Speaker: Matthias Schmelzer

HSSA Speaker Series


Matthias Schmelzer: The Hegemony of Growth

Date: January 29

Location: Barrows Hall 650

Time: 10am to 11:30am

Moderator: Rafal Szymanowski


Register Here


This semester, the HSSA is launching a new speaker series designed to connect current and former HSSA members with local and global experts on a variety of topics. 


The first speaker will be Dr. Matthias Schmelzer (Department of Sociology, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Germany) who will join us from Germany via video conferencing to talk about his new book on the hegemony of economic growth as the primary goal pursued through policymaking in modern society. Among other things, Dr. Schmelzer will discuss the growth paradigm in the context of increasing anxieties about climate change, income inequality and the limits to growth.


The Hegemony of Growth: book cover         Dr. Matthias Schmelzer


About the Speaker

Matthias Schmelzer is Permanent Fellow at the DFG-Research Group "Post-Growth Societies" at the University of Jena and works at the Konzeptwerk Neue Ökonomie. He held research fellowships at the German Historical Institute in Washington, D.C., the German Historical Institute in London and the Institut Historique Allemand in Paris. He is the recipient of the best dissertation prize, awarded by the International Economic History Association (IEHA) at the World Economic History Congress 2015 in Kyoto. His most recent work The Hegemony of Growth: The OECD and the Making of the Economic Growth Paradigm (2016) explores the history of the economic growth paradigm. In this book Schmelzer offers the first transnational study to chart the history of growth discourses. His current research interests include degrowth, social movements, capitalism, the history of economic ideas, and social-ecological transformations.


In this talk, Matthias Schmelzer will focus on economic growth as the primary goal pursued through policymaking in modern society. He will present an explanation of when and how this perception became widely adopted among social scientists, politicians, and the general public. Setting his analysis within the context of capitalist development, post-war reconstruction, the Cold War, decolonization, and industrial crisis, Schmelzer will shed new light on the continuous reshaping of the growth paradigm up through the neoliberal age and will provide historical depth to current debates on issues such as climate change, inequality and the limits to growth.


History of Ideas, Economic development, International trade, Neoliberalism 

Future Speakers


If you would like to nominate a future speaker, please send an email to Daniel Kim at ddk@berkeley.edu.