HomeThe American Developmental State : The Origins of American Capitalism in Comparative Perspective

HomeThe American Developmental State : The Origins of American Capitalism in Comparative Perspective

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Published on Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Abstract

How can we best account for the historical trajectory of American capitalism over the “long” nineteenth century ? With this conference we aim to deploy the idea of an “American developmental state” as a lens for investigating the formative years of US capitalism. Now is an opportune moment to reconsider the role of government in US economic history.

Announcement

Argument

How can we best account for the historical trajectory of American capitalism over the “long” nineteenth century? With this conference we aim to deploy the idea of an “American developmental state” as a lens for investigating the formative years of US capitalism. Now is an opportune moment to reconsider the role of government in US economic history. Policymakers in Washington and elsewhere are launching bold new experiments with industrial policy. The tenets of the “Washington Consensus” are fast falling out of favor politically and ideologically. Scholars and journalists are observing the decline of “neoliberal globalization” and a “homecoming” of supply chains. Activists, workers, and citizens are clamoring for greater government involvement in securing a sustainable and fair future. Historians are well positioned to contribute to this conversation, which has been hampered by incomplete understanding of how American institutions first emerged and formed.

The discussion among historians of the United States is similarly ripe for this line of inquiry. Americanists have spent much of the last two decades debunking the myth of the “weak” American state. Long viewed as feeble or altogether absent prior to the mid-twentieth century, the new consensus is that the American state has always been ‘powerful, capacious, tenacious, interventionist, and redistributive’ (William Novak). At the same time, historians of American slavery and indigenous dispossession have shown that state-backed violence is essential to understanding the country’s economic trajectory. Whether these facets of US history all cohere in a single developmental project or whether they evidence multiple, competing developmental visions, is one question we propose to engage. More broadly, we wish to ask how state power was oriented toward shaping and governing economic life.

Crucially, the developmental-state framework positions the US in a comparative light, bringing renewed focus to a very fundamental set of issues: What made the US like or unlike other young settler societies around the globe, and, more generally, other industrializing nations? How could we best characterize the relationships between state and private actors in the US, on the federal level and on the level of the states? What have been the social alignments, coalitions, and confrontations that shaped and reshaped American institutions over time? How is it that the US—long associated with liberal markets—inspired figures such as Alexander Hamilton and Friedrich List to theorize key developmental approaches and policies? Given the privileged place of the US as a model for policy formation around the world, the implications of this research agenda could be profound, destabilizing longstanding assumptions across the social sciences – in economics, political science, and comparative political economy – about the sources and standards of economic “success.”

Programme

Thursday, May 25 at the Paris Insitute For Advanced Study

DOOR OPENING 9.55 am 

INTRODUCTION 10.00 am-10.30 am

PANEL 1 10.30 am-12.00 pm INFRASTRUCTURE

Chair : Ariel Ron (Southern Methodist University)

  • Sveinn Jóhannesson (University of Iceland)
  • Susan Pearson (Northwestern University)
  • Benjamin Kodres-O’Brien (Columbia University)
  • Commentator : Martin Giraudeau (Sciences Po)

LUNCH 12.00 pm-1.00 pm

PANEL 2 1.00 pm-2.30 pm BANKING AND MONEY

Chair : Sofia Valeonti (American University of Paris)

  • Jonah Estess (American University)
  • Mikael Omstedt (Uppsala University)
  • Manuel Bautista-Gonzalez (Oxford University)
  • Commentator : Goulven Rubin (University of Paris 1)

BREAK 2.30 pm-3.00 pm

PANEL 3 3.00 pm-4.30 pm

THINKING THE US DEVELOPMENT STATE

Chair: Nicolas Barreyre (EHESS)

  • Matteo Rossi (Turin)
  • Ariel Ron (Southern Methodist University) & Sofia Valeonti (AmericanUniversity)
  • Maria Bach (University of Lausanne)
  • Commentator: Elisa Grandi (University of Paris Cité)

BREAK 4.30 pm-5.30 pm

KEYNOTE ROUNDTABLE 5.30 pm- 7.00 pm

BEYOND NEOLIBERALISM: RETHINKING THE ROLE OF THE STATE IN A NEW GLOBAL AGE 

Chair: Noam Maggor (Queen Mary University of London & IEA de Paris)

  • Gary Gerstle (Cambridge University)
  • Thomas Piketty (EHESS)
  • Felicia Wong (Roosevelt Institute)

(Free entrance with compulsory registration here: https://www.paris-iea.fr/en/events/ au-dela-du-neoliberalisme-repenser-le-role-de-l-etat-a-l-ere-de-la-mondialisation-2

Friday, May 26 at the American University of Paris

PANEL 1 9.45 am-11.15 am CORPORATIONS

Chair: Ariel Ron (Southern Methodist University)

  • Brian Murphy (Rutgers University)
  • Alexia Blin (University of Paris 3 Sorbonne Nouvelle)
  • Sarah Haan (Washington et Lee University)
  • Commentator: Claire Lemercier (CNRS)

BREAK  11.15 am-11.30 am

PANEL 2 11.30am-1.00 pm

DEVELOPMENT AND POWER HIERARCHIES

Chair: Sofia Valeonti (American University of Paris)

  • Dael A. Norwood (University of Delaware)
  • Keri Leigh Merritt
  • Brian Schoen (Ohio University)
  • Commentator: Nicolas Delalande (Sciences Po)

LUNCH BREAK 1.00 pm-2.00 pm

PANEL 3 2.00 pm-3.30 pm

LAND

Chair :  Nicolas Barreyre (EHESS)

  • Robert Lee (Cambridge University)
  • Richard John (Columbia University)
  • Elsbeth Heaman (McGill University)
  • Commentator: Andrea Rosengarten (American University of Paris)

BREAK 3.30 pm-3.45 pm 

PANEL 4 3.45 pm-4.00 pm

WAS THERE AN AMERICAN DEVELOPMENTAL STATE ?

Chair: Eli Cook (Haifa University)

  • Nils Gilman (Berggruen Institute)
  • Gautham Rao (American university)
  • Anton Jäger (KU Leuven)
  • Alexander Keyssar (Harvard Kennedy School of Government)
  • Dina Waked (Sciences Po)

Participation

Registration upon request to Noam Maggor : n.maggor@qmul.ac.uk

Organisation

Conference organized by : 

  • Noam Maggor (Queen Mary University of London, 2022-2023 Paris IAS Fellow),
  • Sofia Valeonti (American University of Paris), Nicolas Barreyre (EHESS),
  • Ariel Ron (Southern Methodist University).

With support from the Paris Institute for Advanced Study, the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (and the Mondes Américains), the Paris 3 Sorbonne Nouvelle University, the American University of Paris (and the Center for Critical Democracy Studies), the Mellon Fund at Cambridge University, the Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne University (and the research center Phare), and Southern Methodist University.

Places

  • Institut d'études avancées de Paris, 17 quai d'Anjou
    Paris 04 Hôtel-de-Ville, France (75004)

Event attendance modalities

Full on-site event


Date(s)

  • Thursday, May 25, 2023
  • Friday, May 26, 2023

Keywords

  • United States, political economy & political sciences

Reference Urls

Information source

  • Jeandel Claire
    courriel : claire [dot] jeandel [at] paris-iea [dot] fr

License

CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« The American Developmental State : The Origins of American Capitalism in Comparative Perspective », Study days, Calenda, Published on Wednesday, May 10, 2023, https://doi.org/10.58079/1b4n

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