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Participation in ESHET Conference at Lausanne

1) On May 28, 2014, we travelled to Lausanne, Swiss to participate in the ESHET 18th conference on liberalism. We are glad to report that we met many characteristic personalities through this international conference. First of all, Professor Alain Kirman who delivered the keynote speech was impressive in terms of the depth and broadness of his knowledge in economic thought as well as the style of presentation and response to questions. We had some opportunities to talk with him throughout the conference. Prof. Malcolm Rutherford from Canada was given the honor of best book in economics and paid attention to limitations built into liberal market economy. Fully recognizing the limits he emphasized, however, we wanted to know the extent to which a capitalist corporation can internalize the externalized costs it has produced within the framework of corporate social responsibility (CSR). He responded to our question by saying that CSR can hardly work as a good solution. Yet we wanted to communicate with him about the salient issues involved in this question.

2) We attended the sessions designed to talk about normative, moral aspects of economic development as well as the social infrastructure of the market system. The debate on justice, fairness and Ordo-liberalism are good examples. We wanted to figure out clearly the commonalities and differences between the social approach to liberalism and our communicative approach to liberalism. We learned quite a lot from this perspective. In particular, we had good discussion with Dr. Murriel Gilardone and Dr. Antoinette Baujard who worked together to write a paper on A. Sen’s concept of justice. We were also quite impressed by the creative interpretation on J. Rawl’s theory of justice by Dr. Rima Hawi who intentionally pushed Rawls to the direction of the democracy at the work place. We all agreed to pursue further communication by email.

3) Unexpectedly, we were able to meet many Japanese colleagues specialized in the history of economic thought. Prof. Tamotsu Nishizawa from Hitoshibashi University and Prof. Takashi Yagi from Meiji University as well as Prof. Shinji Nohara from University of Tokyo are good examples. We met at least 8 Japanese colleagues with whom we discussed some issues of academic trends in Japan and Korea.

4) We presented our joint paper “Communicative Reciprocity and Responsible Liberalism: From Corporate Social Responsibility to Stockowner-Employee Partnership: An Empirical Study” in a special session of LIBEAC on May 30, 2014. Dr. Sophie Swatson raised sobering questions based on her own sympathetic reading of the text. Dr. Patricia Commun gave us stimulating evaluation and suggestions. They strongly encouraged us to go ahead to link Habermas to the discipline of economics not only to make economics to be more reflexive and deliberative but also to provide explanation of economic change as represented by corporate social responsibility.

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