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St Catharine's Political Economy Seminar Series


Date: Wednesday 7 November 2018
Time: 18:00 -19:30
Speaker: Ahmad Seyf
Talk Title: '"Inequality, Trade Unions and Financialisation’
LocationRamsden Room, St Catharine's College

The seminar series is supported by the Cambridge Journal of Economics and the Economics and Policy Group at the Cambridge Judge Business School.

 An audio recording of the presentation is here:

Ahmad Seyf is currently a member of the Cambridge Centre of Economic and Public Policy (CCEPP), and has retired from the Department of Management and Human Resources at Regent’s University. Prior to Regent’s University, he taught at the Department of Economics at the University of Staffordshire. His main research interests are international business economics, globalisation and the economic and social history of the Middle East. Recent publications include, ‘Population and Agricultural Development in Iran, 1800-1906’ in Middle Eastern Studies, 2009, and ‘Iran and the Great Famine, 1870-1872’ in Middle Eastern Studies, 2010. 

His books include Iran’s Contemporary Political Economy (2012), the Economy of Iran under Ahmadinejad (2012), Crisis in Despotism in Iran (2014), Capitalism and Democracy (2016) and The Great Recession, Iranian view ((2017, Anti-Neoliberalism (2018). His recent publications in English are, The Emerging Economies and the Great Recession (2016), and The Need for Relevant Policies to Tackle Inequality (2017).

Talk Overview
This contribution examines the growing inequality and offers a brief historical examination as to its roots in the last four decades. An important point to make is that this growing divide is not ‘an act of God or nature’ but has been initiated by policy decisions and laws made in the last four decades, e.g. reducing the power and influence of trade unions, enhancing the impact of the banks, keeping wages down, insisting on a rich-man-friendly tax reforms, which, in turn, were passed by legislators who were elected. It follows that if there is sufficient political will, things can change again through government or legislative action by those we care to elect to form the government.  Reversing some of the decisions on taxes and making them more progressive could help, but more fundamental reforms; especially on labour market institutions are needed. We need to tackle rising inequality in market income by strengthening trade unions which is of paramount importance as the recent history of inequality reveals. To enhance the impact, this measure must be supplemented by relevant fiscal policies to make our taxes more progressive and our social expenditures better targeted. This will be the focus of this contribution.


Please contact the seminar organisers Philip Arestis ( and Michael Kitson ( in the event of a query.


Wednesday, 7 November, 2018 - 18:00 to 19:30