politics, society, and even cultures as well. Although its impacts have not been fully elucidated yet, the pandemic has aggravated in the number of deaths and infection, and science-based social control has come to be required. Lockdown of cities and national border, coupled with strong self- restraint measures, have been taken in all of the affected countries, including avoidance of "Three Cs" and restrictions on movement of people. The ongoing of social transformation on a global scale has had great impacts on the economy, politics, society, and even cultures. The sudden and large-scale impacts would affect even social consciousness, and even if the pandemic ends, the impacts will have to remain.

The globalization, which progressed and accelerated in recent years with global capitalism, was suddenly braked, and the movement of humans stopped suddenly. The impact has spread to local areas, including the negative impacts on agriculture and the fishery processing industry, which heavily depended on foreign technical intern trainees. We must also note that the movements of goods and money have been backed by the movement of human beings. Globalization, which was once expected to never stop, is now being forced to change. The link between capitalism and globalization was thought to be self-evident, but now it is quite questionable. It leads to a fundamental theoretical question about the relationship between the market economy and capitalism, even questions about capitalism as an economic system per se. Thus, capitalism and globalization need to be reviewed both theoretically and empirically.

Humanity has nurtured culture by flocking, cuddling and connecting. Capitalism and modern society has promoted people to gather in cities, meetings and events on a large scale. But, the global COVID-19 pandemic has forced to bring forward teleworks to avoid face-to-face communication between people, and the service industries have also been hit hard. Modern capitalism, which has gained accumulation opportunities due to the progress of service sectors with the development of a highly consuming society, may face the difficulties with a spreading "new lifestyle". Along with reexamination of post-industrialization and service economy trend, which are the characteristics of modern capitalism, it will be necessary to reexamination of the significance and problems of the economic and social agglomeration in mega-cities. Will the skyscrapers of the "Global Cities" possibly become modern dinosaurs?

This time pandemic also provided an opportunity to re-question the roles and position of government under modern capitalism. Governments have spent a lot of money on various measures and issued government bonds on an unprecedented scale for epidemic prevention, medical enhancement, and economic measures. In order to make this possible, monetary easing has been promoted once again on an even larger scale than at the time of the global financial and economic crisis in the late 2000s, and the extent to which fiscal policy and monetary policy can be expanded is severely being tested. Licensing of therapeutic drugs and vaccines, and other medical devices has had greatly influences on the formation of the market. This is an example which demonstrates the magnitude of renewed government roles in the complicated modern capitalist societies. At the same time, it has highlighted weakening social infrastructure due to the damage to publicity in a wide range of areas from health care and welfare to public transportation, which the progress of once dominated neoliberal policies has brought about. They and even the policies of epidemic prevention strongly reflect the class relations. It cannot be overlooked the hierarchical interests of class society.

The growing demand for the governmental roles to actively manage and control daily life in order to prevent the pandemic dooms the rise of a highly controlled society, and the "success" cases of the nations that have adopted authoritarian measures to contain epidemic have been reported, typically the China case. Beyond the pretext of epidemic prevention per se, the process of global transfigurations in social decision-makings also needs to be analyzed generally. Politico- and socio-economic studies of political economy, which have had a relativistic perspective of modernity and have provided the basis for a framework for analyzing class consciousness and hegemony, need to address these issues.

In this way, as the COVID-19 global pandemic has shaken the international community and modern capitalism, the nature of contemporary capitalism and the significance and limitations of the ideas of modern society have needed to be re-questioned. Comprehensive and systematic nature of political economy, including Marxian economics, has a great advantage as an analytical framework to elucidate this still-progressive situations from various angles of comprehensive humanities. It is quite a suitable general theme for JSPE annual conference this autumn to provide an opportunity for political economists to gather together and deepen the discussions of the re- examination from that viewpoint.

Please understand the purpose of the above general theme of this year's conference, and actively apply or recommend papers of the relating topics.

