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University is the preeminent social institution to shape and debate ideas on economic and social policies which may underlie future legislative reforms. The university is also, given the roots of the word, an educational locus with no intellectual boundaries. It was in the interest of fidelity to this tradition that the “Summer University of the New Economics” was designed more than thirty years ago.

If the Summer University is proud of its link with the academic world, it has always been the fruit of a cooperation between the academic world and the civil society. ALEPS, the Paris-based association for economic freedom and social progress that has been launched by such prestigious economists as Jacques RUEFF, toghether with the Institute for Economic Studies - Europe (Since 1989) has been a promoter and engine of that yearly event since the very first days. Faithful to that tradition, IES-Europe remains a key partner in the organization of the Summer University

The Summer University of New Economics bring together social scientists, economists, lawyers, philosophers, and historians for three days to discuss recent developments and put forth tangible proposals without regard to artificial or disciplinary boundaries that often stifle reflection and debate. Such discourse requires an enormous effort of clarity on behalf of the speakers, though not at the expense of scientific and intellectual rigor.

Offering a clear and accessible debate on recent scientific thinking, the summer program is accessible to a wider, more general audience. Students from all different backgrounds and levels of education are welcome to attend. There is no age limit on who is welcome to contribute and take part in debate. Additionally, men and women from the media or government, especially those with past public policy experience, are encouraged to attend for the benefit of the entire audience.

Finally, the university program is internationally focused and encourages a diversity of experiences. Since 1978, scientists, as well as students, from around the world have gathered in Aix-en-Provence. The exchange has been an enormous success in terms of individuals being able to encounter view points from peers from across the globe.

2012 Edition

Summer University of the New Economics

Free Trade and Social Progress

The financial crisis has triggered protectionist reactions in many countries. The President of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Pascal Lamy was worried about it recently: the number of protectionist measures has increased 53% over the last ten months.

The argument made by countries that restrict free trade and is essentially that of protecting domestic jobs threatened

Leonard P. Liggio and Tom G. Palmer at the Summer University.

Leonard P. Liggio and Tom G. Palmer at the Summer University.

by international competition, considered uneven or “harmful” because of social, fiscal, monetary and environmental “dumpings”.

By contrast, advocates of free trade show that prices fall through imports, and increase the purchasing power of domestic consumers. On the other hand the opening to the outside world allows transfers of technology, thus facilitating the development and growth. World markets are opening and are an outlet for all producers worldwide.

How do economics and business practice see this problem?

First should be considered the consequences of free trade on the level of unemployment, and analyze the origin of offshoring. In this regard, we must examine the distortions created by agencies in different countries, some of which are conducive to competitiveness, and some destructive to it. Taxation, legislation and regulation, social protection systems, protection of individual rights: all of which explain why some countries do not suffer from globalization while others struggle to adapt.

We must then consider whether free trade is a factor of generalized development or growing inequalities. Here comes into consideration the level of qualification, and the importance of investment in human capital: education, health and training. Doesn’t human progress come through social progress?

These considerations probably lead to an ethical question: isn’t understanding between peoples easier in an open world, where people, products, ideas flow easily? Isn’t free trade a factor of human progress?

A major debate among economists, lawyers, historians, philosophers and political scientists from around the world is useful to answer these questions. Provence and the Mediterranean are probably ideal places for such academic gathering.

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2012 Edition