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Miller Upton scholar Dani Rodrik delivers forum’s keynote address

During the week of Oct. 22, Beloit College played host to its eleventh annual Miller Upton Forum. Beloit’s 2018 Upton Scholar-in-Residence was Turkish economist Dr. Dani Rodrik, the Ford Foundation Professor of International Political Economy at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Rodrik participated in panels, gave several talks and visited classes during his week in Beloit. The theme of this year’s Miller Upton Forum was globalization, one of Rodrik’s primary areas of study.

The first event of the week, a panel titled “Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Globalization,” took place at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 24 in the Richardson Auditorium. The panel consisted of three presentations: “Beloit Wisconsin, 1896-1914: Global Integration of a Midwestern Industrial Town,” which was delivered by Beloit history professor Beatrice McKenzie; “Global Pan-Ethnics and Other Exotic Imaginaries in Bali, Indonesia,” presented by history professor Jennifer Esperanza; and “Institutional Development in Transitioning Economies: The Case of Vietnam’s Land Law Reform” by international relations professor Rachel Ellet and economics professor Diep Phan.

Another panel, “Economic Perspectives on Globalization,” was held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 25 in Moore Lounge. The event featured three more presentations, starting with “Guarding (Against) Financial Globalization: International Financial Safety Nets and Sovereign Debt Default” by Beloit alumnus Ted Liu’13, a Ph.D. student at University of California-Santa Cruz. The second presentation, “Roger Douglas and the deregulation in New Zealand: 1984-2017,” was given by another Beloit alumnus, Jonathan Mason’80, who is the Chief Financial Officer of chemical company Cabot Corporation, and is also a member of the Beloit College Board of Trustees. Beloit economics professor Darlington Sabasi closed the panel with his presentation “Economic Consequences of Globalization in Africa.”

The final panel of the week, “The Ideas and Influence of Dani Rodrik,” took place at 1 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 26, also in Moore Lounge. Three presentations were given: “Manufacturing in Ethiopia and Tanzania: Challenges and Opportunities,” delivered by Tufts University economics professor Margaret McMillan; “Things Fall Apart? On Illiberal Ideas and Globalization” by Warwick University economics professor Sharun Makund; and “Washington Blues, Pink Tides, and Brown Development: The Political Economies of Neo-Extractivism in the Andes” by Beloit political science professor and chair Pablo Toral. Rodrik gave concluding remarks and his response to each panel.

Rodrik concluded his stay in Beloit by delivering the “June and Edgar Martin Memorial Lecture,” the Upton Forum’s annual keynote address. Many students, professors and alumni attended the talk, which was held in the Science Center atrium at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 26.

Phan, Beloit’s Elbert H. Neese Professor of Economics, introduced Rodrik and his lecture, entitled “Globalization and the Wealth and Well-Being of Nations.”

The primary message of Rodrik’s argument was that, while globalization is critical for economic growth, many nations that opened their economies to globalization have suffered as a result, and as such, reforms are necessary. Consequences of globalization can include economic inequality, “distrust of elites and a sense of political disenfranchisement,” and “political backlash in the form of populism,” according to Rodrik. He concluded his presentation by noting “international economic integration has produced domestic disintegration,” and that “reconstructing healthy policies requires a reintegration of society.” History suggests that “a dose of economic populism may well be necessary” for this to take place, Rodrik said.

Aside from globalization, Rodrik’s research covers economic growth and development, as well as political economy. Prior to his time at Harvard, Rodrik was the Albert O. Hirschman Professor in the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University. He is currently the President-Elect of the International Economic Association, and also serves as the joint editor-in-chief of the academic journal Global Policy. Rodrik has received several awards, including the inaugural Albert O. Hirschman Prize of the Social Science Research Council, as well as honorary doctorates from universities in Europe and Latin America. He is affiliated with the National Bureau for Economic Research, Centre for Economic Policy Research, and the Center for for Global Development, among other research organizations. After graduating from Robert College in Istanbul, Rodrik received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard College before earning his Ph.D. in economics and MPA at Princeton.

Beloit has held the Miller Upton Forum annually since its inception in 2008. Through the contributions of each year’s Miller Upton Scholar, the Miller Upton Forum hopes to engage the Beloit community in the queries of what drives the wealth and well being of nations. Each year’s Miller Upton Scholar is selected based on the importance of their work and advancing students’ knowledge about how to promote health and well-being. The Upton Scholar is usually accompanied by several other top scholars from their field for the four-day forum. Each year, seniors majoring in economics, business economics and international political economy at Beloit participate in the semester-long Senior Seminar (ECON 380), a capstone course built around the ideas and influence of that year’s Upton Scholar.

The Miller Upton programs are made possible by the Miller Upton Endowment funds. Alumni and friends of the school funded the endowments in honor of Dr. Miller Upton, the sixth President of Beloit College, who passed away in 2005.


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