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Globalisation, growth and social equity: American and European perspectives

  • Date(s)
    1 October 2007
  • Location
    Washington DC

Leading advisers to the US presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama met with senior European progressives to discuss the common challenges associated with the new global economy and the social and political impact of rising levels of inequality on both sides of the Atlantic, at a conference organised by Policy Network and the Center for American Progress in Washington. A full report of the conference is attached.

The two-day conference, which took place on the 1 and 2 October, saw a frank and open discussion between senior politicians, experts and advisers on a subject of crucial significance for progressives in the forthcoming US presidential campaign, and in upcoming elections in Britain and other European states. Participants from the US included Hillary Clinton’s economic adviser Gene Sperling and issues director Neera Tandem; Barak Obama’s top Senate adviser Karen Kornblush and economic adviser Austan Goolsbee; former US secretaries of the Treasury Robert Rubin and Larry Summers; and Larry Katz, a senior economist at Havard University.

Joining them from across the Atlantic was Linda Lanzillotta, the Italian minister of regional affairs and local autonomy; Jan Larsson, former state secretary and chief of staff to the Swedish prime minister; Morten Wetland, state secretary in the office of the Norwegian prime minister; Colm O'Reardon, special economic adviser to the Irish Labour party; and senior policy advisers from Germany, France, Hungary and Romania. The high level delegation from Britain included John Hutton, secretary of state for business, enterprise and regulatory reform; James Purnell, secretary of state for culture, media and sport; Geoff Norris, member of Gordon Brown’s policy unit; and the prime minister’s special adviser, Stewart Woods.

The conference addressed the political and socio-economic implications of the increased bifurcation of wealth and income distribution taking place in American and European societies. It examined both the external drivers of this trend associated with increased global economic integration, and also internal secular factors such as the general decline in manufacturing in OECD countries, the reduction in progressive taxation, shifting demographics and changing life-style patterns. Participants sort to devise practical public policy solutions aimed at smoothing the transition towards a knowledge-based economy.

Given the political context of the event, the senior democrat and European participants also examined the impact of rising inequality through a political lens, analysing contemporary strategies designed to deal with this trend and the future of progressive transatlantic relations in the coming years. A full transcript of this session is attached.

This event is the third conference in Policy Network’s globalisation and social justice conference series.

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