This new Political Studies Association specialist group focuses on the field of political economy in both contemporary and historical perspective. The group's objectives are (a) to organise high profile conference and workshop activities, (b) to provide a high quality information and discussion tool for the political economy community, (c) to stimulate graduate work in political economy, (d) to actively link political economists in UK political science with cognate scholarship in other fields and other parts of the world and (e) to raise the profile of the PSA in established political economy research networks globally.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the pubhlication in 1983 of "Laws of Chaos: a probabilistic approach to political economy" by Emmanuel Farjoun and

July 14 -- 17, 2008
Kingston University, UK

The publication of "Laws of Chaos" was an event of genuine theoretical innovation in the field of political economy. The book was a response to the impasse reached by the input-output method of representing an economy, in particular when applied to the theory of economic value.
Farjoun and Machover's innovations include the systematic introduction of probabilistic modelling, statistical mechanics, and probabilistic laws to the field of political economy. They rejected the adequacy of deterministic models to capture essential features of a dynamic and distributed market economy, which they viewed as a complex system characterised by a huge number of degrees of freedom.
Employing probabilistic arguments, Farjoun and Machover developed a broad model of the capitalist economy that, in contrast to deterministic approaches, had a more immediate connection to empirical reality and yielded important and theoretically distinct, macroeconomic conclusions, including probabilistic laws governing the relationship between price and labour-content, the distribution of the profit rate, and the tendency of labour productivity to increase.

The conference will concentrate on four main themes:
(i) "Laws of Chaos", a reflection on the reception and subsequent impact of Farjoun and Machover's book,
(ii) "Theory and methods", an exploration of the concept of statistical equilibrium in political economy,
(iii) "Models and empirical reality", investigations of specific non-deterministic, economic models and their relationship to empirical data, and
(iv) "Disequilibrium and out-of-equilibrium dynamics", examining the disequilibrium properties and empirical plausibility of non-deterministic models of capitalism.

Our aim is to reflect on the past and stimulate the next 25 years of the research programme of probabilistic political economy.

Final programme
The final programme is now available, and may be downloaded from here.

The conference will open at 11.30 a.m. on Monday, July 14 and will continue through to a reception and gala dinner on the evening of Wednesday, July 16.

Papers and abstracts
Abstracts of all contributions can be found here.

Places are still available for participants; booking forms are available from the Kingston University conference web-site. The actual URLs for the forms are available here for pdf file and here for word document.
The core option includes all meals and refreshments during the conference, including the concluding reception and dinner, and three nights' accommodation (Monday, July 14 to Wednesday, July 16) together with breakfast on the morning of departure (Thursday, July 17). There will also be a daily registration rate for participants wishing to attend particular sessions.
Information about the Kingston Hill campus, including the residential accommodation, is available here. Information about Dorich House, Kingston University's own "stately home" and the venue for the closing dinner, is available here.

Keynote speakers
  • Emmanuel Farjoun, Professor of Mathematics, Einstein Institute of Mathematics, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
  • Moshé Machover, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, King's College London
Invited speakers
  • Masanao Aoki, Professor Emeritus of Economics, UCLA
  • Paul Cockshott, Reader in Computer Science, Department of Computer Science, University of Glasgow
  • Allin Cottrell, Professor of Economics, Wake Forest University
  • Jurgen Essletzbichler, Lecturer, Department of Geography, UCL
  • Alan Freeman, Visiting Lecturer in Economics, School of Business and the Humanities, University of Greenwich
  • Mauro Gallegati, Professor of Economics, University of Ancona
  • Steve Keen, Associate Professor of Economics and Finance, University of Western Sydney
  • Andrew Kliman, Professor of Economics, Pace University
  • Paul Plummer, Professor of Geography, University of Calgary
  • David Rigby, Professor of Geography, UCLA
  • Michael Webber, Professor of Geography, University of Melbrourne
  • Victor Yakovenko, Professor of Physics, University of Maryland
Organising committee
  • Julian Wells, Senior Lecturer in Economics at Kingston University, UK
  • Eric Sheppard, Professor of Economic Geography, University of Minnesota, USA
  • Ian Wright, Research Student, Department of Economics, Open University, UK

Dr Julian Wells
Faculty web-page
Personal web-site

Senior lecturer
School of Economics
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Kingston University
Penrhyn Road