Development studies must always be critical, especially in times of crisis. It should never become an apology for the status quo, for exploitation, for the reproduction of inequality within and between nations or for the destructions of the conditions for life on earth.Professor Alfredo Saad-Filho, Professor of Political Economy and International Development
06 September 2023
'We need a democratic economic strategy to overcome current global crisis': Professor Alfredo Saad-Filho
Professor Saad-Filho delivered the Dudley Seers Lecture at the 2023 general conference of the European Association of Development Research Training Institutes (EADI).
The economic, social and political challenges facing the world today are systemically related and tackling this crisis requires a radical shift away from neoliberal modes of accumulation, Professor Alfredo Saad-Filho said.
Professor Saad-Filho, Professor of Political Economy and International Development, was delivering the 2023 Dudley Seers Lecture at the general conference of the European Association of Development Research Training Institutes (EADI) and Centre for African and Development Studies (CEsA) in Lisbon. The lecture is held in recognition of Dudley Seers, a pioneering economist and co-founder of EADI, who made significant contributions to development economics.
Professor Saad-Filho noted that neoliberalism and financialisation are key drivers of the economic, social and political crisis facing the world today. Neoliberalism emphasises free-market capitalism and has led to those market principles being applied to education, healthcare and other public services. On the other hand, financial markets and institutions have created a push toward short-term profits and unproductive capital accumulation.
Together, neoliberalism and financialisation have led to concentration of wealth, stagnation of wages, decline in productive growth, and marketisation of public goods.
He observed that neoliberalism has undermined the foundations of democracy by reducing policy space for debate on economic policies. This had led to the rise of authoritarian leaders who use the resentment of economic losers to their political advantage.
Professor Saad-Filho argued that the present economic system is incompatible with climate adaptation and we need systemic economic restructuring to tackle the interrelated issues of climate change and poverty.
Climate activists and the development community ought to build links between environmental struggles and the concerns of the poor, both in production and in social reproduction.Professor Alfredo Saad-Filho, Professor of Political Economy and International Development
He argued for a democratic economic strategy which addresses these challenges regardless of their cost, benefits the poor more than the rich and protects the environment.
The EADI CaSI 2023 general conference took place in July 2023 in Lisbon, Portugal.