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Panel Discussion: “Global Uprising: Inequality, Corruption, Financialization”

December 8, 2020 | 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm


The emergence of the Occupy Wall Street movement nearly a decade ago provided a particularly new rhetoric of protest that has persisted across uprisings, political debates, and numerous crises that have  come in its wake. “We are the 99%” identified economic inequality as a central problem that unified many concurrent and overlapping concerns regarding taxation, employment, wealth, kleptocracy, financialization, corruption, neoliberalism, race, etc. Over the course of the last decade, however, wealth inequality has only worsened, and the knotty issues of international finance have loomed over more and more desperate economic situations across the Middle East and the world. At the same time, the direct criticism of the 99% against the 1% has seldom met squarely with critiques of the financial system by those more intimately familiar with the way it works. The exception to this seems to have been in the recent, and dire, situation in Lebanon, where the issue of corruption within the banking system, mismanagement of foreign debt, and resultant collapse of the local currency has triggered a systemic shock of proportions so grand that even former bastions of the neoliberal establishment have called on Lebanon’s bankers to “take a haircut”. Surely, the issues and stakes involved in Lebanon have also manifested themselves in serious, if only slightly less severe ways in Turkey, Iran, Egypt, and elsewhere across the Middle East. Moreover, the current pandemic has seemingly preyed more harshly on states and societies with extreme wealth inequality across the globe.


The aim of this panel is to bring into our larger conversation on Global Uprising experts who have studied closely fiscal and banking systems in the Middle East and consider the manner in which their (mis)management have both triggered and responded to popular movements, protest, and civil unrest. The conversation may center around questions such as, “How effectively have uprisings met the challenge of financialization, kleptocracy, and corruption in the last decade? What responses to the various fiscal crises may prove more effective in the future? Whether and how can the forces arrayed in these uprisings engage more substantively in the language of banking and finance?”


Join the Kevorkian Center with panelists Pınar Bedirhanoğlu (Middle East Technical University), Nils Gilman (Berggruen Institute), Adam Hanieh (SOAS), and Discussant Aaron Jakes (The New School)

to think through these questions and discuss together issues on wealth inequality, corruption, and financialization.


More information and register.


Organized by the Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies at New York University. Co-sponsored by the Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies.


New York University


December 8, 2020
12:30 pm - 2:00 pm
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