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About the Conference

The closing decades of the twentieth century brought momentous and surprising changes to the world’s economic and political landscape. The sudden but quiet collapse of the Soviet Union spelled the apparent demise of an alternative to market capitalism that seemed to some for a time to promise a superior system, and for even longer at least a workable one. This event coincided with and encouraged a major change in thinking around the world concerning models for economic development. And in the world’s developed nations, there has been heightened commitment to and movement toward greater economic integration and free trade.

These events taken together amount to much of what has come to be called "globalization." A world of increasingly interdependent and highly competitive global capitalism seems upon us. Powerful economic institutions, such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, have been active in policy formulation and assistance in this transition. Governments in the Americas, Europe, and Asia have undertaken very profound initiatives toward economic integration and much freer trade. And the "Asian model" of export-driven development has become the most widely accepted vision of a path to successful development.

All of this has not occurred without cost or controversy, as recent events in Seattle and Washington, D.C., attest. Concerns for the environment, for economic equity, for economic and cultural diversity have been voiced, often with force and passion. There is much concern and confusion about just what this new "global" era will mean. Even among those who greet this transition with optimism and enthusiasm, there is debate about important practical questions of implementation strategy.

Nobel Conference® XXXVI at Gustavus Adolphus College will examine these questions. We have assembled a panel of extraordinarily diverse views and unsurpassed experience and expertise in these issues. This conference promises to be one of the most important examinations of the nature and consequences of "globalization" to have yet occurred.

Dr. David Reese
Associate Professor of Economics and Management
Chair, Nobel Conference® XXXVI

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