Does Capitalism Need Liberalism?

Thursday, 14 December 2017, 6:00pm - 8:00pm, Warsaw University
The year 2017 marks a decade since the outburst of the world-scale financial crisis which has resulted in the longest period of economic stagnation after 1945. In addition to economic troubles, Europe had to cope with other pressing challenges, such as mass migrations, rapid technological and ecological transformation, violent conflicts at the European borders, and a rising popularity of social movements which reject the whole political-economical system.

All of this means, that we live in a time of extraordinary political instability. What will be the consequences of these processes for Poland, Europe, and the Western world? Are we heading towards ever more authoritarian regimes or is it still possible to sustain the liberal order of human and citizen rights under the new conditions? Does the current political-economical system have a sufficient capacity to reform itself and achieve a new democratic legitimacy? Does capitalism need liberalism?


Agata Bielik-Robson is a Professor of Jewish Studies at the University of Nottingham and at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology at the Polish Academy of Science in Warsaw.

Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz is a politician, the Prime Minister of Poland from 1996 to 1997, the Foreign Minister of Poland in the governments of Leszek Miller (2001–2004) and Marek Belka (2004–2005), the speaker of the Sejm from January to October 2005. He was a Sejm deputy from 1989 to 2005 and senator from 2007 to 2015.

David Ost is the Joseph DiGangi Professor of Political Science at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and frequent visiting professor in eastern Europe.

Jan Zielonka is a Professor of European Politics at the University of Oxford and a Ralf Dahrendorf Fellow at St Antony’s College.


Marcin Król is a professor of intellectual history, a philosopher, and a writer. He is the Chair of the Department of the History of Ideas and Cultural Anthropology at the Institute of Applied Social Sciences of the University of Warsaw.

Ivan Vejvoda is IWM Permanent Fellow, previously Senior Vice President for Programs at the German Marshall Fund (GMF) of the United States. From 2003 until 2010, he served as Executive Director of GMF’s Balkan Trust for Democracy.