Podcast / Video | 13.12.2020
Offene Vortragsreihe des Max-Planck-Instituts für Gesellschaftsforschung
Podcasts zur Reihe im Wintersemester 2020/2021
Helen Thompson: Brexit: Causes, Consequences, and Implications for Europe
In her lecture, Helen Thompson explains the origins of Brexit in Britain’s constitutional tradition, political economy, and geopolitical position in the post-war world. She shows how these became connected problems between 2009 and 2016 for British governments. She argues that a referendum in the medium term was largely inevitable, and that the chances it would result in a Leave vote were always quite high. She also explains why it took so long within British domestic politics to resolve whether Brexit would actually happen, and finally she considers what British secession reveals about the EU both internally and in terms of geopolitical predicaments.
Helen Thompson is Professor of Political Economy at the Department of Politics and International Studies at Cambridge University. She is a regular contributor to the podcast Talking Politics and is a columnist for the New Statesman.
Julia Lynch: Regimes of Inequality: The Political Economy of Health and Wealth
Inequality has become an intractable feature of rich industrialized democracies, despite consensus that more social and economic equality is desirable. This resilience is due to two key phenomena: legacies from the past, in particular changes in the political economy of rich democracies since the 1970s, and elite discourses around inequality. Julia Lynch examines the political dynamics underlying the “new normal” of high and rising inequality since 1980 by tracing the largely unsuccessful attempts of west European governments to reduce socioeconomic inequalities in health. In England, France, and Finland, governments stated their intention to reduce inequalities in health, yet they were largely unable or unwilling to do what it would take to achieve this goal. When center-left politicians take up the issue of socioeconomic inequalities in health, they do so in response to perceived taboos against redistribution, public spending, and market regulation. However, reframing inequality as a matter of health is at best a partial solution. Inequality persists because of the way political leaders choose to talk about it and not only because of economic necessity or demands from the electorate. Lynch discusses how these phenomena have shaped governments' efforts to control health inequalities before and during the COVID era.
Julia Lynch is Professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research focuses on the politics of inequality and social policy in the rich democracies, particularly the countries of western Europe. She has a special interest in comparative health policy and the politics of aging. She currently serves as editor of the journal Socio-Economic Review and as an expert advisor on health equity to the World Health Organization's Regional Office for Europe.
Isabell Stamm: Shifting the Meaning of Firm Ownership: Recent Transformations of Ownership Succession in the German Mittelstand
If current reports and forecasts on succession in Germany are to be believed, we are experiencing a wave of succession in the German Mittelstand. This wave is characterized by a shift in both the legitimacy of the targeted subjects and the institutionalized rules of succession. Contrary to the usual stereotypes, until recently the dominant mode of transfer was internal, by family succession, whereas now the majority of company owners are considering selling to employees, external private individuals, investors, or other companies. In her presentation, Isabell Stamm focuses on the conditions of this shift in a complex blend of aging owners, progressing individualization, good economic development and low interest rates in recent years, and an expansion of the M+A market towards the SME segment. She lays out the ways in which the understanding of firm ownership and the associated rules of property transfer are shifting. In doing so, she decodes the meaning of firm ownership as an embedded and dynamic link between owning groups and firms, thereby providing a dual perspective on the social structuring and hermeneutics in the process of owning a firm.
Isabell Stamm has been head of the “Entrepreneurial Group Dynamics” research group at Technische Universität Berlin since 2017. Previously she has worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Berkeley. Her research focuses on a sociological perspective of entrepreneurship, including the particularities of entrepreneurial families, collective engagement in entrepreneurship, and trajectories and variations of entrepreneurial groups. She is the recipient of a Freigeist Fellowship, her work on entrepreneurial legacies has been distinguished with the FBR Best Paper Award, and she has recently received her faculty’s outstanding teaching award. She is speaker of the German Sociological Association (DGS) working group on “The work of the self-employed” and a member of the Institut für Mittelstandsforschung (IfM) “Round Table Mittelstand.”
Genevieve LeBaron: Combatting Modern Slavery: Why Labor Governance Is Failing and What We Can Do About It
Over the last decade, the world’s largest corporations – from The Coca Cola Company to Amazon, Apple to Unilever – have taken up the cause of combatting modern slavery. Yet, by most measures, across many sectors and regions, severe labor exploitation continues to soar. Corporate social responsibility is not working. Why? In her talk, Genevieve LeBaron explores why over twenty years of corporate social responsibility initiatives have failed to produce worksites that are free of forced labor, modern slavery, and human trafficking, in spite of this being a key aim. Drawing on ground-level data in tea, cocoa, and garment supply chains – including over 1,200 interviews with vulnerable workers at the base of global supply chains – she explores how dynamics of corporate power, profit, and consolidation, and supply chain dynamics give rise to forced labor. She argues that the booming private industry of accounting firms, social auditors and consultants that have emerged to monitor and enforce labor standards do little to disrupt business models configured around forced labor, and ultimately, while corporate social responsibility serves to bolster corporate growth and legitimacy, it is failing to protect the world's most vulnerable workers.
Genevieve LeBaron is Professor of Politics at the University of Sheffield. Her research focuses on the business dynamics of forced labor, labor standards, corporate governance, and global supply chains. She has recently published a new book about capitalism and slavery, "Combatting Modern Slavery: Why Labour Governance is Failing and What We Can Do About It" (Polity, 2020).”