Day two and counting.. ERF 20th annual conference

Comparative Experiences of Social Injustice

The ERF 20th Annual conference carried on for the second consecutive day with plenary session presentations on studies of social justice experiences in different countries across the globe. The 2nd plenary session was chaired by Dr. Heba Handoussa (Egyptian Network for Integrated Development “ENID”), along with a distinguished panel of economists; Shanta Devarajan (World Bank Africa), Mahmoud El-Gamal (Rice University) and Carlos Eduardo Vélez (Universidad de los Andes).

Speakers during the 2nd plenary session

ERF 20th Annual Conference 2nd plenary session

World Bank Africa’s chief economist Shantayanan Devarajan addressed the issue of “capture and the failure of free public services” in developing countries. Devarajan argues how the nature of free public services promotes inequality of opportunity, where the elite can “capture” the better end of public goods distribution. The paper focused mainly on case studies from African and Asian countries; namely Mali, Gabon, India and Indonesia respectively.

Watch video interview with Shanta Devarajan
Read more on ERF blog

The following speech by Dr. Mahmoud El-Gamal, professor at Rice University and ERF research fellow, struck the very home of the ERF region; Islamism and social justice. El-Gamal addressed concepts of social justice from classical economics and Islamic thought, and whether neo-liberalism is compatible with Islamic principles. He thus argues that Islamism in fact calls for social justice at the heart of its concepts, which can -in economic terms- be translated into provision and redistribution of public goods.

Watch video interview with Mahmoud El-Gamal
Read more on ERF blog

Last but not least, professor Carlos Eduardo Vélez of the University of Los Andes, Colombia made an interesting argument that despite relatively high levels of income inequality in Latin America, most countries of the region are performing relatively well in education, social security and basic housing. Nevertheless, he believes that large gaps still exist, and some countries lag behind in development, particularly on education and food security.

Watch video interview with Carlos Eduardo Vélez
Read more on ERF blog

Parallel special events

Parallel special events speakers

Wrapping up, the 2nd day concluded by two parallel special events. One addressed different efforts to promote  micro data accessibility, which is a key objective of ERF’s mission. The other event discussed the role of privileges in structural transformation and employment in MENA countries, especially in light of the popular -and ongoing- uprisings.

For more stories, visit the ERF blog and youtube channel conference playlist.
Also if you’ve missed the first day of the conference, catch up on this post.

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