“Social Market Economy: A Concept for Reform in the Near East?”
which will be held from September 14 (arrival) to September 23 (departure) at the premises of the International Centre for Human Sciences, Byblos (Jbeil), Lebanon.
“Social Market Economy” (SME) is a concept that has proved to be extremely successful in post World War II Western Europe’s reconstruction. Known also as “ordo liberalism” or as “capitalisme rhénan”, it is opposed as well to doctrines of a state-planned and state-guided economy as to the belief in the unqualified superiority of an unrestricted power play of market forces. While being convinced that solely a market economy provides the best conditions for economic productivity, the proponents of SME insist on the need for a state which sets the rules for fair competition – for a levelled playing field. While rejecting a welfare state Leviathan, SME shapes social policies taking into account the needs of people who are for various reasons disadvantaged in economic competition. In short: SME advocates a socially “domesticated” market economy, that provides citizens with a maximum of freedom as well as with a minimum of social security, basic conditions for stable democracies.
The Autumn School that we propose will
·Present the theory of SME such as developed by its founders
·Analyse its application
·Explore its limits under conditions of globalisation
·Discuss its applicability in the Near East
Four institutions are joining their efforts to organise this exercise. The American University of Beirut and the Arnold Bergstraesser Institute in Freiburg are on record for their endeavours in the field of political economy. ICHS is a Lebanese international research institute under the auspices of UNESCO located at Byblos; one of its foci is to organise exchange of concepts relevant to the development of conditions for democracy. The Walter Eucken Institute in Freiburg, named after the father of the SME concept, is the leading institution of his school of thought.
Eminent specialists will provide inputs to the session. Invitations to participate are extended to a limited number of Egyptian, Jordanian, Lebanese, and European students, intellectuals and analysts.
The venue of the session is the ICHS, located in the Old City of Byblos, at 36 km distance from Beirut. For participants from abroad, taxi transport from Beirut airport to Byblos will be provided.
The organisers would be happy should you decide to accept their invitation. In Byblos you will be their guest. To participants from abroad, they can offer to cover air travel (economy), train or bus expenses.
Given that airlines are heavily crowded in early September, may we ask you to confirm your participation at your earliest convenience care of the conference assistant, Mrs. Christiane Mouradikian, at firstname.lastname@example.org
On behalf of the organising institutions
Professor Theodor Hanf Director International Centre for Human Sciences Byblos, August 2007