Ben Fine’s editorial on the official launch of IIPPE at the HM Conference, November 2008.
by Ben Fine, SOAS
First and foremost, the Historical Materialism Conference was, as in previous years, an extraordinary event in terms of the numbers attending and the range, depth and quality around the topics covered. IIPPE is more than privileged to have been offered so much opportunity at the Conference and, without HM, I suspect we would remain stillborn. Second, though, IIPPE was enabled to and did make a significant contribution to the Conference. Apart from our launch we offered the panels on socialism, the Washington institutions, and commodity studies, and we were well represented in non-IIPPE sessions on finance, agrarian change and the promotion of a couple of home-grown books, one of which can now be bought at http://www.routledge.com/books/From-Political-Economy-to-Economics-isbn9780415423212 but with 25% discount using form (with apologies for the commercial break). All of our sessions, with a little licence for slight exaggeration for crowd control for policing purposes, attracted upwards of 100 people despite competition at times with eight or so other panels.
Third, not surprisingly, even if my view is distorted by the panels I was obliged or chose to attend, the main theme addressed at the Conference was the current financial crisis. All presentations on this were enlightening, and especially the final plenary where IIPPE was well-represented if not show-cased. Different perspectives were offered on the course of the crisis, although this was more a matter of emphasis around a common interpretation of a profound debt crisis emanating from the United States. Hopefully, the papers involved across the Conference will soon be made available, and this is a service that the IIPPE website can and will seek to provide.