An international symposium focusing on central features of Veblen’s thought will be held on July 6-7, 2012, in Istanbul, Turkey. The Symposium, which is, for the most part, sponsored by the Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects (UCTEA) Chamber Of Electrical Engineers, is co-organized by the UCTEA (http://www.tmmob.org.tr/index_en.php) Chamber Of Electrical Engineers of Turkey (http://www.emo.org.tr/genel/bizden_deta ... =50&sube=0)., The International Thorstein Veblen Association (http://projects.vassar.edu/itva/index.html) and Sabancı University (http://www.sabanciuniv.edu/tr/anasayfa/anasayfa.php). The symposium venue is Yıldız Technical University, Beşiktaş.
The aim is to provide a venue for researchers, academicians, graduate students, activists as well as “engineers” to present and share their works and views regarding Veblen’s critical analysis of finance capitalism, financial crises and the wasteful nature of capitalism; his positing of the engineers’ role in reference to his ideas about the content of a rational economic order; and his doubts about the transformative effects of politics, revolutionary or otherwise. The latter moves Veblen away from the Marxian conceptualization of revolutionary theory as revolutionary practice. Thus a comparison of Veblen with Marx may shed light on Veblen’s institutionalism, which rests on the view of humans as subjects enchanted by and chained to a series of traditionalist, sentimental, mystifying beliefs, the effects of which is to support the enduring grip of predatory ruling classes. In spite of his reluctance to grant an unambiguous revolutionary agency to any social actor including his most favorite engineers as well as the working class, Veblen’s work, just like Marx’s, poses the problem of how human beings who are habitually conservative might come to make moves toward building a socially rational economic system, particularly at a moment, such as this, when the pecuniary instability of capitalism has never been more transparent. Does his political thought, with its notion of a “spirit of insubordination” for example, offer hope or guidance toward an effective politics of change? Or does Veblen’s value lie mainly in its critique of capitalism as an irrational social and economic system, leaving us with the search in other directions such as Marxist for an understanding of the ingredients of effective political action?
The organizers only accept unpublished papers. All papers, both invited and contributed, will be refereed. All accepted papers will be published as symposium proceedings, and will be made available online in full text via the website of the Chamber of Electrical Engineers of Turkey.
The languages of the symposium are English and Turkish. Simultaneous interpretation will be available in each session.