2012-09-11 to 14: Economics is on the move! Trends and Challenges from the Natural sciences Latsis Symposium, ETH Zurich, Switzerland


Economics is on the move. This is true for the world economy with its strongly growing "emerging states", China's GDP being already the second largest in the world. But it is also true for the national economies of the industrial states coping with the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2009.

Can we understand financial crises?

How are these recent changes reflected in economics as a scientific discipline? Are there economic theories and concepts to explain, if not to predict, these transitions? Or did economics fail to deal with these challenges? The essay "How did economists get it so wrong?" by Paul Krugman, winner of the 2008 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science, lists as possible causes: the blindness of the discipline, the shortfall of established idealized theories, and the absence of new scientific concepts able to meet the challenges of the real economic world. Hence the question arises of how to cope with this conceptual crisis.

The scope of the Latsis Symposium 2012

Different from many other events, the Latsis Symposium 2012 will not focus on analyzing the failure of previous economic (and political) decisions, or the shortfall of mainstream economic theories. Rather, it poses a provocative question:

Can economics as a scientific discipline that must extricate itself from its current conceptual crises, benefit from concepts, methods and insights developed in other disciplines, notably the natural sciences?

Instead of tackling this question in the broadest way, the Latsis Symposium will concentrate on three particular aspects (see on the right), where the relation between economics and other scientific disciplines already became obvious.
Each of these topics will be discussed on a separate day, featuring various high-profile speakers.
The symposium aims to provide a forum for interdisciplinary knowledge-transfer and will leave ample room for stimulating discussions. Additionally, the symposium will be preceded by a satellite workshop with three different tracks.