Friday 1 July 2011

16.00-18.00 hours, free entrance

At Indian Studies Centre/School for Wellbeing Studies and Research meeting room

3rd Floor, Vittayapattana Building

Moderator: Prof. Surichai Wung-aeo, Peace and Conflict Studies Centre, Chulalongkorn University


Programme (proposed):

Welcome and Introduction by Prof. Surichai Wung?aeo

Questions from the School for Wellbeing Studies and Research (10 minutes) by Hans van Willenswaard, Project Director.

Three scenarios for a multi-polar world: Welfare State, Market Economy or Well-being Society?

Presentation by Prof. Jan Nederveen Pieterse and dialogue with the participants.


New trends in twenty-first century globalization, the implications of economic crisis and a new role for Asia?

Jan Nederveen Pieterse is the Mellichamp Professor of Global Studies and Sociology in the Global and International Studies Program at the University of California at Santa Barbara. He specializes in globalization, development studies and cultural studies. Jan was born in Amsterdam and received his doctorate from University of Amsterdam and his PhD from University of Nijmegen. For many years he was associated with the Institute of Social Studies (ISS) at The Hague. He has been a visiting professor at universities in Brazil, China, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sweden, and Thailand. Jan Nederveen Pieterse kindly agreed to be an Advisor of the School for Wellbeing Studies and Research, Bangkok. He is associate editor of various journals and has written numerous books, including:

? Is there hope for Uncle Sam? Beyond the American Bubble (Zed, 2008) 

? Ethnicities and Global Multiculture: Pants for an Octopus (Rowman & Littlefield, 2007)

? Globalization or Empire? (Routledge, 2004).

? Development Theory: Deconstructions/ Reconstructions (Sage, 2001).

? Global Futures: Shaping Globalization (edited, Zed, 2000)

? Humanitarian Intervention and Beyond (edited, Macmillan/St Martin’s, 1998)

? The Decolonization of Imagination (co-edited, Oxford UP, 1997; Zed, 1995)


Development Theory

The book Development Theory: Deconstructions/ Reconstructions (Zed Books, 2001) has been used widely as a textbook from Scandinavia to South Korea and has gone through many printings. It is now available as free e-book. Development Theory combines global political economy with development policy and includes critical, probing chapters on alternative development, post-development, culture and development and futures of development thinking.


From chapter of Development Theory: ?The Tao of development?

Wholeness in development should not be expected from a short cut towards an undivided whole in a divided world, but should be sought in a new balance combining wholeness and difference. One way of framing this is the Tao of development, which means acknowledging paradox as part of development realities. Development participates in the perplexities of the human condition and is not outside or beyond them. Critical holism as a balancing act may take such forms as a multidimensional, multifaceted approach, a chiaroscuro social science, combining objective and subjective dimensions of development, and combining multiple time frames and different forms of cognition. 



Book Review (excerpts)

Is there Hope for Uncle Sam? Beyond the American Bubble.

By Jan Nederveen Pieterse.

Reviewer: Habibul Haque Khondker, Department of Humanities and

Social Sciences, Zayed University, Abu Dhabi, UAE.

(?) In chapters four, five and six, Nederveen Pieterse explores the issue of hegemony and the role of the US as an empire pointing out the contradictions of neo-liberalism and empire status. Here the author is in his elements. In an elegant summary on page 100 (Table 5.2) he collates the various strands of thesis on US hegemony and its likely future. This summary is invaluable to anyone interested in understanding the US and its role in the world. These positions range from ?grand strategy? as espoused by Foreign Affairs, NationalInterest, which features authors such as Scowcroft, Kissinger,Brzezinski et al. steeped in realism through the position of ?liberalhawks? such as Ignatieff, Friedman, and Zakaria to the position of?hegemonic decline? championed by Kennedy, Wallerstein andAmin, Arrighi and Soros. Nederveen Pieterse identifies thecontradictions of many of these strategies and positions. As he says:?neoconservatives gloss over the cost of interventions. Liberal hawksface the problem of wanting to replace the bullet by the ballot viathe bullet. Neoliberals face the contradiction of establishing freemarkets by coercion;??(p. 101). Neoliberal globalisation andimperial war are contradictory goals and the US seems to beentrenched in this contradiction.(?.)

Backed by statistics, Nederveen Pieterse goes at length to dwellon the US war on Iraq and its inhuman consequences and calls thebluff of US mission of spreading democracy in the Middle East andelsewhere in the world. With impressive marshalling of statistics,Nederveen Pieterse shows the decline of the US economy and theemergence of rival super powers in the making such as China, India,Russia and Brazil known as BRIC but also the emergence ofsovereign wealth funds in China and the United Arab Emirates andso on. The author concludes that American decline is a by-productof American hegemony as he quotes an author, ?America?s militarybark is louder than its economic bite? (Varzi, quoted on p. 166).The message is clear: the world is no longer unipolar. The USmilitary unipolarity is juxtaposed by growing economic and politicalmultipolarities in the world. How does the US deal with the situation? Is there a way out? The author suggests reinventing New Deal policiesand a return to progressive social policies and commitment as alikely solution.

But is capitalism as a system in crisis? Nederveen Pieterse, acritic of neoliberal capitalism, concedes that what is happening isrealignment and reorganisation of capitalism rather than a crisis ofcapitalism as predicted by Karl Marx in the mid-nineteenth century.A likely scenario is a roll-back of the criticism of the state and apartial return to a Keynesian economics. In this situation, we willbe better off reconciling with the variety of capitalisms with multiplecentres than with singularity of neoliberal capitalism and unipolarity.The author will find his position vindicated by the fact that in therecovery of the financial crisis that has begun in Asia (China, Korea,Singapore, Indonesia, etc) as of July and August 2009, the stateplays a critically important role.

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