Call for Papers

Date: October 16-17, 2021

Venue: Hokusei Gakuen University, 2-3-1, Ohyachi-Nishi, Atsubetsu-ku, Sapporo 004-8631, Japan

The Japan Society of Political Economy will celebrate its 60th anniversary two years ago. Over the decades of its existence, the JSPE has endeavored to expand the scope of its explorations from study of the basic theory of capitalism to the analysis of contemporary capitalism. Throughout its life, the JSPE has deeply imbibed the spirit of criticism against capitalism and mainstream economic theories and directs its theoretical investigations to elucidating the various problems of capitalism. Today, Marxian economics and other schools of critical political economy are exerting ever more influence in building analytical frameworks to address real-world issues in contemporary capitalism such as “financial crisis,” “globalization,” and class and inequality analysis.

The JSPE annual conferences in these years intend to develop our understanding of various economic problems in recent years which show how economic “deadlocks” signal the limit of capitalism. Therefore, the limit of capitalism and potential alternatives to it has constituted our conference themes. We expect the accumulated achievements of our society over the past 60 years will provide an ample basis for the discussions.

This year JSPE Board of Directors decided a general theme “COVID-19 Global Pandemic and The Modern Capitalism” for the 69th Annual Conference. The ongoing global pandemic of COVID-19 has exerted severe impacts on the global economy, politics, society, and even cultures as well. Although its impacts have not been fully elucidated yet, the pandemic has aggravated in the number of deaths and infections, and science-based social control has come to be required. Lockdown of cities and national border, coupled with strong self-restraint measures, have been taken in all of the affected countries, including avoidance of "Three Cs" and restrictions on movement of people. The ongoing of social transformation on a global scale has had great impacts on the economy, politics, society, and even cultures. The sudden and large-scale impacts would affect even social consciousness, and even if the pandemic ends, the impacts will have to remain.

Capitalism, historically, has been driven by prospects of economic growth and profit maximization on a global scale. However, under current economic conditions the tortured eking out of profits and economic growth has led to a situation where what economic growth is to be had exacerbates the deterioration of people’s lives and foments obscene inequalities and social conflicts. The COVID-19 global pandemic is even exacerbating the situation globally.

What does the current dire state of the world economy mean for critical political economic analyses? How can the ideas and theories of Karl Marx be developed to deal with the malaise and show pathways out of it to a progressive future for humanity? Is there a way for humankind to utilize the productive forces it has developed over the centuries in ecologically sustainable ways? Answering such questions is the responsibility of us who experienced the East Japan Great Earthquake and the disastrous accident of Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant in the midst of the serious global financial and economic crisis a decade ago. We have shared the strenuous efforts by the desperate victims to overcome the “dual disaster”. All of these questions need for further discussions about alternatives to capitalism. In this regard, the JSPE is in the very good position to develop our approaches from our perspective of the intrinsic contradiction and future prospect of capitalism.


Proposals:

JSPE invites proposals for its International sessions -- topics relating to the general theme for the plenary session and reflecting the tradition and analytical perspective of JSPE which includes:

(a) Critical accounts of the current situations of “deadlocks” of capitalism: neoliberal globalization, the global financial crisis, economic development, inequality, socialism, gender, environment, and global climate change;

(b) The future of the capitalist system and alternatives to the capitalism: major conceptual challenges for critical political economy

(c) Critical analysis of current political economic problems and policy challenges,

(d) Basic theories of political economy

*Proposals of other topics are also welcome

※Please note : The international session(s) will be held online. There is some possibility that certain session(s) may be held in a combination of face-to-face and online, depending on the COVID-19 situation.

Language: International sessions will be held mainly in English. * If you hope other languages, please let us know for advice.


Submission Procedures and the Deadline:

Proposals should reach the JSPE International Committee by May 7, 2021 at the latest :

(i) by e-mail to: jspeintl (at) googlegroups.com

or

(ii) by our Web page: https://english-hokuseigakuen69.jimdosite.com

When submitting your proposal, please include:

(a) The title of the proposed paper;

(b) Your name and academic affiliation;

(c) Your e-mail and postal address;

(d) An abstract (up to 500 words).

(e) Desired language other than English, if any.

* Notification of acceptance will be sent by 30 June.


Deadline for the full paper: The full paper and the extended abstract (A4, 1 page) in Word format must be submitted by September 2, 2021.