Lecture-Debate Series

Political economists - hopeful dialogues in sombre times

March-September | 2021

Online event


The lecture-debate series “Political economists - hopeful dialogues in sombre times” is organised by the thematic section of Philosophy and History of Political Economy and the Centre Region Unit of the Portuguese Association of Political Economy. Over the course of six months, the event aims to discuss key contemporary issues in the field of political economy, based on the work of leading authors. We are living in sombre times, still marked by a narrowing of the public debate, which greatly impedes a critical approach to major issues: social and demographic inequalities, the ecological crisis, citizenship and social conflict, State models to be adopted.   

Nonetheless, it is pressing to call upon a hopeful note, based on what has been the work carried out in the light of the debates that have rocked the public space, with the contribution of social scientists. This series, to be held on a Thursday every month between March and September 2021, is part of a model where, in each of the sessions, two participants will start from the work of two international leading authors, past and present, in Political Economy, confronting ideas and enabling a debate open to all those present.

In the first session, “What to do with capitalism?”, the works of Karl Marx and Thomas Piketty are compared in order to ascertain the future of capitalism and the possibility, or not, of its reform or supersession. In the second session, "Does anyone take care of what belongs to everyone? - The Tragedy of the Uncommons exposed by a virus", Garrett Hardin's tragedy is discussed, comparing it with that of Elinor Ostrom in the current context. The third session, "Beyond uncreative destructions", examines the possibility of putting science and technology at the service of major socio-economic goals, discussing the works of Joseph Schumpeter and Mariana Mazzucato. The fourth session, focusing on the theme "Feminist political economy has a history", retraces the ideas that led to the defence of women's rights by John Stuart Mill, to compare them with Lise Vogel's theory of social reproduction. The fifth session, "States beyond economic consensus", discusses the alternatives and needs in terms of state intervention in the economy in relation to the dictates of the Washington Consensus, with reference to the works of John Maynard Keynes and Joseph Stiglitz. Finally, the sixth and last session, based on the works of Karl Kapp and Joan Martinez Alier, will address the need for ecological transformation of the contemporary economy.

Organisers: Portuguese Association of Political Economy (EcPol) – Centre Region Unit , Philosophy and History of Political Economy, and Centre for Social Studies 

Members of the Organising Committee:  Irina Castro, João Maia, João Rodrigues, Vitor Neves