Those interested in submitting to the Western Political Science Association 2013 Annual Meeting need to do so TODAY. The meeting will take place in Hollywood from March 28-30. For more information or to submit a proposal, go to http://wpsa.research.pdx.edu/.
Theme information is as follows (and needed given such a fun title): THE EMPIRES STRIKE BACK!
Democratic governance, and its triumph over fascism and state-socialism, have long been facilitated by the ability of capitalism to “reform itself” or, more precisely, to reconcile itself to the modest regulation imposed by popular rule. Regulations and reforms established more than a century ago in the Teddy Roosevelt administration, and expanded from time to time in the 40 years that followed, constrained the exploitation of workers, prevented banks from gambling with the economic system, broke up monopolies, restricted unfair labor practices, and established a social safety net, and in so doing provided fertile ground for an unprecedented rate of economic growth, improvement in human conditions, and the establishment of a large and productive middle class. The stability that followed—and the spread or co-occurrence of this approach (with variation and modifications) in the other industrialized democracies of the world—forestalled the emergence of fascism in the U.S. and simultaneously pushed back against the spread of state-socialism in Europe and beyond.
Since the passage of the Taft Hartley Act in 1947, the US has seen steady erosion in those protections. Workers in the US and Europe bear a greater and greater burden for the social goods provided by their society and receive fewer and fewer benefits while those who have benefitted most from the triumph of capitalism have begun to knock down the reforms achieved in the 20th Century. Hopes of spreading the improved human condition to the global south have foundered on a reconstructed mercantilist and neo-colonial international trade regime that has resulted in exploitation of workers in lesser-developed nations and vast environmental degradation.
Is democracy up to this challenge? Can the free-market global economy again be brought into line with the goals of improving the conditions of humanity? Are our institutions, nation-states, international compacts, and ways of thinking up to this challenge, or will the latter part of the 21st Century more closely resemble the late 19th than the late 20th? While the WPSA welcomes proposals on all political and governmental questions of interest to the discipline, in 2013, we would like to pay particular attention to domestic and international inequality, its causes and its consequences, and whether democratic institutions are up to the task of addressing either.