The 15th Forum, “RETHINKING ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: PERSPECTIVE OF POLITICAL ECONOMY”, of the World Association for Political Economy (WAPE) 18-19 December, 2021. 

The 15th Forum program can be seen here. It was held physically at the Shanghai International Studies University, China; but was complemented by virtual panels with a large number of Marxist economists from outside China participating.  There were around 200 papers presented on a range of subjects: political economy, world capitalism, imperialism, China etc. You can read a statement of the annual forum here

The conference aimed to juxtapose Political Economy and Economics and contrast their positions on the various fields and areas of economic analysis. Within its broad theme, WAPE 2021 invites all contributions that enrich the perspective of Political Economy and expand the ground for further discussion.

WAPE is an increasingly important forum for discussion among Marxist economics academics. The 15th Forum delivered a myriad of papers and speeches and you see the full program here.  There were some interesting plenary sessions that took place physically in Shanghai on the state of Marxist economics in 21st century, lessons from the Soviet Union and China and on comparisons with India.

The broad theme of the conference focused on the controversy between the two main alternative traditions in economic analysis, Political Economy and Economics. Economics (with their myopic understanding of the economy as simply market relations, neglect of social and political factors and class struggle and their almost overt support for capital against labour) has been historically proved incapable of grasping how economies work and forecast and confront competently economic crises. On the other hand, Political Economy (offering a social understanding of the economy, focusing on the sphere of production, linking economic analysis to social and political factors and to class struggle) has been more successful in comprehending the actual workings of the economy and in analyzing economic crises. However, despite their long-standing failures, Economics continue to dominate academia and policy-making centers, especially in the West. Even after the last global economic crisis and its blatant failure to foresee and to resolve it, its dominance remains unwavered as it is supported by strong vested class interests. Nevertheless, there is growing unrest within both the academia and the society with this failed dominance. Political Economy is the main approach towards which all those dissatisfied with Economics turn.

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