International Workshop in Business History Brussels, November 29, 2018

Technology and globalization: are they leading to widespread prosperity or are they widening the gap between winners and losers?”

Technology and globalization have historically been perceived as critical levers of economic growth. Critical voices, however, argue that they lead to social disruption and increasing inequality between winners and losers, be it countries, enterprises or individual workers. To what extent can history teach us lessons in this debate and give us hints as to the way going forward?

This hot topic is the theme of the 2018 annual conference of the Kurgan-van Hentenryk Chair in Business History of the Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management (ULB) that will take place on November 29 in Brussels at the Palais des Académies.

Renowned economists, business historians, policy makers and business and civil society representatives will discuss the state of affairs and look at possible ways forward.

In the afternoon both themes will be further deepened through a panel discussion which will start with an introductory speech to which panelists will react. Our panel’s topic concerns The rise of artificial intelligence and what history teaches us on how technology affects economies”. Questions will be how the impact of AI differs between developing and developed countries and who will be winners and losers in this race?




Richard Baldwin

Professor of international economics at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva
Editor of VoxEU

Richard Baldwin’s last book, The Great Convergence: Information Technology and the New Globalization, published in November 2016, has stirred a wide debate. He is now completing a book on Artificial Intelligence.




André Sapir

Professor of Economics at ULB
Senior Fellow at Bruegel

André Sapir will provide a focus on the institutions guiding the evolution of globalization in light of current politics and international trade wars.




Dame Wendy Hall

Professor of Computer Science at the University of Southampton
Executive Director of the Web Science Institute

Dame Wendy Hall has recently published an influential report stressing how the development of AI industry can spur growth in the UK.




Jacques Bughin

Director of the McKinsey Global Institute

Jacques Bughin, who will act as panel moderator, leads research on global economic and technology trends.


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Matthias Kipping

Professor at the Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto

Matthias Kipping is a leading business historian with a sharp eye on globalization, international relations, and the transfer of management techniques.







09:00 - 09:30 Registration
09:30 - 09:45 Opening Speech : Kenneth Bertrams


09:45 - 10:15 André Sapir, The Great Transformation and the Great Divide”
10:15 - 10:45 Q&A
10:45 - 11:15 Coffee break
11:15 - 11:45 Richard Baldwin, “Globotics and the Future of Work”
11:45 - 12:15 Q&A
12:15 - 13:30 Lunch & networking

Panel Putting it together: would glob-AI-sation become our new futurE?

13:30 – 15:30 Confirmed participants : Wendy Hall, Matthias Kipping, Richard Baldwin, André Sapir and Jacques Bughin (moderator)
15:30 – 16:30 Discussion with the audience


Practical Details

Thursday November 29, 2018 from 9:00 to 16:30

The workshop will take place at the Royal Academy of Belgium

Académie royale des Sciences, des Lettres et des Beaux-Arts de Belgique

Rue Ducale 1, 1000 Bruxelles - Belgique


Parking… + plan parking

Metro : Trône